NIH has appointed Dr. David R. Wilson as the first director of the NIH Tribal Health Research Office to coordinate American Indian and Alaska Native health research. The office organizes NIH research related to the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives across the NIH institutes, centers, and offices.
NIH created the office to recognize the importance of meaningful input from and collaboration with tribal nations on NIH programs and policies. The THR office aligns with NIH guidelines on the implementation of the HHS Tribal Consultation Policy that describes how NIH will consult and share information with Indian tribes about NIH programs relevant to American Indian and Alaska Native health research.
Angela Young, CEO of the Urban Inter-Tribal Center of Texas, says it’s important to have Native American and Alaska Native representation in healthcare. “It’s great to see Wilson, who is from the Diné tribe, have a high role and a strong voice to speak for our group,” Young told D CEO Healthcare. “To know there is representation for our healthcare needs at NIH is impactful.”
Wilson previously served as the public health advisor and the American Indian and Alaska Native policy lead at the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the John Hopkins School of Public Health at the Center for American Indian Health. He graduated with a Ph.D in molecular and cellular biology from Arizona State University and served as a senior research scientist at the National Institute on Aging.
According to NIH, Wilson is committed to encouraging underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in science. He was appointed on Jan. 22 and was to begin his new role on Feb. 13.