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From the NIH Director: NIH 2017 Native American Heritage Month Message

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

Dear NIH Family,

This November, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is proud to commemorate National Native American Heritage Month (NNAHM). The NIH recognizes the many accomplishments and contributions made by American Indians and Alaska Natives and reaffirms its commitment to strengthening our nation-to-nation relationships, as we strive to advance tribal health research, reduce health disparities, increase life expectancy, and reduce illness and disability.

This year’s theme, "Native Pride and Spirit," invites us to celebrate American Indians’ meaningful legacy and encourage the next generation of American Indian and Alaska Native youth to seek and prepare for the demands of biomedical careers. We encourage the NIH community to participate in activities to address and raise awareness on key health concerns that affect tribal communities.

Underscoring the NIH’s support for enhancing quality of life and improving the health of American Indians, the NIH Tribal Health Research Office (THRO), part of the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Director, coordinates tribal health research-related activities across the NIH and serves as a principal point of contact for the tribal communities. You can find more information on THRO at

As one of the events in honor of National Native American Heritage Month, NIH has organized a special lecture with Erik J. Sorensen, Ph.D., Arthur Allan Patchett Professor in Organic Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University. Dr. Sorensen will present his research on organic chemistry synthesis, discuss his career path from the Onondaga Nation in central New York State to his current position, and describe the challenges of increasing American Indian participation in chemistry. The event will take place on Thursday, November 9, from 10:30-11:30 a.m., in Wilson Hall on the third floor ofBuilding 1. We hope his presentation and the discussion will help inform NIH’s efforts to increase American Indian participation in health research.

To learn more about the NNAHM campaign at the NIH, please visit, and follow the NIH Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) on Twitter and Instagram at @NIH_EDI. For more information, please contact Ashley Wells, Strategist, ( at or 301-827-9359.

Sincerely yours,

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

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