News & Events


April 12, 2013

Building Capacity in Indigenous Research: the IHART and ISMART Programs

IHART program Logo

IHART program Logo

There are two research training programs at IWRI that are drawing up-and-coming scholars and researchers from around the country: IHART and ISMART.  These programs were created to help Native scholars work on their own research projects with the guidance of a mentor.  Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training Program, IHART, allows Indigenous students and scholars to conduct their own research in the area of HIV/AIDS and mental health within indigenous communities. The IHART program is in its fourth year of a five-year grant.  Indigenous Substance Abuse Medicines, and Addictions Research Training (ISMART) Program, is a mentorship program that allows scholars of indigenous backgrounds to research in the areas of substance abuse, medicines and addictions within their indigenous communities.


The Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training Program, IHART, is a two-year mentorship and training program.  The program is currently in its fourth year of a five-year grant.  It is also directed by Karina Walters, MSW, PhD and Bonnie Duran, DrPH and funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) R25MHO84565 monies.  The program is directed by Meg M. MacDonald, PhD (


IHART Fellows and Mentors

IHART Fellows and Mentors

A primary goal is to encourage Native American researchers to start their own research projects in tribal communities.  Up to 14 Fellows total are selected in five years for this two-year training program.  During the two-year training program two cohorts of four to five scholars will go through the program simultaneously, one cohort starting one year and the second starting before the first is finished. The program gives the scholars access to experienced, scientific mentors who will help them in their own individualized research and grant-making processes. The benefits to tribes and Fellows from this program are many.  Fellows will gain through fruitful experience and knowledge provided by the mentorship and guidance of experienced scientists to further benefit their scholarly studies.  The hope is to encourage and help Native scholars gain research experience and the skills to apply for and receive grant monies to further their research.  This in turn would benefit indigenous communities by discovering and further investigating issues surrounding indigenous health and ways to improve it.


As reported by Karina Walters, Ph.D. ISMART and IHART Director, “ The IHART fellows have published more than 15 articles in peer-reviewed journals and submitted, or been directly involved in, two NIH research grant proposals, with more under development.”


IHART's second cohort

IHART’s second cohort

The current and growing success of the IHART program has deepened relationships between tribal communities and organizations. Longer-lasting benefits can be expected as Native researchers address HIV/AIDS in culturally-appropriate methodologies.


The Indigenous Substance Abuse, Medicines, and Addictions Research Training program (ISMART) is a 12-month fellowship.  It is a structured mentored training program that offers seed funding for fellows to support their research.  The research the scholars will conduct benefits tribal communities by not only gaining awareness of such issues as substance abuse and other addictions, but also to foster knowledge which will help tribes address the effects of these disparities on Indigenous peoples’ health.   Similar to the IHART program, the ISMART fellows will receive guidance from mentors to develop a research and grant/publishing plan to assist in their scholarly endeavors.  With the development of a cohort of AIAN substance abuse and addiction research scientists, ISMART would provide a unique opportunity to support and engage AIAN scholars in substance abuse and addictions research.  Directed by Karina Walters, MSW, Ph.D. (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) and Tessa Evans-Campbell, MSW, PhD (Snohomish), the program’s long-term outlook is to help eliminate substance abuse and related health disparities among Native communities allowing them to find optimal health and wellness.

Anastasia Ramey, MSW (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians) is project director for ISMART and can be reached at


ISMART Fellows and Mentors

ISMART Fellows and Mentors

The ISMART program is being funded for one year.  Six Native scholars will be selected for the program cycle, which lasts 12 month.  This program is made possible through funding by the National Institutes of Health grant P60MD006909. Our long-nurtured relationships with the tribal communities and organizations will enhance the success of ISMART participants and the ISMART program.