Washington State University’s Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH) and Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness (WPHW) have been awarded a four-year, $4.49 million center grant from the National Institutes of Health.
This center grant aims to estimate the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias and mild cognitive impairment among Wabanaki tribal citizens aged 55 and older to determine current and future economic costs associated with these conditions. It also supports the development of a public health course for undergraduate students and establishment of a Wabanaki Public Health District research review board. Based in Bangor, Maine, the center grant will be conducted over the next three years.
Dr. Patrik Johansson, MD, MPH, and associate professor at WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, who is also director of WSU’s Northwest Health Education Research Outcomes Network (NW HERON), will co-lead the center grant with Lisa Sockabasin, RN, MS, and Co-CEO of WPHW.
Johansson has worked for over 20 years with the Wabanaki Nations made up of the Mi’kmaq Nation; the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; the Penobscot Nation; and the Passamaquoddy Tribe, which comprises the Indian Township and Pleasant Point communities. He has also worked with a variety of Tribes across the nation.
Johansson said, “Through our partnership we will learn about memory function of Wabanaki elders and create education programming for future generations of public health professionals and researchers who are Wabanaki Tribal citizens. The work we do in Maine will inform future collaborative efforts with Tribes in Washington state on Tribal priorities pertaining to aging.”
IREACH faculty and staff are committed to improving health through community-based participatory research for American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Pacific and Hawaiian Islanders, and other underserved communities in both urban and rural settings in the Northwest and other locations across the country.