Registration for the 2024 Summer Institute is now open!

Upcoming Institute Courses

About Institute Courses

The Johns Hopkins Center for Indigenous Health conducts two to three week-long courses in AI/AN public health every summer (June/July) and winter (January). The courses are part of the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Summer and Winter Institute Programs.

Courses are designed to introduce Indigenous health leaders to public health approaches for addressing health disparities in tribal communities. Because Institute scholars may be assessing community health care priorities from a variety of educational or professional backgrounds, we offer our courses on a for-credit or non-credit basis. Contingent on current funding, a limited number of scholarships are available to financially assist with costs involved with attending a course.

The CIH Summer/Winter Institute Scholarship covers the following costs: travel to and from Baltimore, hotel accommodation in a room shared with another Native student, course materials including books, and full credit tuition for one 5-day course. A Bachelor’s degree is required, with a minimum GPA of 2.75.

General Information

Public Health Training Certificate

All eight winter and summer Institute courses comprise an 18-credit, graduate-level certificate that equips scholars with skills to address health issues in tribal communities through multidisciplinary public health approaches and culturally relevant strategies.

The certificate can be taken for credit or non-credit, making it accessible to those with or without a former collegiate degree. Students come from diverse backgrounds and commonly have work experience in Native communities and a passion for promoting wellbeing.

  • Public Health Training Certificate in American Indian Health
    Students applying for the Certificate Program for credit must apply directly with the school via SOPHAS Express. Students must have successfully completed a Bachelors degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher prior to applying. All courses in the Program must be taken for credit. Once accepted into the Program, students must complete all coursework within three years. Please note that academic credits expire after 5 years.
  • Award of Proficiency in American Indian Public Health
    The Center also offers an Award of Proficiency in American Indian Public Health for non-credit, making it accessible to those with or without a former collegiate degree.  Apply for the Award of Proficiency.

All Courses

Indigenous Harm Reduction course [Pending CAS approval]

Course: 224.631

Credits: 2

This course explores the roots of addiction in Indigenous communities, and the strengths-based approaches that support positive change and honor community-based approaches to addressing the issue of increased substance use and overdose in Indigenous communities. In this course, you will have the opportunity to hear from Indigenous leaders in this field, including frontline workers, people with lived/living experience, youth, Elders and academics. Learning objectives include: Evaluate perspectives on addiction and how they apply to Indigenous experiences; Articulate the impacts of colonization on addiction, increased substance use and overdose in Indigenous communities; Examine system of prohibition and it’s role in creating increased risk of overdose; Explore Indigenous harm reduction perspectives, approaches and programming.

Indigenous Perspectives on Environmental Health (Hybrid)

Course: 224.612

Credits: 2

Examines real-world examples and approaches to environmental health issues in Indigenous communities and presents challenges for implementing Indigenous-centered approaches to address current issues. Discusses the role and influence of Tribal and federal policy on Indigenous environmental challenges. Identifies appropriate frameworks and approaches used by Indigenous communities to address environmental challenges. Analyzes the current understanding of the relationship between the environment and Indigenous health approaches. Applies Indigenous-based frameworks from this course to address environmental health challenges facing Indigenous communities.

Using Mass Media for Health Promotion in American Indian Communities *Not currently offered

Credits: 2

Media specialists from the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health have designed this course to train students in developing a mass media campaign directed at health promotion within tribal communities. During the course, students will be introduced to the basics of how to develop a media campaign, including community needs assessment, developing “change targets” for messages, analysis of best media outlets for high exposure and cost containment within AI/AN communities, the ABCs of media production, and using social media. Students will acquire skills to target media campaigns to address identified health needs, understand elements of successful Public Service Announcements (PSAs) across various media types, and gain techniques and skills to produce radio and digital PSAs to educate the public on the area of health concern identified in the needs assessment.

Prevention of Unintentional Injuries in American Indian Communities

Course: 221.664

Credits: 2

Offered: Online

Injuries are the leading cause of death for American Indians ages 1-44 and the third leading cause of death overall. This 5-day day learning opportunity will explore the unique injury patterns experienced by American Indian communities and teach students how to design, implement and evaluate injury prevention initiatives in their community. Throughout the course, students will work to develop basic knowledge and skills relating to all core competencies of injury prevention. Although some competencies will be addressed in greater detail than others, students will be given as many opportunities as possible, within the constraints of the 5-day training, to practice these skills. Practical application sessions will provide hands-on, facilitated, skills-development experience.

Introduction to American Indian Health Research Ethics (online)

Course: 221.666

Credits: 2

The objective of this course is to increase participants’ awareness of and ability to reason through ethical issues that arise relating to human subjects research in American Indian communities. This course explores the unique ethical principles and regulatory requirements related to conducting research in Indian communities. Special attention is given to historical and cultural considerations pertaining to health research within tribal nations.

Early Childhood Research in Tribal Communities (online)

Course: 221.665

Credits: 2

American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) communities possess tremendous cultural strengths and supports to promote positive parenting and optimal early child development. At the same time, many AIAN communities grapple with historical trauma and related modern economic, health, and social disparities that can place young children’s development at risk. AIAN and affiliated scholars seek knowledge about early childhood developmental processes, program and service strategies and best practices, and appropriate research and evaluation approaches to measure developmental influences and document early childhood program impacts.

This course will provide: 1) Provide foundational knowledge from Indigenous and western perspectives about why early childhood is a key developmental growth period; 2) Provide information on how appropriate research approaches can be leveraged to support early childhood efforts; and, 3) Examine unique aspects of AIAN research, culture and values that inform our understanding of early childhood development.

Community Based Participatory Research with Indigenous Peoples *Not currently offered

Credits: 2

Community based participatory research (CBPR) is a partnership approach to research that equitably involves academic researchers and community members in all steps of the research process, with all partners contributing their expertise. This course will focus on a research approach that facilitates the movement of Indigenous knowledge from the margins of research to the center. Students will gain knowledge in CBPR approaches and methods applying perspectives unique to Indigenous communities, where research is conducted by drawing on community strengths, advocating for change, and building trust, equity, and community control.

Collecting, Analyzing, and Using Public Health Data in American Indian Communities (Hybrid)

Course: 221.670

Credits: 3

An introduction for persons who might not have had previous formal training in epidemiology or biostatistics, but might be working to determine or to address tribal priorities for health care, or working/interested in, clinical research or public health within tribal communities. This course prepares students for the core epidemiology and biostatistics courses offered by the School of Public Health. Course participants will learn how to collect, analyze and use community data to address public health problems. Participants are asked to work on datasets from tribal communities to apply the principles taught.

American Indian Health Policy

Credits: 2

The purpose of the American Indian Health Policy course is to (1) introduce students to the concepts and tools used in health policy, (2) examine health issues facing American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities, and (3) practice the application of rational decision making models to analyze various policy alternatives to address health concerns in Native communities. Special consideration is given to the historical relationship between Tribes and the U.S. federal government that underlies the delivery of health services to AI/ANs. The course focuses on introducing the skills necessary for students to be an effective policy analyst/policy advocate.

Mental Health in American Indian Communities

Course: 221.673

Credits: 2

This course focuses on the status, needs, availability, and outcomes for mental health treatment and services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Ways to improve services currently available and the need to promote wellness are among key issues stressed. The learning objectives of the course include: 1) to examine the complexities of mental health care for the American Indian and Alaska Native communities; 2) to identify high-need populations and assess the availability and quality of services available for those populations; and 3) to gain information on ways to help prevent mental illness and promote wellness among the communities studied.

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding the Health of American Indians

Course: 221.667

Credits: 3

An interdisciplinary approach is taken to understand different aspects of Indigenous health. The course will explore health and illness perceptions of Native American communities, and will consider approaches that are grounded in Traditional and Contemporary Indigenous Knowledge and supported by Western Research Methodology. Course participants will analyze key health issues from the perspective of Native communities, and through the lens of various public health disciplines such as epidemiology, mental health, environmental health, policy, and sociology. The over-arching emphasis of the course will be on serving Indigenous populations and empowering community-driven, culturally sensitive public health interventions.

Introduction to Data Management Using American Indian Health Data

Course: 221.672

Credits: 2

This is an introductory level course for students interested in the fundamental tools of public health research. This course focuses specifically on the principles of data management, including: development of data flow diagrams; development of data collection forms, data dictionaries, and related documentation; fundamentals of database design; methods of data capture; data validation and methods of quality assurance; and principles of data security. Students will work with American Indian Health data sets to apply skills learned throughout the course.

Introduction to Quantitative and Qualitative Research for American Indian Health

Course: 221.671

Credits: 2

The overarching goal of the course is to provide a basic overview of qualitative and quantitative research methods and the different applications of each to a variety of different public health interventions. Readings, lectures and labs explore different research methods and the process of selecting the appropriate method to design and implement a variety of public health interventions. Topics covered in the course include: focus groups, in-depth interviews, comparison designs, intervention designs, and randomized controlled trials. Students will work to gain a basic understanding of these research methods and apply them to existing projects on which they are working.

Course Schedule

Required Courses:

Course Name Number When Offered Credits
An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding the Health of American Indians 221.667 Winter every year 3
Collecting, Analyzing and Using Public Health Data in American Indian Communities 221.670 Summer of odd years 3
Introduction to American Indian Health Research Ethics 221.666 Summer of odd years 2

Electives: (Must take at least 10 credits)

Course Name Number When Offered Credits
Introduction to Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods 221.671 Summer of even years 2
Introduction to Data Management Using American Indian Health Data 221.672 Summer of even years 2
Mental Health Care and Delivery in American Indian Communities 221.673 Winter of odd years 2
Using Mass Media for Health Promotion in American Indian Communities 221.668 Winter of even years (usually–not offered in 2016) 2
Early Childhood Research in Tribal Communities 221.665 Summer of odd years 2
American Indian Health Policy 221.669.13 Winter of even years 2
Community Based Participatory Research with Indigenous Peoples 221.725 Not currently offered 2
Prevention of Unintentional Injuries in American Indian Communities 221.664.13 Winter of even years 2
COVID-19 & Infectious Disease Outbreaks in Native American Communities (note course topic subject to change to address emerging health topics) 221.668.11 Summer of odd years 2
Using Mass Media for Health Promotion in American Indian Communities 221.668 Winter of even years (usually–not offered in 2016) 2
Community Based Participatory Research with Indigenous Peoples 221.725 Not currently offered 2

Diversity Summer Internship Program

Undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds come for a 10-week internship with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The internship inspires many to consider careers in science, medicine, or public health. The Center awards at least 2 DSIP awards to Native scholars annually. Apply here.