Crouch Receives NIAAA F32 Award for Studying Alcohol Use Among Alaska Native People
Maria Crouch, PhD, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry, received an F32 award from the National Postdoctoral Individual Research Service of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
Alaskan natives are incredibly affected by alcohol, Crouch explained, but also have the highest abstinence rates among any ethnic group. And among the Alaskan Native and American Indian community, most people recovering from alcohol addiction do not use Western models or treatments, but rather pre-ancient cultural methods. western methods.
Crouch’s grant, “Secondary Analyzes of Clinical Trial Data to Understand Factors Associated with Alcohol Use Among Alaskan Native Populations,” will study trauma, physical health and culture, and the role of those here in the treatment of alcoholism, especially for the natives of Alaska, through secondary analyzes. . Its long-term goal is to combat trauma and problematic alcohol use in the Native Alaskan population, through clinical trials aimed at developing culturally-guided intervention and treatment.
“For me, research has paved the way for tailored, trauma-informed, and culturally innovative approaches to alcohol use disorders and is a bridge between great institutions and tribal organizations and between hopes and dreams. of my Alaskan Native ancestry and the holistic health, advancement and healing of Alaska Natives, ”Crouch wrote in her grant application.
In a separate interview, Crouch added, “We have evidence-based practice in Western culture, which is beautiful, and we need it, but in Indigenous culture, we have practice-based evidence – things that work and a research cannon owned by elders. who is culturally informed and embedded in our culture. It is essential that these two areas merge, and we must marry them to create the most benefit, to serve people. “
Crouch is a member of the Deg Hit’an (Athabascan) tribe and his family is from the native village of Anvik. Her uncle, Robert Rude, negotiated treaties with the United States government in the 1960s and 1970s, under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, to secure sustainable resources for health care, the education, housing and cultural progress. Crouch said she was identified by her elders to continue Rude’s work.
“I have traveled across the country to be able to do research that serves Native Alaskan communities, and it’s really beautiful and very exciting for me,” Crouch said. “My goal is to return home to Alaska after my three-year fellowship to work and develop experience and expertise that I can then bring home for the benefit and service of the Alaskan natives. I’m very grateful.”
While helping her develop her expertise and other research skills, Crouch’s grant is specifically aimed at being sensitive to Alaska’s native community, as well as culture, with the goal of creating a program of community-based research to bring back to the native Alaskan community.
While most F32 scholarships have up to three mentors, Crouch has six: Stephanie O’Malley, PhD, Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson, professor of psychiatry and director of the Psychiatric Addiction Research Division; Angela Haeny, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry; Joan Cook, PhD, professor of psychiatry; and Ralitza Gueorguieva, PhD, Senior Scientist in Biostatistics and Director of Biostatistics in Psychiatry. Additionally, Crouch will benefit from the mentorship of Judith Prochaska, PhD, MPH, Professor of Medicine at Stanford University with the Stanford Prevention Research Center and Fellow of the Stanford Cancer Institute and Joseph P. Gone, PhD, Professor of Anthropology and Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard University and Faculty Director of the Native American Program at Harvard University.
Crouch’s grant was one of the few funded that was not specifically biomedical-based. She said it’s important that the NIAAA funded its culture-based research plans.
“The NIAAA has stated that Alaska Native and Native American communities are a priority. There are disparities and under-representation, and that hasn’t always been the case, ”said Crouch. “It was incredibly meaningful to me because it felt like a huge investment in my community. I’m honored by it. I feel like it’s a good time and I feel like people are investing in our community and I’ll take it and run with it.