Healthy Native Community Fellowship

Healthy Native Community Fellowship

Since 2005, the University of New Mexico Center for Participatory Research (UNM-CPR) has partnered with the non-profit organization Healthy Native Communities Partnership (HNCP – HNCP promotes community mobilization and civic engagement to reduce long standing inequities in Native communities based on the strengths of language, culture, tradition, and community wisdom by: 1) Supporting and strengthening sustainable grassroots community coalitions, 2) Promoting strengths-based community organizing strategies based on cultural renewal, 3) Collaborative leadership development, 4) Web-based technology to support community building, 5) Experiential learning and transformation.

For the past nine years UNM-CPR has supported HNCP in various capacities, specifically supporting the national Native leadership program Healthy Native Communities Fellowship (HNCF) through participatory evaluation. Through serving as the primary evaluators known as the Learning Team (with other external consultants), UNM-CPR has supported iterative curriculum development and quality improvement.

HNCF has emerged as one of the many programs that the Indian Health Service (I.H.S) promoted with their Health Promotion/Disease Prevention (HP/DP) initiative.   

HNCF is a year-long evidence-based leadership and mentorship program, which develops and supports teams of community health activists and leaders to organize creative wellness strategies in Native communities and organizations. Native Teams from across the country gather three times a year for intensive learning that is hands-on, collaborative and grounded in Native cultural and spiritual teachings. 

The Learning Team uses a “participatory evaluation” framework to co-create the design, participates in data collection, and applies analysis of learnings to support quality improvement of HNCF curriculum and overall program changes. Working with principles of community-based participatory research (CBPR), the learning team has supported internal evaluation capacity building among the HNCF staff so that new directions for the program, including evaluation methods, are grounded in mutual decision-making.


Publications include:

Jones, M. , Rae, R., Frazier, S., Maltrud, K., Varela, F., Percy, C., Wallerstein, N. Healthy Native Communities Fellowship: Advancing Leadership for Community Changes in Health, Indian Health Service Provider, Dec, 2010, 279-284.  (include url)

Jones, M., Frazier, S., Percy, C., Stowell, J., Maltrud, K., Wallerstein, N., Using Web-Based Tools to Build Capacity for CBPR: Two Case Studies of American Indian Leadership Development. , In M. Minkler & N.  Wallerstein (Eds.), Community Based Participatory Research For Health: Process to Outcomes, 2nd ed., San  Francisco: Jossey Bass, 2008, 171-182.

Through the partnership with HNCP, the Learning Team was contracted in 2013 to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the “Reach” and “Effectiveness” of seven I.H.S HP/DP Programs from 2006-2012.  The Learning Team utilized the RE-AIM framework ( to conduct the evaluation. See url for executive summary.