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Application Process

Native Investigator Development Program

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2016-2017 Cohort. The deadline for submitting application materials was July 31, 2015. 

The purpose of this solicitation is to recruit American Indian and Alaska Native junior faculty (MD, PhD) to apply to join the next 2-year cohort of the Native Investigator Develo​pment Program, which is an academic career development program in the Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) at the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Washington.





The Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health in the School of Public Health at University of Colorado Denver is the only National Institute on Aging funded Resource Center for Minority Aging Research (RCMAR) devoted to Native Elder health. This leading-edge program is designed to train the next generation of Native Investigators to study the pressing gerontological health issues in American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) peoples. The purpose of this solicitation is to recruit the next cadre of Native Investigators into the program. The program provides a unique opportunity for qualified candidates to improve their research capabilities and skills in the social, behavioral and health sciences. The ultimately goal is for the candidates to become self-sustaining independent investigators conducting research at the interface of aging, health and culture. 


Native Investigator Program Description


The Native Investigator Program is a career development program that focuses on acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary for submission of a career development grant and progression to an independently-funded research career. The training program includes formal didactic sessions, workshops, mini-courses, regular meetings, mentoring activities by Core Faculty, and consultations with Affiliated Faculty. Personnel, resources, and activities originate from both the University of Colorado-Denver and the University of Washington in Seattle. The specific aims of the Native Investigator Development Program are:

  1. To increase the number of AI/AN professionals capable of conducting research in areas of high priority among Native elders, in particular those that aim to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity;  
  2. To establish mentoring relationships between senior scholars and Native Investigators to study the  health of the aging AI/AN population;
  3. To improve the methodological skills of Native Investigators by participation in Secondary Data Analyses and Pilot Studies studying the health of older AIAN; and
  4. To submit a career development award to continue on a career trajectory toward becoming independent investigators studying the health of aging AI/AN.
This career development program provides intensive, long-term mentoring of promising, well-trained AI/AN doctorally prepared professionals modeled on the highly successful Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program. The Native Investigator Program weaves together didactic, experiential, and mentored instruction as well as specialized seminars to equip Native Investigators to function as independent scientists. This blend of activities includes: a) an introductory mini-course on the scope and methods for studying gerontological health in the Native population; b) continuous interaction with mentors drawn from an array of different disciplines in the social, behavioral and health sciences; c) other seminars and workshops as relevant and appropriate. Within this framework, Native Investigators are encouraged to pursue specific lines of inquiry that will yield research capable of securing external sponsorship. Of special note, by virtue of its inclusion of senior same-race mentors the RCMAR is unusual in its ability to provide appropriate role models to aspiring Native Investigators.

Native Investigators will participate in RCMAR activities for 2 years while still working at their home institution. During the first year, these individuals complete the 3-day mini-course, participate in 3-4 Seattle-based 1 1/2 day meetings, as well as several webinar based meetings, involving RCMAR faculty, staff and investigators, and complete a secondary data analysis manuscript studying a topic relevant to the health of AI/AN elders. Native Investigators will also develop a Pilot Study that involves collecting new data during the second year of the program. In the second year of the program, data generated by the Pilot Study will be analyzed and manuscripts prepared. Parallel efforts focus on using these data as the basis for the preparation of an NIH-type grant application to be submitted for peer review. As in the first year of the progam, feedback and guidance during the second year of the program at the RCMAR meetings in Seattle involve both Core and Affiliated Faculty. Native Investigator grant applications undergo an NIH-style mock peer review prior to submission. 


Level of Support


Candidates selected as Native Investigators are supported for 2 years at 20% of their institutional base salary.  The program is very time-intensive and at times will require more than 20% of the investigator’s time.


Eligibility Criteria for Native Investigators


Candidates from fields such as medicine, nursing, public health, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and other social and behavioral sciences are encouraged to apply. Criteria for admission to the program include: 1) Native status, with documentation as needed and/or appropriate tribal affiliation, 2) An advanced degree such as an MD, PhD, DSW, JD, EdD or the equivalent, in one of the social, behavioral, or health sciences,or law or education; and 3) Ability to demonstrate the relevance and need for training to future plans and career development. 


Native Investigator Program Inquiries

Application materials and a description of the process can be found at:
Potential applicants are encouraged to direct their inquiries via email to Dedra Buchwald, MD:

Colorado School of Public Health

13001 E. 17th Place
Mail Stop B119
Aurora, CO 80045


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