Training Program


Margaret Briehl, UACC
Dirk de Heer, NAU

Training Program Coordinators


Tiffani Begay, MPH, UACC          Sheena Hale, NAU




2017 NACP SRI/G-STEP students: (L to R) Lyle Becenti, Roslyn Curry, Adam Fernandez, & Kristen Tallis (photos by Summitt Photography)

2017 NACP/UBRP students: (L to R) Meucci Ilunga, Thane Rosette, Leonard Seanez, Nancy Pham, Roxanne Vann & Gabriel Kellogg




Native Americans are the most underrepresented racial/ethnic group among physicians and scientists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one cause of death among Native Americans is cancer. This is in contrast to the majority population for which heart disease is the number one killer. Arizona has 21 federally recognized tribes and Native Americans back up 5% of the population.  Thus the state’s universities are ideally positioned to train a greater number of Native Americans for biomedical careers. It is anticipated that this can be an effective approach to addressing cancer health disparities in Native American communities.


  • Mentor Native American students to succeed in their undergraduate studies and expose them to hands-on research and Native American role models.
  • Provide activities to successfully transition Native American undergraduate students into advanced degree programs which will train them to address cancer health disparities in their communities.
  • Mentor NACP junior faculty and provide cultural competency training in partnership with the Outreach Core for all NACP faculty and staff.

Training Activities

NACP training activities include: 1) summer programs to transition students from high schools or community colleges to the university; 2) mentored projects with investigators conducting cancer-related research; 3) summer internships at other institutions; 4) development of an individualized career plan; 5) attendance at national meetings focused on health research in Native American communities; 6) mentoring sessions with Native American researchers as role models; and 7) a graduate programs primer that provides guidance on applying for post-baccalaureate degree programs.

Build Research Experience
  • UA - Summer Research Institute/Graduate Summer Transitional Enrichment Program (SRI/GSTEP) is a partnership with the Undergraduate Research Opportunites Consortium.  This is a ten-week full-time training program that provides Native American students with additional experiences to help ensure their successful transition to advanced degree programs.  The students learn to develop their investigative capacity in cancer disparity research by conducting research and preparing for graduate studies.  Application opens October 1st.
    • Summer 2019: June -August 
    • APPLICATION DEADLINE: February 1st        CLICK HERE to apply
  • UA - NACP/UBRP is a collaboration with the University of Arizona's Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP). The summer research opportunity is offered to six University of Arizona Native American undergraduates.  Participants work 35 hours per week for 12 weeks in the summer on a mentored research project.  To view NACP mentors, benefits and eligibility click here.  Application opens October 1st.

    • Summer 2019: May-August
    • Application DEADLINE: February 1st           CLICK HERE to apply
  • NAU - Intro to Research aims to support four Native American first and second-year college students or first-year tribal/community college students with an introduction to the field of cancer-related research with the goal to transition them into a higher level of research.

  • NAU - Research aims to support four students to improve their preparation and training for biomedical and behavioral sciences at the PhD level. This includes continuation of research and exposure to cancer-related careers.
Exposure to Careers in Cancer Research
  • Graduate Programs Primer (GPP) - A mini-conference at the UA to provide students in NACP about UA graduate programs in biomedical and cancer research. This includes faculty and UA staff presenting on a variety of topics from admissions to financial aid as well as students touring laboratories and other related facilities, held in conjunction with the Undergraduate Biology Research Program poster session in January.  During the conference, students speak with representatives fro post-baccalaureate degree programs. 

  • Native American Scientist Role Models- To provide Native American cancer research exposure to students within NACP through scientific seminars at UA and NAU. This program also offers the opportunity for students to attend and present at other National research-related conferences.

Professional Development
  • Individual Development Plans (IDP) are created with each student to help in the transition from undergraduate to graduate and professional programs.

    • UA - offers this as a course, MCB396K.

  • Mentor NACP junior faculty and provide cultural competency training in partnership with the Outreach Core for all NACP faculty and staff. 


For more information on NACP's Training Program, please e-mail Margaret Briehl at or Tiffani Begay at  Hendrik De Heer at or Sheena Hale at