Researchers to Explore How Gender Impacts Alcohol Use Among Native American Young Women

A Department of Health Outcomes and Policy research team, led by Kelli Komro, Ph.D., received a $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health to explore patterns, risk factors and consequences of alcohol use among female Native American teenagers. This grant complements the team’s current project with the Cherokee Nation, which examines the effectiveness of a coordinated effort to reduce underage alcohol use, and aligns with the Office of Research on Women’s Health initiatives to explore the effect of gender on health.

“This grant will allow us to delve more deeply into the data surrounding the factors that impact young Native American women’s drinking habits, addressing not only this critical health issue but also the lack of scientific exploration into this topic,” explained Komro, who serves as the associate director of the Institute for Child Health Policy. “At the end of the day, we are interested crafting stronger, more effective prevention efforts in the hopes of securing a healthier future for this vulnerable population.”

The team, which also includes Melvin D. Livingston III, Ph.D. and Misty L. Boyd, Ph.D., a licensed health service psychologist with Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health, plans to examine the data they collected through another NIH-funded research grant, Prevention Trial in the Cherokee Nation: Interactive Effects of Environment and SBIRT, to discern patterns regarding when and how alcohol use begins, what influences the onset of drinking and what contributes to positive health behaviors among young Native American women. These findings will help to create prevention materials and programs that are highly attuned to the needs of this specific population.