Your hard work can close the gap in disease disparities for diverse populations.
The University of North Dakota's doctoral degree in Indigenous Health — the first
of its kind in the United States or Canada — will give you a deeper understanding
of the unique health issues facing Indigenous populations. With its evidence-based
approach to public health, the program prepares you to join the elite group of forward-thinking,
culturally aware experts who are setting new standards in the fight against Indigenous
disease disparities worldwide.
On Campus or Online
Est. time to complete:
Why earn a doctorate in indigenous health?
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
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
Indigenous Health Careers
Average annual salary for university or tribal college faculty
This program prepares graduates for a wide range of careers:
Health program evaluator
Health policy analyst
University or tribal college faculty
Tribal health director
Health program administrator
Indigenous health consultant
Public health officer
Indigenous Health Courses
PH 781. Principles of Indigenous Health-1. 3 Credits.
This is a three-credit hour course designed to provide students with a critical understanding of determinants of Indigenous health and health disparities. In this course we will define Indigenous populations, histories, cultures, societies, traditional healing systems, food sources, patterns and impact of colonization, and health disparities. We will address historical and ongoing traumas associated with colonization and colonialism, understanding Indigenous concepts of health and healing, and ways of moving toward health equity. Populations we will assess include American Indian/Alaska Native, First Nations, Inuit, Sami, Aboriginal Australian, Maori, Ainu, and Pacific Islanders. Prerequisite: Admission into the Indigenous Health PhD or prior approval from the instructor. F.
PH 765. Indigenous Research Methods. 3 Credits.
The goal of this course is to introduce the use of Indigenous Research Methods and case studies from around the world to demonstrate the specific methodologies that are appropriate for the transformative paradigm of research and the historical and cultural traditions of Indigenous populations. This course is a culminating course in the PhD curriculum and will provide preparation for dissertation and portfolio development. Prerequisites: Successful completion of PH 762 and PH 763 or prior approval from instructor, CITI Human Subjects & ethics training completed. SS.
Building upon the CDC Public Health Program Evaluation model, Indigenous communities can take ownership of the evaluation process and be cognizant of and responsive to traditional values and culture. This class will focus primarily on Indigenous public health evaluation principles utilizing the American Indian Higher Education Consortium's Indigenous Evaluation Framework. (https://evaluationcanada.ca/secure/23-2-013.pdf) The Indigenous Evaluation Framework utilizes both qualitative and quantitative methods, measuring experiences over time, and looks at what Indigenous communities have done and are doing from multiple perspectives including individual and communal experiences. The Indigenous evaluation process will be guided by key principles in the framework. American Indians have ways of assessing merit or worth based on traditional values and cultural expressions. This knowledge should inform how evaluation is conducted and used in our communities; Indigenous framing for evaluation incorporates broadly held values while remaining flexible and responsive to local traditions and cultures; Responsive evaluation uses practices and methods from the field of evaluation that fit our needs and conditions; By defining evaluation, its meaning, practice, and usefulness in our own terms, we take ownership. We are not merely responding to the requirements imposed by Western practices; Evaluation should respect and serve tribal goals for self-determination and sovereignty; and Evaluation is an opportunity for learning from our programs and effectively using information to create strong, viable tribal communities. Prerequisites: Admission into Indigenous Health PhD Program, completion of PH 760 Public Health Program Evaluation, or prior approval from instructor. F.
PH 784. Indigenous Health Policy. 3 Credits.
In this course, we will describe Indigenous health disparities, health systems, and policies in terms of their impact on Indigenous health internationally. We will focus on how national health systems engage, or do not engage, Indigenous peoples, as well as analyzing how health policy has an impact on Indigenous health status. The course is divided into Modules to assess specific nations' health systems and Indigenous health disparities as well as promising practices in Indigenous health policy. Prerequisite: Admission into Indigenous Health PhD Program, completion of PH 583 or 783, or prior approval from instructor. S.
Indigenous peoples and communities need to be at the heart of the leadership framework, including: Social innovation, research and policy development; Land, culture, arts and language are vital for healthy communities and economies Indigenous self-determination for a mutually beneficial relationship among populations; and Indigenous values, including humility, as a basis for Indigenous leadership practice. In this course students will examine leadership, organizational and change theory, and the skills required to lead Indigenous health agencies and community-based organizations in the context of changing demographics and increasing diversity. As society becomes increasingly globalized and diverse, there is a growing need for state/provincial, federal/national and international awareness in organizations regarding the impact that diverse perspectives have on leadership practice. Prerequisite: Admission into Indigenous Health PhD Program or prior approval from instructor. F.
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.
Explore More Options
Check out the faculty you'll work with at UND or discover additional education opportunities.