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From the NIH Director: 2020 National Native American Heritage Month

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Dear NIH Family:

Each year, during National Native American Heritage Month (NNAHM) we pay tribute to the accomplishments and historical legacy of the first Americans. This year’s NNAHM theme, which honors the many contributions and sacrifices of tribal nations to America, is Celebrating Hope, Honoring Resiliency, and Engaging Tribal Nations.

This November, we reaffirm NIH’s commitment to working with tribal nations on the best ways to maintain health and wellness. Our mission serves as a reminder that we have a responsibility to help protect the most vulnerable populations. The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on how interconnected each individual is throughout the world. These challenging times have exacerbated the existing health disparities present in many tribal communities. Native Americans have faced hardships throughout history and shown exceptional resilience by persevering and maintaining a strong cultural identity. Tribal nations are the driving force behind biomedical research that affects their communities, and NIH is committed to working with tribes to exchange innovative ideas and expertise in a range of research areas.

NIH’s Tribal Health Research Office (THRO) was established to ensure meaningful input from and collaboration with tribal nations on NIH programs and policies. Federal programs, services, and research benefitting Native Americans are based on solid, trust-based government-to-government relationships. Earlier this year, THRO led a tribal consultation focused on sharing NIH COVID-19 research and understanding community needs around coronavirus testing. This virtual gathering showed the power of partnership and science, and provided NIH an opportunity to engage in meaningful discussion with tribal leaders to develop informed solutions. To learn more about THRO’s strategic goals, projects, and November activities, please visit THRO’s Home Page.

For more information about NNAHM and other EDI 365 events, please visit EDI’S Native American Portfolio page.

Sincerely yours,

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

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