Priscilla R. Sanderson, PhD, CRC

Priscilla R. Sanderson Associate Professor
Northern Arizona University
Health Sciences
Blg 60 Rm #443
Phone: 928-523-6741
Fax: 928-523-0148
Principal Investigator, CAIR

Dr. Priscilla R. Sanderson is a member of the Navajo Nation. Her maternal clan is Hozii Táchii'nii (Old Orabi Red Running Into the Water People), born for Kinyaa'ánii (Towering House), her maternal grandfather's clan is Nakaiidini and paternal grandfather's clan is Bit'ahnii (Leaf).  

Dr. Sanderson has been a member of the Northern Arizona University Health Sciences faculty since 2009. From 2009 to spring 2013 Dr. Sanderson was an assistant professor in two departments: Health Sciences and Applied Indigenous Studies in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, with Health Sciences as her home department.

Dr. Sanderson is a Principal Investigator of the Center for American Indian Resilience (CAIR). The mission of the CAIR is to partner with American Indian communities to promote health and resilience. The CAIR was funded on August 28, 2012, a P20 exploratory center of excellence. The five-year grant was funded for $6.5 million dollars from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The NIH P20 grant is the first for Northern Arizona University. The CAIR collaborators are the University of Arizona, Mel and Enid College of Public Health and Diné College, a tribal college on the Navajo Reservation. 

Prior to NAU she was a Postdoctoral Fellow with the University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Arizona Cancer Center's Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program. Dr. Sanderson's research was colorectal cancer and colorectal cancer screening among Navajo elders.

Dr. Sanderson is a Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Sylvia Brown with the University of Arizona's College of Public Health and Lori Joshweseoma, Hopi Tribe, Hopi Department of Health Services. Together they received a three-year pilot research funding from the NAU-UA Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention (NACP) entitled: 2011-2012 Hopi Survey of Cancer and Chronic Disease. The pilot project expanded with additional funding from the Arizona Biomedical Research Commission (Dr. Brown is PI), entitled: Chronic Disease in an Arizona Native American Community.

Dr. Sanderson earned her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Rehabilitation and Special Education in 2005. She received an MS degree from Oklahoma State University with a major in Psychology with an emphasis in Rehabilitation Counseling in 1984 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She received her BA degree in Psychology from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas.

She is a Hampton Faculty Fellow with the Spirit of EAGLES, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota. She is also Faculty Fellow with the Native American Research and Training Center, College of Medicine, University of Arizona. She is currently a co-chair for the Native Research Network, Inc., a national professional organization.

Primary Teaching Area in the Department: Public Health

Current Research Interest Areas: (1) American Indian knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs (KAB) regarding colorectal cancer and screening; and (2) Exploring public health resiliency factors.

Past Research Interest Areas: (1) Breast cancer treatment options, knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs among Navajo women; and (2) Disability vocational rehabilitation among American Indians with disabilities.
  • Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)
Peer-Reviewed Publications:
  1. Middleton RA, Rollins CW, Sanderson PL, Leung P, Harley DA, Ebener D and Leal-Idrogo A (2000). Proposed professional multicultural competencies and standards. Special Issue on Multicltural Competencies. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 43(4), 219-240. PROED.
  2. Robinson F, Sandoval N, Baldwin J. Sanderson P (2005). Breast cancer education for Native American women: Creating culturally relevant communications. Oncology Nursing Journal, 9(6), 689-691. PMID: 16381544 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].
  3. Sanderson PR, Teufel-Shone NI, Baldwin JA, Sandoval N and Robinson F (2010). Breast cancer education for Navajo women: A pilot study evaluating a culturally relevant video. Journal of Cancer Education, 25(2): 217-23. PMID: 2011913. [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].
  4. Sanderson PR, Weinstein N. Teufel-Shone N and Martinez ME (2011). Assessing colorectal cancer screening knowledge at tribal fairs. Preventing Chronic Disease, 8(1):A16. Epub 2010 Jun 15. PMID:
  5. Sanderson PR, Little M, Vasquez MM, Lomadafke B, Brings Him Back-Janis M, Trujillo O, Jarratt-Snider K, Teufel-Shone N.I., Brown BG and Bounds R. (Autumn 2012). A Perspective of Diabetes from Indigenous Views. Fourth World Journal, 11(2), 57-78.