Faculty, Staff & Students


Cynthia R. Pearson, PhD

Director of Research, IWRI

Research Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Univeristy of Washington


Curriculum Vitae

Research Associate Professor Cynthia R. Pearson is the Associate Director of the Research Core and Director of the Methods Core at the Interdisciplinary Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI, P60MD006909), where she collaborates with Indigenous scholars in the development of research policies and directs iterative data analysis on historical and cultural determinants of physical and mental health among American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Dr. Pearson is the Principle Investigator of ETHICS: Ethics Training for Health in Indigenous Communities Study (R01HD082181).  She is also a former fellow with Fordham University HIV and Drug Abuse Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute (RETI) and is a member of the Advancing Indigenous Research Ethics in Practice and Policy Committee at the University of Washington. Her expertise is in designing tribally-based health studies from an ecological perspective that emphasize social, economic, political, environmental, and historical determinants of health.

Specifically, Dr. Pearson’s research focuses on the intersecting risk of substance use, historical and lifetime trauma, and HIV risk and how culture, place and community serve as protective factors (R34DA034529). Dr. Pearson meets community members where they are and identifies community ways of knowing and resources to create innovative sustainable interventions. She is the principle investigator and co-investigator on multiple federally-funded grants using a community-engaged approach, closely collaborating with tribal communities across the US in the promotion of American Indians and Alaska Natives wellness.