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Current Research Projects

The Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies has been engaged in a number of social work and public health research projects in American Indian communities.  Our intent is to use research to inform federal, state, and tribal policy makers and foster partnerships between national centers that share our focus on American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) research.  Current and recent projects include:

Financial Capability and Asset Building (FCAB) Initiative
In collaboration with the Center for Social Development (CSD), the Buder Center is contributing to the FCAB Initiative, which aims to develop a curriculum on financial capability and asset building to be implemented at undergraduate social work and human service programs. Several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) will roll out the curriculum later this fall.

Two Spirits Interdisciplinary LGBT Workshop (2014)
Scholars from the Buder Center collaborated with WUSTL student organizations to host a Two Spirits professional development workshop that focused on LGBT issues in Native communities and AI/AN cultural perspectives. This workshop aimed to increase awareness of the Two Spirits Movement among WUSTL faculty, staff, and students, and to encourage faculty to incorporate information on the movement and Native perspectives into existing curricula regarding LGBT issues. 

Buder Alumni Study (2013)
In 2013, the Buder Center initiated survey research and in-depth interviews with Buder alumni of the Brown School’s Social Work program  to evaluate the Center’s programs and services and improve program effectiveness. The study examines the effectiveness of recruitment and retention practices for AI/AN students, the usefulness of student supports provided by the Center, and the role of students’ connections to Native communities and their own AI/AN identity. A report summarizing the study’s findings and implications is forthcoming this fall.

Maatibi. Imokwayli. Ittanahil. – Hunt. Fish. Gather. (2013)
Scholars from the Buder Center collaborated with the students, faculty, and staff of Washington University in St. Louis, community members, and tribal entities to gain an understanding of past and present ways of living.  They  studied the impact of these ways and developed programs to combat the impacts among six American Indian/Alaska Native tribes: Santa Clara Pueblo, Chippewa, Osage, Choctaw/Alabama-Coushatta, Mashpee Wampanoag, and Gwich’in.

PECaD:  Relationship-Centered Collaboration for Breast Cancer Prevention For American Indian/Alaska Native Women in Missouri and Illinois (2013)
The Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD) and the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies collaborated to offer preventative education and mammogram screenings at the 23rd annual Washington University in St. Louis Pow Wow. About 100 people visited the PECaD booth, and 11 women received mammograms.

Read News Article

View Annual Report (p.17)

Graphic Cigarette Warning Labels (2012)
Conducted in collaboration with the Brown School’s Health Communications Research Lab, this project seeks to understand impacts of new graphic health warning labels on cigarette packages among diverse populations of smokers, including American Indians. Findings will inform the development of more effective anti-smoking media campaigns.

Obesity Prevention
In collaboration with the Brown School’s Prevention Research Center, the Buder Center is researching federal and tribal obesity prevention strategies used in Native communities across the United States.

AI/AN in Social Work
Buder Center faculty, staff, and students are developing a body of work on AI/AN in the field of social work. Current topics include leadership development, student retention, student recruitment, alumni development, university-tribal relationships, and faculty recruitment.

Supporting AI/AN Social Work Student Retention
In collaboration with the Buder Center, two MSW candidates developed a document to help Buder scholars locate AI/AN mentors and secure practicum sites in Native communities. As part of their research, the authors used geographic information systems (GIS) to develop a spatial map of Buder alumni and Native-specific practicum sites. 

Tobacco Cessation for AI/AN in the St. Louis Community (2011)
The Buder Center worked in collaboration with the University of Kansas Medical Center and the Washington University in St. Louis Medical Center to implement the All Nations Breath of Life tobacco cessation program with St. Louis area AI/ANs. Designed specifically for an AI/AN population, the program advocates tobacco cessation, while respecting the sacred nature of tobacco to many AI/AN.

Social Systems Design (2010)
The Buder Center, in collaboration with the Social Systems Design Lab, hosted two facilitated dialogues regarding social work practice in Indian Country intended to help stakeholders identify future targets of change for alumni Over 55 alumni, faculty, staff, students, Buder family and constituents participated in the dialogues, which highlighted ways in which Buder alumni are currently influencing citizen wellness in Indian Country and areas where outcomes could be strengthened.