Washington State University’s Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH) and Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness (WPHW) has been awarded a four-year, $4.49 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.
This central grant aims to estimate the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease-related dementia and mild cognitive impairment among citizens of the Wabanaki Tribe aged 55 and older to determine the current and future economic costs associated with these conditions. It also supports the development of a public health course for undergraduate students and the establishment of a Wabanaki Public Health District research review board. Based in Bangor, Maine, the center’s grant will take place 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 the WSU Northwest Health Education Research Outcomes Network (NW HERON), will co-direct the center’s grant with Lisa Sockabasin. RN, MS and co-CEO of WPHW.
Johansson has worked for more than 20 years with the Wabanaki Nations comprised of the Mi’kmaq Nation; Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians; Penobscot Nation; and the Passamaquoddy tribe, which includes the communities of Indian Township and Pleasant Point. He has also worked with a variety of tribes across the country.
Johansson said, “Through our partnership we will learn about the memory function of Wabanaki elders and create educational programming for future generations of public health professionals and researchers who are citizens of the Wabanaki tribe. The work we do in Maine will inform future collaborative efforts with Tribes in Washington State on tribal priorities related to aging.
IREACH faculty and staff are dedicated to improving health through community-based participatory research for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Pacific Islanders, and Hawaiian Islanders, and other underserved communities in urban and rural settings in the Northwest and others throughout the country.
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