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Natives Engaged in Alzheimer's Research

Natives Engaged in Alzheimer’s Research (NEAR) is a National Institute on Aging-funded project which seeks to expand treatment and research on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander groups. NEAR aims to address a gap in public health research by leveraging scientific resources across a network of community and academic partnerships.

The project is being led by Dr. Dedra Buchwald from the Institute for Research and Education to Advance Community Health (IREACH) at Washington State, Dr. James Galvin from the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health University of Miami, and Dr. John S.K. Kauwe, professor of Biology at BYU and President of BYU–Hawaii.

NEAR brings together 11 tribes, six academic and research institutions, seven urban Indian organizations and five Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander community organizations. It will also engage a nationwide network of eight Satellite Centers directed by researchers who are members of these communities.

As part of the project, Dr. Kauwe, along with BYU professor Dr. Perry Ridge, will co-direct the program’s biorepository at BYU, where approximately 3,000 DNA samples received from various American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander individuals will be processed, stored and cataloged. The aim is to dramatically increase the meager repository of biospecimens from these communities available for dementia research.