NACA officially partners with NAU’s CHER and College of Education in culturally centered research training program for health professionals
Northern Arizona University’s Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) recently received a $100,000, one-year supplemental grant to collaborate with Native Americans for Community Action, Inc. (NACA) as part of the Culturally-Centered Addictions Research Training, or C-CART program.
The C-CART graduate certificate—a culturally centered training program for practicing clinicians and doctoral students in health professions—equips its students to address substance use disorders, specifically in underserved American Indian, Latinx, and rural populations.
The innovative graduate certification program is funded through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and fills a critical need for culturally relevant training in health professions. It also complements NAU’s doctoral programs in health care and behavioral health fields.
The partnership with NACA, an organization that was already partnering with the C-CART parent grant, gives C-CART students an opportunity to work with NACA’s expert staff, examining resiliency and other unique cultural constructs when approaching substance use and substance use disorder (SU/SUD), especially in this unique time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Curtis Randolph, director of behavioral health at NACA, describes their approach to care as treating the whole person, “as the medicine wheel would outline: addressing the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual self-employing cultural humility and the use of traditional and western practices that lead to recovery.”
“Studying the effectiveness and efficacy of this approach to treatment could lead to validate the ways in which NACA approaches treatment,” Randolph said. “It could also lead to enhancing models of treatment that could be generalized and applied to other treatment programs across the IHS Western Region treatment centers.”
Juliette Roddy, who is treasurer of the NACA Board of Directors, is co-investigator, instructor, and member of the executive committee for the C-CART program and NAU’s NARBHA Institute James Wurgler MD chair of Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health. She said that NACA’s treatment practices highlight the importance of the community partners in both the C-CART program and the telebehavioral health study.
“Classroom instruction in the value of the medicine wheel in Native culture is almost nonexistent,” Roddy said. “NACA’s participation in our C-CART program offers student experience in and exposure to specific cultural practices that can be studied when undertaking responsible research in SU/SUD treatment.”
C-CART has seven other valuable community partnerships:
- Crossroads, a residential and outpatient SU/SUDs treatment program.
- The Guidance Center, a non-profit community mental health center serving individuals of all ages.
- Health Choice Arizona, a full-risk Medicaid managed care system which manages physical and behavioral health care.
- Northern Arizona University Campus Health Services, provider of services to NAU students, faculty, and staff.
- North Country HealthCare, the only publicly supported, federally qualified health center in northern Arizona.
- Regional Center for Border Health, Inc., a model for advancing the role of the community outreach worker or promotores de salud/patient navigators and facilitation of medical services outreach, health promotion and workforce development related to health care.
- Southwest Behavioral and Health Services, one of the largest community-based behavioral health providers in Arizona.
Regents’ Professor Julie A. Baldwin, CHER director, and Ramona Mellott, dean of the NAU College of Education and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology are the Multiple Principal Investigators (MPIs) of the project.
NAU faculty in the program include instructors and academic mentors: Roddy; Shane Haberstroh, professor, Department of Educational Psychology; Heather Williamson, associate professor, Department of Occupational Therapy and CHER; Chesleigh Keene, assistant professor, Department of Educational Psychology; Amit Kumar, assistant professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Athletic Training; Emery Eaves, associate professor, Department of Anthropology; Oaklee Rogers, chair and associate professor, Department of Occupational Therapy; and Regents’ Professor Robert T. Trotter, Department of Anthropology. CHER senior research coordinator Carolyn Camplain helps to implement the program.
C-CART’s diverse scholars
C-CART’S first cohort is comprised of students from doctoral programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, clinical psychology, combined counseling/school psychology, and interdisciplinary health from departments throughout the university, as well as practicing professionals from the community.
The first cohort includes: Amanda Acevedo, clinical psychology; Jeffersson Brasil Pires Dos Santos, interdisciplinary health; Lillian Jones, clinical psychology; Neshay Mall, combined counseling/school psychology; Marca McCallie, NAU Campus Health Services; David Mensah, interdisciplinary health; Brooke Tubbs, occupational therapy; Ariella Welsh, occupational therapy; Anna Weymann, physical therapy; and Melissa Wheeler, combined counseling/school psychology.
The C-CART team will also use the supplemental funding to add two more students to the fall 2022 cohort.
For more information, visit the C-CART webpage.