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Promoting integrity and excellence in research in an environment

that is collaborative, supportive, and builds capacity.


Who We Are

Established in 1997, The Native Research Network, Inc. (NRN) is a leadership community of American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Canadian First Nations promoting integrity and excellence in research.

NRN advocates for high quality research that is collaborative, supportive, and builds capacity. NRN promotes an environment for research that operates on the principles of integrity, respect, trust, ethics, cooperation, and open communication in multi-disciplinary fields.


NRN is a 501(c)3 non-profit professional organization.


       Download Our Official Brochure

NRN Accomplishments

Since 2005, the Native Health Conference has been held annually, with upwards of 300 attendees. In 2015, the NRN will begin hosting a training summit bi-annually, in rotation with the conference. Over 200 Native students have been sponsored to attend the annual conference and other training opportunities (e.g., the Conducting Research in Native American Communities Continuing Education Institute). The NRN successfully partnered with the IHS to provide IRB training for research within Indigenous communities. A literature review conducted by NRN contributed to a report to IHS on Traditional Indian Medicine. Most excitingly, an NRN Founding Member became the first woman to Direct the Indian Health Service. 


During each conference, the NRN solicits funds to support student travel so they could become better engaged with Native researchers and prospective mentors, network with other students and community members, and to become familiar with health-related issues. NRN has supported about 30 students during each of the past conferences.

Our History

The NRN was formed in 1997 by Native researchers at an Indian Health Service (IHS) meeting, to address health and research issues affecting Native communities.


The bylaws were established to create NRN as an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit. Initially, the NRN functioned under the auspices of the Association of American Indian Physicians, Inc. with fiscal support from the Office of Minority Health for development. 

Sample Activities

  • Planned/Coordinated the annual Native Research Conference since 2005 with the Indian Health Service.


  • Presented a Continuing Education Institute, "Conducting Research in Native Communities" at the APHA Annual Meeting.


  • Authored and edited a book on "Conducting Research in Native Communities" (edited by T. Solomon & L. Randall) published by the American Journal of Public Health books division.


  • Conducted a literature review and submitted a report to the Indian Health Service on research on Traditional Indian Medicine.


NRN operates on funds through multiple sources including grants from the Department of Health and Human Services, foundations, through funds received from services provided, through membership dues, and from public donations.

Meetings & Conferences

The Board of Directors hold monthly business conference calls.  Membership meetings are held at least once a year.


Regular conferences and mentoring workshops bring the membership together with news of recent projects and events.

How Can I Get Involved?

There are several ways you can get involved with NRN, including becoming a member, donating, and volunteering on a standing committee.



Standing committees help the Board of Directors accomplish the goals and objectives of NRN’s Strategic Plan. Each Board Member co-directs one or two committees. The Board encourages volunteers to serve—get involved, join a committee! Contact NRN Coordinator at for more information about volunteering for one of our standing committees.


  • Guide membership application processing, concerning eligibility and qualifications and shall recommend approval or denial of all applicants as voting or non-voting members. Membership Representatives will serve on the subcommittee.


  • Oversee all governance, planning, policy issues and evaluation in accordance with the By-Laws and corporate affairs and review the By-Laws and recommend amendments as necessary.


  • Oversee all communications, including audio or video, press releases, informational brochures, and all public relations issues to maintain the professional image and public relations of the corporation.

Budget & Finance 

  • Oversee all of the finances, audits, fund raising and financial operations of the corporation and maintenance of the records of the corporation.

Collaboration, Advocacy, & Legislation 

  • Oversee all collaborations, advocacy and legislation affecting or impacting the corporation.


  • Oversee all matters relating to ethics, compliance and standards applicable to research.


  • Oversee all matters relating to the election of officers.

Service to NIH

  • Current member may participate as a grant reviewer and/or consultant to NIH, on NRN-identified priorities.

Speakers Bureau

  • Current member may include name and professional expertise on the NRN Speakers Bureau list.

Service as Mentor

  • Current member serve as research mentor to American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian/ First Nations.


Ad Hoc Committees

  • Student Development Committee

  • Conference Planning 

  • Abstract Review 

  • Awards 

  • Leadership Transition 

  • Fundraising & Development 

  • Mentoring Workshops  

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors meet on a monthly basis, Membership meetings are held at least once a year during the annual Native Research Conference.

Board Member Categories

Co-Chair Elect (2) 1-yr. internship 

Co-Chair (2) 1-yr. term 

Past Co-Chair (2) 1-yr. term 

Treasurer (1) 2-yr. term 

Secretary (1) 2-yr. term 

Member-at-Large (3) 2-yr. term (1 student)

Current Board of Directors

Kamahanahokulani Farrar, MHRM (Native Hawaiian)

Kamahanahokulani Farrar is the Executive Director at Na Pu’uwai, the Native Hawaiian Health Care System in Hawaii serving the island communities of Molokai (including the Kalaupapa Settlement) and Lanai. 

Ms. Farrar has a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Hawaii. Prior to joining Na Pu’uwai in 2016, she worked with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) writing health care policy and with Health & Human Service (HHS) in the Department of the Secretary in Washington D.C.

More than a decade ago, as a board member with the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Centers (FQHCs) across the Hawaiian Islands, This is where she fell in love with public & community health. Her professional experiences include working with the Department of Native Hawaiian Health (JABSOM), the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC),  and the American Public Health Association (APHA) in the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Caucus.


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Our Logo

The NRN logo is a stylized drawing of the hawk.  The hawk circles its environment, continuously studying and observing.  Like  the hawk, NRN is a vehicle for studying the research environment.  The circular pattern of the wings symbolizes the guidance, mentorship and nurturing the network offers its members and constituents.

Deana M. Around Him, DrPH, ScM (Cherokee Nation)

Dr. Deana Around Him is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and Senior Research Scientist in the Youth Development Program Area at Child Trends, a non-profit research organization focused on improving the lives of children, youth, and their families. She is passionate about strengthening American
Indian maternal and child health and building the research and evaluation capacity of tribal nations. She’s nurtured these interests as an Institutional Review Board (IRB) intern and post-doctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a team member on community-based participatory research projects with tribes, and as the Culture, Science, and Bioethics Core Director for a partnership between the Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health (CRCAIH) and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Policy Research Center. In her current role, Dr. Around Him strives to apply research and evaluation best practices in projects that meet the cultural and contextual needs of tribal communities, particularly those that address the well-being of children and youth. Dr. Around Him earned her Bachelor of Arts in Community Health from Brown University, a Master of Science with a concentration in maternal and child health from the Harvard School of Public Health, and her Doctor of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Co-Chair Elect

Co-Chair Elect

Vanessa Simonds (Crow/Blackfeet) 
Past Co-Chair

Dr. Vanessa Simonds, enrolled member of the Crow Tribe and descendant of the Blackfeet Nation, is an associate professor in Community Health at Montana State University. She earned her graduate degrees from the T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health with a Master of Science from the Department of Epidemiology, and a Doctor of Science from the Department of Society, Human Development & Health. Dr. Simonds uses community-based participatory research approaches to address health literacy issues ranging from chronic disease to environmental health among Native Americans. She is committed to strength-based, community-centered outreach strategies designed in partnership with Native American communities. 


Lisa Scarton, PhD (Choctaw Nation) 
Past Co-Chair


Dr. Lisa Scarton is an assistant professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Florida. She earned her PhD in Nursing at the University of Indiana. Dr. Scarton's research focuses on reducing type 2 diabetes health disparities and improving type 2 diabetes health outcomes in American Indian communities. Her leadership includes leading an initiative at the University of Florida’s Diabetes Institute, bringing together key stakeholders to explore ways to reduce type 2 diabetes health disparities in American Indian communities in Florida and adjacent regions. She also served on the University of Florida, College of Nursing’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board and as a board member and chair for the American Indian Center of Indiana.


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Shaun Hains, PhD, MA (Métis)


Dr. Shaun Hains is a Part Time Professor at Saybrook University’s Department of Social Transformation. She was recognized as Aboriginal Teacher of the Year by the Canadian Teacher’s Federation and recognized within a group Women of Color in Psychology’s Timeline with the American Psychology Association. Dr. Hains is a member of the Global Clinical Practice Network of the World Health Organization. Dr. Hains work within Canada involved Defining Indigenous Research and Defining Indigenous Health Ethics with the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research as part of the Aboriginal Ethics Working Group. Within schools Dr. Hains has worked with youth with Severe Conduct Disorder while with an Indigenous Peace Process. Dr. Hains current work is to honor the eagles, as a Native North American research indicators of validity and reliability. “With an eagle feather in my hand, I have a voice, a song, and a love for land and language.” Shaun is also a hereditary chief within the Iroquois, Sioux,  Algonquin and Dené families.


“The Native Research Network looks beyond to now including Canada. For many years, a hardworking Indigenous organization and as I joined, a spotted eagle and a golden eagle flew gently in the skies from north to south. A statement of validity and reliability with integrity for I do not doubt the love of land and language and commitment. As a Lifetime Member I share the opportunity and responsibility in research now as the eagles flew with such grace. As the Native Research Network works diligently in research, the Indigenous voice that an eagle feather represents is part of a fluency of life that represents that voice. I am thrilled to be able to work within the Native Research Network as a Canadian. Placing the eagle feather within research alongside the Native Research Network is a joy!”


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Dean Seneca, MPH, MCURP (Seneca Nation of Indians)


Dean Seneca serves as the CEO of Seneca Scientific Solutions+, a Public Health and Urban and Regional Planning LLC. In this position, he provides capacity building assistance for Tribal Nations in economic and community development that embraces the concepts of “healthy places for healthy people.” Services provided include strategic planning, economic development, public health policy, program & science, epidemiology, grant writing, architectural site planning and building design, performance programing, health research, data management, and program evaluation. Areas of health expertise include chronic and infectious diseases, emergency preparedness and response, environmental health, toxicology, and maternal/child health. Mr. Seneca is considered a subject matter expert in America Indian/Alaska Native Health disparities. Previously, Mr. Seneca served as a Senior Health Scientist in the Partnership Support Unit within the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His main responsibilities were to build CDC’s national public health partners ability to provide greater capacity building assistance to state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments. Mr. Seneca has over 20 years of experience in the field of infectious disease outbreaks having been a first responder to Anthrax, H1N1, Ebola, Zika and now Covid19. Before arriving to CDC, he held the position of Tribal Planning Director for the Seneca Nation of Indians. He received both of his master’s degree(s) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


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Harrison Platero (Diné) 

Harrison Platero is Diné from the Canoncito Band of Navajo Indians, the reservation is located about 35 miles west of the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. He has been a member of the Native Research Network, Inc. since 1997; he has volunteered to assist at NRN research conferences over many years. He is currently serving as ABQ Area Indian Health Board member representing his community of To Hajiilee. He is an employee of the University of New Mexico in the sports and athletics department for seasonal administrative support. He has over 25 years of field behavioral health experience working with Native populations in the SW assisting professional researchers with Diné language and cultural translation with prevention research projects. With his unique skills, he is often called upon to serve as research consultant on prevention research projects for UNM and Johns Hopkins University. He has studied nutrition in college and is often hired as interventionist for the
nutrition and physical activity component of various diabetes and obesity studies. Prior to getting
involved in prevention research studies, he has worked with 5-star hotels in foods and kitchen management.


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Ariel Roddy, PhD Candidate (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

Ariel L. Roddy is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians and a doctoral candidate at the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Her research interests include the intersectional effects of race, ethnicity and gender on the economic marginality of justice-involved
individuals, and the culturally integrative treatment of substance use disorders in Indigenous populations. She is excited for the opportunity to grow as a researcher, citizen, and ambassador for Native American students in academia through her participation as the NRN Student Representative.



Native Research Network Elders Advisory Council

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Dr. Jennie R. Joe (Diné)
Professor Emerita, Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine.

Professor Joe is at the University of Arizona (UA) and until retirement, she directed the Native American Research and Training Center (NARTC) for over 20 years. Presently, she serves as a temporary interim Executive Director of NARTC. She received a joint doctoral degree from University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco and before coming to UA, she was on faculty at UCLA, teaching in three departments: anthropology, women’s studies, and American Indian Studies. Her interest in American Indian Studies continued at UA where she held an affiliated faculty position in American Indian Studies. In addition to teaching, her research activities have and continue to focus on indigenous health, childhood diabetes, childhood disabilities, cancer, men’s and women’s health. Throughout her academic career, she also has served on a number of national and international committees, including National Advisory Council for the National Heart, lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Medicine, National Museum of American Indian, Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health’s Institute for Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, Parliament of World’s Religion, etc. Although retired, she continues to mentor native students and participates as consultant on indigenous health studies/programs.

Dr. Philip Smith (Diné) 

Dr. Smith earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Utah in 1978 and his MPH from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. In 1983 he joined the Indian Health Service as Service Unit Director and Family Practice clinical provider at the Tuba City, AZ Indian Hospital. Dr. Smith was Director of the IHS Office of Health Programs and Chief Medical Officer for many years. During this time, he also served as Director of the National IHS Institutional Review Board. Additionally, he served in various volunteer capacities with the Association of American Indian Physicians (AAIP) and Native Research Network. In his honor, the NRN developed the Phil Smith award for a federal employee involved in research. At Johns Hopkins, Dr. Phil, as he is known to many, works with the Center’s Training team on developing and implementing courses and mentoring students. 

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Dr. Joe Dan Coulter (Citizen Potawatomi Nation of Oklahoma)

Dr. Joe Dan Coulter, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa. Dr. Coulter received his PhD in biological psychology and did a Post-doc work in neurophysiology in Texas, Italy and Scotland.  Prior to his appointment in the College of Public Health as Associate Dean for Diversity (2004), Dr. Coulter served as Head of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Carver College of Medicine, as Director, Neuroscience Graduate Program, and as the Associate Provost for Diversity and Director, Opportunity at Iowa, The University of Iowa. Dr. Coulter’s professional service has included Associate Program Director, Behavioral and Neurosciences Division, National Science Foundation; Chair, Council of Academic Societies, Association of American Medical Colleges; and President, Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs. Joe Dan, as he is known to AIAN, he worked extensively in AIAN education programs in Montana, Northern Plains and Iowa. He has served on numerous federal review/advisory committees and given talks on research methods and health disparities. Joe Dan remains active in teaching, conducting research and community service in human rights and American Indian/Alaska Native health.

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Dr. C. June Strickland (Cherokee)

C. June Strickland, PhD, RN, Professor Emerita, Department of Psychosocial and Community Health Nursing in the University Of Washington School Of Nursing, for over 25 years, she retired in 2018 as a full professor. Since that time, she has continued to provide guest lectures for the Ph.D. program on grounded theory research methodology, provides an orientation each year for undergraduate nursing students who go into a clinical rotation in two Washington state tribes with the University of Washington School of Nursing. She has collaborated with these two tribes to establish clinical rotation sites with the University of Washington School of Nursing in1997. Additionally, she serves as a member of the University Of Washington Office Of Minority Affairs and Diversity advisory committee, serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Transcultural Nursing, and serves as a member of the Northwest Area Indian Health Board NARCH advisory committee. In 2012, Dr. Strickland was awarded the prestigious Dr. Frank Dukepoo award by the Native Research Network.

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Dr. Yvette Roubideaux (Rosebud Sioux)

Yvette Roubideaux, MH, MPH, is the Vice President for Research and Director of the Policy Research Center at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). Her previous work includes serving in the Obama Administration as a Senior Advisor to the HHS Secretary for American Indians and Alaska Natives and as the Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS).  She is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Health Systems, Management, and Policy in the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado. Previous academic appointments include Clinical Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Leadership at the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University, and Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and Zuckerman College of Public Health.  Dr. Roubideaux is former Co-Chair and a founding member of the Native Research Network; additionally, she served as President of the Association of American Indian Physicians. Dr Roubideaux received her undergraduate, medical, and public health degrees at Harvard, is the author of several peer-reviewed research publications and co-edited the 2001 book Promises to Keep: Public Health Policy for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

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