Why earn a doctorate in indigenous health?

Application Deadlines
Feb. 1

As a graduate of the only Indigenous Health doctoral program in the U.S. or Canada, you’ll be extremely qualified and well-positioned to provide insightful leadership on Indigenous health issues from the tribal to global level. UND’s on campus or online program with campus visits is perfect for professionals who’ve earned their Master of Public Health degree. It’s also well-suited for those with a master’s degree in Social Work, Public Policy or Public Administration.

In-Demand Indigenous Health Degree

  • The demand for expert administrators to coordinate the health needs of worldwide indigenous populations is at an all-time high. In fact, the United Nations has established a Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues — covering everything from health and education to social development and environment. The renowned World Health Organization also requires professionals with similar strengths.
  • In the United States alone, there are 573 federally recognized tribes — all with their own combination of health departments and programs that require well-trained, knowledgeable administrators, researchers, evaluators and managers. The nation’s Indian Health Service (IHS) covers epidemiology research and comprehensive health services at its headquarters and 12 more divisions spread across the country.
  • Together, the IHS and tribes operate more than 150 hospitals and clinics, creating a large demand for well-coordinated and culturally appropriate public health programming, research and policy development. With such an enormous scope, experts in resource development also are in high demand.

Two Indigenous Health Ph.D. Tracks

Choose either the academic or applied track — the first for those who want to lead at a university, and the second for those seeking careers within Indigenous communities.

Indigenous Health Ph.D. at UND

  • The Indigenous scholars at UND are unprecedented in their education, years of experience, scholarship and diversity. They include Donald Warne, M.D., M.P.H. (Oglala Lakota), Siobhan Wescott, M.D., M.P.H. (Athabascan), Melanie Nadeau, Ph.D., M.P.H. (Ojibwe), Nicole Redvers, N.D., M.P.H.c. (Dene) and Ursula Running Bear, Ph.D., M.A. (Sicangu Lakota). 

  • Students must complete a dissertation or portfolio. UND anticipates all will have publish-ready material, and our dedicated faculty will help students find opportunities to present their work at national and international conferences. You also can grow your network by joining the American Indian Science & Engineering Society and collaborate with numerous tribal colleges and programs across the nation. You might even choose to study abroad with partnering universities in Norway, Canada, Australia or New Zealand.

  • Students can live anywhere while they earn their doctorate. Curriculum is available online with interactive video and requires weeklong on-site sessions just twice a year.

Indigenous Health Careers 


Average annual salary for university or tribal college faculty

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Average annual salary for health researchers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

This program prepares graduates for a wide range of careers:

  • Health researcher
  • Health program evaluator
  • Health policy analyst
  • University or tribal college faculty
  • Tribal health director
  • Health program administrator
  • Indigenous health consultant
  • Nonprofit administrator
  • Public health officer

Indigenous Health Courses


World's First Indigenous Health Program

Become a forward-thinking, culturally aware expert

Gain a deeper understanding of the unique health issues facing Indigenous populations.