OSU-CHS Center Receives Grants

The Center for Indigenous Health Research and Policy (CIHRP) at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa has been awarded two grants totaling about $5.5 million to study and improve indigenous food systems and health outcomes.

In August, CIHRP was awarded a five-year $3.5 million Tribal Community Supported Agriculture Grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.

CIHRP is partnering with the Osage Nation and the National Congress of American Indians to implement and study new community supported agriculture (CSA) programs in the Osage Nation, document findings and if successful, compile a web-based toolkit for other indigenous communities to use to improve Native food systems.

The program would provide Osage citizens with a weekly share of freshly grown farm produce for six months, said CIHRP Director Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, DrPH, MPH.

OSU-CHS President Dr. Johnny Stephens said the grants’ focus on nutrition and overall health of Native populations coincides with the institution’s mission to meet the health care needs of rural and underserved Oklahoma.

“CSAs have improved diet and health in non-American Indian populations and are evidence-based strategies recommended by the CDC and the Institute of Medicine to reduce health disparities,” said Jernigan. “We will test the efficacy of a CSA program combined with culturally-tailored nutrition and cooking education on diet and health outcomes among Osage citizens, evaluate its cost-effectiveness and develop a multimedia toolkit for disseminating findings.”

Most recently, CIHRP was awarded a two-year $2 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services that focuses on American Indian and Alaska Natives.