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​Certificate in American Indian & Alaska Native Public Health

Online certificate

Just over 5 percent of the U.S. population identify as American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) either as their only race or in combination with another race. Yet, AIANs bear a dauntingly disproportionate share of ill-health, suffering higher levels of many chronic conditions, infectious diseases, mental and behavioral health, and unintentional injuries and accidents compared to most other racial groups. The marked racial disparities are tightly intertwined with the history of the AIAN people and federal policies, played out against their resilience, strength, and diversity. 

The U.S. has over 573 federally-recognized tribes and more than 97 state-recognized tribes. Some 40 percent of all AIANs live in the Western region of the U.S., and many reside in reservation or village communities.  However, AIANs are also increasingly urban – about 70 percent now reside in urban areas  though many retain close cultural ties with tribal communities. 

This vast variation among tribes and the geographic dispersion of AIANs, coupled with the stark disparities in health, requires informed and innovative address in the implementation of programs, research, evaluation, and policy. 

This certificate program is designed to provide an education to individuals who want to advance their understanding of AIAN health and who plan to work with AIAN populations. The program is intended to prepare a workforce of individuals who have a solid foundation and knowledge about AIAN health, history, and community life on which to base implementation of programs and services, research projects, or policy to improve the health and well-being of AIANs. 

This certificate is a fully online program to accommodate demanding professional and personal schedules and can be completed in one year. Completion of the certificate requires 15 semester credits, nine hours of required course work and six hours of elective course work.

Admission Requirements and Application Process:

Please see the Certificate Requirements​ for the admission and application process and instructions.


Course Name


Foundations of American Indian and Alaska Native Health​


American Indian and Alaska Native Social Determinants of Health


Ethical Considerations in American Indian and Alaska Native Health Research


American Indian and Alaska Native Community Engagement


Tribal Research Review Fundamentals




Total Credits


Additional Notes:

  • Students who intend to apply for admission into a ColoradoSPH MPH program are strongly encouraged to take core MPH courses for their six elective credits in the AIAN Certificate.
  • Only 9 hours of elective course work are transferable to a ColoradoSPH MPH program.
  • If you plan to continue on to a ColoradoSPH MPH program, the 9 required credits in the AIAN certificate program will transfer as electives to an MPH program. To avoid taking courses that may not be transferable in the future we strongly urge students to take six hours of core MPH coursework. ​​


Over 30 online ColoradoSPH courses can be selected as electives to complete the remaining six credits of elective hours for the AIAN certificate. Student may also opt to take courses in person at any of the ColoradoSPH Universities (University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Northern Colorado or Colorado State University) but will need to arrange, plan, and pay for their travel if they do not reside in the area. Below is a list of online elective courses. For online courses not listed here please, contact the certificate director.

Course Number ​Cou​rse Title ​Credit Hours ​​Description Offered​
​BIOS 6601​ ​Applied ​Biostatistics ​I​ ​​3​ ​​Applied biost​atistical methods inclu​ding descriptive and statistical inference; odds ratio and relative risk, prob​ability theory, parameter estimation, tests for comparing statistics of two or more groups, correlation and linear regression and overviews of multiple and logistic regression and survival analysis. ​Summer, Fall​
​BIOS 6685​ ​​Intro to Public Health Informatics ​​3 ​​Survey course explores ​public health informatics topics such as current public health informatics initiatives, data sources, public health information systems, standards, health information exchange, system development/procurement, threats to information security and privacy, and decision support in the public health context ​​Spring​
​​​CBHS 6610 ​​Social and Behavioral Factors and Health ​​3 ​​Considers social, behavioral, and cultural factors that affect the health of individuals and populations, and contribute to health disparities. Development, implementation and evaluation of programs and policies to promote and sustain health environments and lifestyles are examined. Online in summer. ​​Summer
​​CBHS 6612 ​​Methods in Research and Evaluation ​​3 ​​Course covers social science research methods, including qualitative/quantitative research designs, data collection, and program evaluation (formative, process, outcome), to assess effectiveness of public health programs ​​Fall
​​CBHS 6614 ​​Childhood Obesity ​​1 ​​This course provides an overview of childhood obesity assessment, prevention and treatment. Key childhood obesity topics and challenges will be covered within the context of public health. ​​Spring
​​CBHS 6616 ​​Intimate Partner Violence ​​1 ​​This course will provide an overview of intimate partner violence, addressing the epidemiology of the problem; theory of causes and consequences; and evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies. Critiques of past approaches and gaps in research and prevention will be highlighted ​​Spring
​​CBHS 6617 ​​Nutrition and Public Health ​​1 ​​This survey course begins with an overview of nutrition and its relation to health and disease. The learner will gain experience in reading and evaluating published nutrition research. The second half of the course focuses on public health nutrition topics. ​​Spring, Fall
​​CBHS 6619 ​​Public Health in the Global Community ​​3 ​​This course is a study of population health issues around the world. It enables students to (1) assess the current health status of a country and (2) understand and critically appraise the magnitude and likely causes of various health-related conditions ​​Summer
​​CBHS 6620 ​​Survey Research ​​2 ​​Course examines survey research methodology, including face-to-face, telephone, mail and Internet surveys, includes: developing and ordering questions; formatting; reliability and validity; sampling; implementation; maximizing response rate; data issues; survey ethics and reporting ​​Spring
​​CBHS 6627 ​​Maternal Nutrition ​1 ​​This course provides an overview of nutrition issues affecting pregnant and breastfeeding women. Using a life cycle perspective, the course integrates clinical information with public health practice. ​​Fall
​​CBHS 6628 ​​Tech-Based Health Promotion ​​3 ​​This course will introduce students to health promotion programs delivered using computers, the internet and mobile phones. Students will learn strategies for designing, implementing and evaluating technology-based programs and will develop a technology-based health promotion program as a class project. ​​Fall
​​CBHS 6631 ​​Intro to Sexual and Reproductive Health ​​1 ​​Introduction to the biology of human sexuality and reproduction, components of healthy sexual relationships, prevention of sexually transmitted infections and fertility control and issues related to sexual orientation. ​​Spring
​​CBHS 6632 ​​Public Health in Caribbean/Latin America ​​3 ​​Course provides overview of global health issues related to community health assessment, program planning and implementation, and program evaluation by providing an intensive study of public health in the Caribbean and Latin America ​​Fall
​​CBHS 6634 ​​Adolescent Health ​​1 ​​This course will provide an overview of the major adolescent health issues, with a strong focus on the United States. The course will take a public health perspective and integrate a review of evidence-based prevention strategies into each health topic covered ​​Fall​
​​CBHS 6635 ​​Child Nutrition​ ​​1 ​​This course provides an overview of child nutrition from infancy to adolescence. Key child nutrition topics and challenges will be covered within the context of public health. ​​Fall
​​CBHS 6636 ​​Early Childhood Health, ACEs, Toxic Stress and Health Equity ​​1 ​​This course will provide an overview of early childhood health issues in the United States. By advancing a compelling new documentary series ‘The Raising of America’ the course will use a child equity and public health lens to address how brain development and early life conditions affect long term health outcomes ​​Fall
​​EHOH 6614 ​​Environmental and Occupational Health ​​3 ​​Students will learn about the relationship between the environment, workplace and health. Topics include facets of industrial hygiene, air and water pollution, radiation monitoring, toxicology, occupational medicine, policy, environmental justice and sustainability. Methods include risk assessment, GIS and epidemiology. ​​Spring
​​EHOH 6622 ​​Public Health Emergency Preparedness ​​3 ​​This introductory course focuses on the public health role in community disaster preparedness. It explores the relationship between 10 essential public health services and how these services support the ability to prevent, respond, and rapidly recover from public health emergencies ​​Spring, Summer
​​EHOH 6623 ​​Geographic Perspectives in Global Public Health ​​1 ​​This course will review geographic concepts and tools taking a regional, holistic approach to understanding the world's peoples, places, and processes in order to lay a foundation for an improved knowledge of global health. ​​Spring
​​EHOH 6634 ​​Spectrums of Professions Worker Health ​​1 ​​Introduction to multiple occupational health professions including industrial hygiene, ergonomics, occupational health psychology, occupational safety, health physics, occupational medicine, epidemiology, health promotion and wellness, program evaluation and risk management. Practice issues, current research and methods are covered ​​Fall
​​EPID 6640 ​​Investigation of Disease Outbreaks ​​2 ​​The investigation of infectious disease outbreaks requires a range of public health and epidemiologic tools. Students apply descriptive and analytical epidemiologic methods to the detection, investigation and control of foodborne disease outbreaks ​​Summer
​​EPID 6630​ ​​Epidemiology ​​3 ​​This course provides an introduction to descriptive and analytic methods in epidemiology and their application to research, preventive medicine and public health practice. ​​Spring
​​HSMP 6601 ​​Introduction to HSMP ​​3 ​​Provides an introduction to health systems, management and policy. Topics include the financing and organization of the U.S. healthcare system; introduction to health policy, including stakeholder analysis; and basic managerial skills, including human resources and budgeting ​​Fall
​​HSMP 6634 ​​Management, Budgeting, Public Health Administration ​​3 ​​This course is designed to prepare public health professionals for management and administration of public health programs and community initiatives. Content addresses program planning, development, budgeting, management and evaluation​ ​​Fall
​​PUBH 6600 ​​Foundations in Public Health ​​2 ​​This course examines the historical and conceptual bases of public health, the key issues and problems faced by the public health system, and the tools available for the protection and enhancement of the public's health ​Spring, Summer, Fall​
​​CHBH 5250 ​​Contemporary Issues in School Health ​3​ ​​This course examines the relationship between child/adolescent health and their school experience. The course will be organized around the eight components of the Coordinated School Health Program Model. Current issues and approaches to school health will also be presented ​​Fall
​​GERO 5600 ​​Community Resources for Elderly ​​3 ​​Community-based learning required. Review needs of older persons in the community and evaluate the continuum of long-term care resources available, service gaps, program models, and funding mechanisms ​​Fall
​​GERO 6250 ​​Psychosocial Aspects of Aging ​​3 ​​Later life issues are explored using an ecological approach that highlights the benefits and consequences of aging for the individual, family, and society ​​Spring
​​GERO 6350 ​​Social Policies of Aging ​​3 ​​This course covers social policy and policy making at federal, state, and local levels. The history and development of key social policies that affect older Americans are reviewed, as are developments in regard to policies benefiting the elderly population ​​Spring
​​GERO 6400 ​​Health Aspects of Aging ​​3 ​​This course examines contemporary physical and mental health concerns of older adults. Course activities examine health and aging, and develop skills in presenting information to older adults, caretakers, academic peers and professionals who work with older adults​ ​​Fall

 Learning Objectives

Students who successfully complete the certificate program will be able to:
  • Describe the historical background and policies that effect current AIAN health and well-being 
  • Identify the most common physical and mental health diseases and risk factors affecting the AIAN population with comparison to the US population 
  • Describe AIAN social determinants of health 
  • Understand the unique considerations and circumstances related to work with AIAN people 
  • Explain principals of community engagement and apply them to the AIAN population 
  • Understand ethical consideration of working with AIAN populations 
  • Identify prevention and intervention strategies that reduce AIAN health disparities 
  • Identify best practices and evidence-based interventions related to AIAN health ​

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