Sanford Researchers among Recipients of a Multi-Million Dollar Grant to Help American Indians

(Sioux Falls, SD) – Sanford Health announced today a more than $7 million grant to help address health disparities among American Indians. The grant will help establish a National Center for Minority Health Disparities (NCMHD) Exploratory Center of Excellence.

(Sioux Falls, SD) – Sanford Health announced today a more than $7 million grant to help address health disparities among American Indians. The grant will help establish a National Center for Minority Health Disparities (NCMHD) Exploratory Center of Excellence. The five-year award totaling $7,162,047 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is a collaborative grant with the University of South Dakota and the Sanford Research/USD Health Disparities Research Center. This award is a renewal of a five-year program project lead by Amy Elliott, PhD. Collaborative partners for this project include the University of South Dakota, Sanford Health, the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairman’s Health Board and Sinte Gleska University.

“We are proud that the Department of Health and Human Services is recognizing the great work Sanford Research is doing to improve the lives of our Native American population,” said David Pearce, PhD, Vice President, Sanford Research in Sioux Falls.

This grant will create infrastructure and unite resources to conduct health disparities research, provide educational opportunities for Native American students and increase the dissemination and utilization of scientific and health information relevant to health diversity population.

“Renewal of this grant allows us to continue to expand the numerous partnerships and projects initiated five years ago. Oftentimes, grant-funded initiatives receive only three to five years of funding. Having the National Institutes of Health support this work for ten years of funding allows for greater impact and outcomes from our collaborative efforts,” said Dr. Elliott.

The more than $7 million grant will help support the following research initiatives:

  • Recruiting American Indian Students to pursue careers as health research professionals
  • Increasing awareness of health disparities among American Indians, health professionals and the public
  • Developing programs to address critical health issues such as obesity among American Indian children
  • Conducting a significant study on a treatment for urinary incontinence in American Indian women
  • Evaluating a model for promoting best practices to women of reproductive age to increase healthy births

“Sanford Urogynecology and Female Pelvic Medicine is proud to lead a team of investigators studying new ways to treat urinary incontinence in Native American women of the Northern Plains,” said Michael Fiegen, MD of Sanford Clinic Urogynecology & Female Pelvic Medicine.

The first phase of the study investigates the incidence and prevalence of lower urinary tract symptoms in Native American females. The second phase of the study will stratify treatment of urinary incontinence into three groups. Depending on symptoms, patients will be treated with surgery, medications or physical therapy. The surgical arm of this trial will be first to utilize an office based surgical therapy for stress urinary incontinence. When successful, this will change the paradigm for treatment of stress incontinence worldwide.

“We look forward to helping a very deserving and underserved group of patients and are excited to improve the health of Native Americans,” said Kevin Benson, MD of Sanford Clinic Urogynecology & Female Pelvic Medicine.