Through the Diversity Supplement award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and with additional support from the Center of American Indian Resilience (CAIR), Dr. Angela A. A. Willeto and Dr. Priscilla Sanderson (Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at NAU) conducted four focus groups with urban American Indian communities located in the southwest on the topic of American Indian Social/Community Resilience. The eventual goal of the project is to build a research instrument that measures American Indian Community Resilience (AICRRI), an instrument that is designed to incorporate the lived experiences of the American Indian community and by so doing, give back to this underserved population. To this end, the researchers conducted qualitative consensus data analysis of the focus group discussions with numerous themes emerging from the voices of the American Indian participants.
Their Community Based Participatory Research approaches champion collaboration between the participants and the researchers, something that Indigenous Peoples increasingly mandate and which the Department of Sociology at NAU values and supports. Accordingly, Dr. Willeto returned to the communities and lead dissemination workshops with the participants to share the research results.
The next steps in the project involve the production of articles for submission to peer-reviewed journals, and the writing of grant proposals to continue this important work. Consequently, Dr. Willeto has engaged in R15 Grant Writing Workshops with the aim of submitting a funding proposal to the NIH in the near future. Additionally, she has joined an interdisciplinary team of researchers from NAU and the University of Arizona that submitted a funding proposal to The Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention (NACP), which is supported by a grant from the NIH.