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Indigenous Health

Make a gift to public health today

The college works closely with tribal nations to serve Arizona’s large Native American population with participatory research projects and public health programs that target the many health disparities experienced by tribal communities.


Home to 22 federally-recognized tribal nations, Arizona has the third-largest population of Native Americans and Alaska Natives as a proportion of state population. The Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health (MEZCOPH) and the University of Arizona reside on the traditional territory of the Tohono O’odham people, and Tucson shares geography with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.

Native Americans and Alaska Natives experience disproportionate health disparities related to chronic diseases, unintentional and intentional injuries, and violent crimes as evidenced by higher morbidity and mortality. They continue to die at higher rates than other Americans in many categories, including chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, diabetes mellitus, unintentional injuries, assault/homicide, intentional self-harm/suicide, and chronic lower respiratory diseases. Moreover, the frequency of obesity among North American Indian children and youth exceeds that of other ethnic groups in the United States.

Our research and programs at the Zuckerman College of Public Health aim to improve health outcomes in tribal communities across this range of health disparities. We advance fundamental, translational, and applied research that addresses the health needs of diverse populations, and we aim to make a profound and measurable impact on the health and wellbeing of all Native Americans in Arizona and the Southwest.  All MEZCOPH research and community projects related to indigenous health are guided by a tribal collaborators and use the community participation model. We focus on incorporating rigorous study design with culturally appropriate measures to achieve the shared goal of reducing or eliminating Native health disparities.

Public health continues to be an area of growth for jobs nationally and internationally, meaning that we need more trained public health professionals in the workforce.  The College always strives to involve American Indians and Alaska Natives students in both research efforts and resulting publications and presentations.

Indigenous Health Research & Interventions

Developing culturally and contextually relevant, sustainable interventions and policies to address indigenous health concerns.

All MEZCOPH research projects and community programs are conducted in partnership with indigenous communities and organizations. The collaborative research and programs examine health challenges and inequities faced by these communities so we can develop culturally and contextually relevant, sustainable interventions and policies to address these needs.

From bench science to community-based research, we are creating a healthier world for all of us. Supporting research funding is vital to strengthening and sustaining public health research, providing the resources needed to advance the public health work that changes people’s lives. Your support can bridge gaps in the funding of established researchers, and help other faculty members and graduate students explore the most pressing public health challenges through innovation and collaboration.

All MEZCOPH research and community projects are guided by a tribal and community participation.

  • Center for Indigenous Environmental Health Research (CIEHR)
    https://ciehr.arizona.edu/
    The overall goal of CIEHR is to partner with rural and urban indigenous communities to build capacity to measure and determine the contribution of environmental exposures to health inequities and support efforts to address these threats, including research translation and policy development.  CIEHR employs a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach in its research and outreach projects.
  • An Asthma Collaboration to Reduce Childhood Asthma Disparities on the Navajo Nation
    Asthma prevalence among Navajo children is 2 times that of the general population and is fueled by disparities including poverty, environmental pollutants, and minimally accessible healthcare. This project on the Navajo Nation will address these disparities using a community-based intervention targeting healthcare providers, schools, parents, children, and community members. This project was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.

Aspiring Students Lead to Healthier Communities

Our Students Have Big Dreams. MEZCOPH strives to involve our indigenous students in both research efforts and resulting publications.

Our Students Have Big Dreams. So Do We.

Everyone deserves an opportunity to earn their college degree. We are providing the opportunities and support to our indigenous students to get them there. Scholarships help maintain the incredible diversity of our student body, which makes the classroom experience for students much richer. The College always strives to involve Native Americans and Alaska Natives students in both research efforts and resulting publications and presentations. There’s a crucial need for a diverse body of well-trained public health professionals and leaders for our state and nation. Investing in scholarships for public health students supports the greater good.

Public health continues to be an area of growth for jobs, both nationally and internationally, so we need more trained public health professionals for the workforce.  However, rising tuition makes it more difficult for students to afford graduate school. We are grateful for your partnership in support of our students. Working together, we are uniting people and ideas to achieve the promise of building healthy, safe and equitable communities.  Your gift will ensure that there are no barriers to the best and brightest in pursuing the public health field. It is more than a scholarship: It’s a smart investment in Arizona’s future.

More Information

If you would like more information about giving opportunities, please contact:

Donna Knight

Donna Knight
Director of Development

(520) 626-6459
dknight@arizona.edu

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