Growing our own: Building a native research team

The Center for Rural Health, University of North Dakota, 501 N. Columbia Rd., Stop 9037, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037, USA.
Journal of psychoactive drugs (Impact Factor: 1.1). 06/2012; 44(2):160-5. DOI: 10.1080/02791072.2012.684632
Source: PubMed


In 2006, American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) made up less than 1% of the science, engineering and health doctorates in the U.S. Early introduction of AI/AN students to research and continued opportunities are necessary to develop successful AI/AN researchers who can better serve their communities. This team was developed to form a cohort of American Indian students, staff and faculty interested in research and becoming researchers. Since implementation, the program grew from one student to over 20 AI students ranging from freshmen just entering college to doctoral students working to complete their dissertations. This article highlights the team growth, increasing structure, student needs and the faculty and staff involved. It further addresses the support and educational aspects of growing an ongoing, multidisciplinary research team committed to ethical research in Native communities. The team addresses substance use prevalence, the relationship of substance abuse to other mental health diagnoses, and treatment issues. The team includes weekly team meetings, a Blackboard site on the Internet that is populated with resources and focused on sharing materials and information, a weekly journal club discussion of research articles, and collaborative discussions on each project and the barriers and challenges that need to be addressed to move forward.

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Available from: Jacqueline S. Gray, Jan 22, 2014
    • "The importance of the 'human touch' could be taken as an added dimension in the African context. In this sense, what is considered good research leadership in Africa may be similar to Gray and Carter's (2012, p. 165) description of good research leaders for American Indian/Alaska Native students in the USA: 'The research team's leadership has had to fill many different roles such as advisor, counselor, mentor, mother, and grandmother'. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study explores the meaning and competencies of ‘research leadership’ in the African context and investigates strategies for developing it. Data for the study were gathered through an online survey that targeted recipients of research grants/support from key research funders to selected African institutions. The recipients of these grants were either research leaders or team members. The study employs a mixed methodology approach with empirical data drawn from focus group discussions and online surveys of English-speaking research leaders and research teams whose research work was supported by the selected funding institutions. In line with literature of leadership styles in Africa, our results suggest that preferred research leadership style for African researchers is different in some ways, especially with its attention to the ‘human touch’. Respondents preferred ‘people/relationship orientated’, ‘task­orientated’ and ‘democratic/participative’ styles of leadership, all of which have strong elements of Ubuntu (humaneness). The study also showed that leadership development for many in Africa involves mostly ‘learning by doing’ and informal mentoring, and less formal training opportunities. We explore policy implications of our findings with reference to research leadership development in African institutions, paying particular attention to challenges faced by female research leaders, and stress that research leadership development in Africa must be seen as a long-term and continuous activity and calls for more formal leadership development opportunities to complement the existing informal approaches.
    International Journal of Leadership in Education 06/2015; DOI:10.1080/13603124.2015.1046497