November is Native American Heritage Month
Submitted by Steve Verney, PhD.

November is National Native American Heritage Month, a time to not only recognize our Native communities and honor traditions and strengths, but also to work toward solutions to reduce the suffering and hardships facing our Native communities. Our UNM HSC Transdisciplinary Research, Equity, and Engagement Center for Advancing Behavioral Health (TREE Center) is committed to addressing important behavioral health problems and critical barriers to progress the health and wellbeing of NM’s Native populations. Native American suffer from many mental and physical at a greater rate than the U.S. general population. For example, NM has one of the highest rates of suicide, depression, and alcohol and drug misuse in the U.S. Yet, Natives in NM, 11% of the state’s population, suffer even more than the state’s other groups. More than 1 in 5 Native middle school students have seriously considered suicide and 1 in 8 Native High School students have attempted suicide in the past year. One third of the NM Native high school students experienced persistence sadness or hopelessness in the past year. Further, Native’s have the highest rates of alcohol-related deaths in the state. These stark behavioral health outcomes are likely rooted in social and environmental structures and policies, termed social determinants of health, along with a long history of various community traumas. Our TREE Center’s vision is to partner with local, state, tribal and national leaders to create opportunities to improve these and other behavioral health conditions experienced in our Native communities.
TREE Center Scholars Shine at Recent Freedom and Justice Conference
Submitted By: Gabe R. Sanchez, PhD.  

In August, several scholars affiliated with the UNM TREE Center and Center for Social Policy recently presented research at the American Society of Hispanic Economists and National Economic Association’s Freedom and Justice Conference held here in Albuquerque. This included a team of researchers led by Professors Kate Cartwright and Xiaxoue Li, who presented separate research projects supported by the AD/ADRD TREE Supplement grant focused on Alzheimer's disease that focused on the role of immigration and SNAP policies on the health outcomes of the aging population in the United States. This work was very well received by an audience of some of the leading scholars in the nation whose work focuses on socio-economic inequalities. The authors will use this feedback to push their work toward publication and represent a larger body of research being conducted across the TREE Center focused on factors that lead to cognitive decline and interventions that can help address health outcomes associated with aging here in New Mexico and nationally.  AD/ADRD TREE Supplement Pre-Doctoral Trainees Barbara Gomez-Aguinaga and Brooke Abrams also presented research at the conference focused on immigration policies influence on avoidance behavior among Latinos and Black attitudes toward reparations for slavery. The following quote from Dr. Nina Banks (Bucknell University) , the conferences lead organizer, reflects the positive impression UNM’s research community had on the wider audience:

“We have never before had so many participants from the host institution and I came away as a huge admirer of UNM - faculty, staff, and students. Your graduate students were wonderful in tweeting events, providing rides, and giving fantastic presentations.”
Events & Resources

NIH 2019 National Native American Heritage Month Lecture
November 18, 2019 | 1 PM EST
Lecturer: Melissa, Walls , Ph.D. (Bois Forte and Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe Bands). Dr. Walls is the Director of the Great Lakes Hub for the JHU Center for American Indian Health and Associate Professor at JHSPH. Please join us for this celebration and special guest lecture from Dr. Walls, whose research explores trajectories of early life course substance use, mental health challenges, and enduring mental health among Indigenous people in North America. Through recognition of Tribal sovereignty and the use of Tribally-based participatory approaches, Dr. Walls’ research serves as a valuable tool that highlights the value of within-culture studies, informs preventive interventions, and creates new narratives about Indigenous healthy living and well-being.

Click here for more details .

NIMHD Loan Repayment Program - Applications DUE 11/15/19, 8 PM EST
Click here for details.