Jacque Gray, Ph.D., research associate professor in the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, recently received the Excellence in Training Award from the Native Research Network. In bestowing the award at its 2012 National Conference, the NRN cited Gray’s demonstrated excellence in developing programs to recruit, retain and train Native American investigators to engage in Native health research. Gray joins an august group of Native American researchers who have received the award.
The NRN was established in 1997 to provide an informal, proactive network of American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Canadian Aboriginal persons who promote and advocate for high quality research that is collaborative, supportive, builds capacity and promotes an environment for research that operates on the principles of integrity, respect, trust, ethics, cooperation and open communication in multidisciplinary fields.
“As the visionary founder and current leader of the Native Health Research Team, Dr. Gray was relentless in bringing her vision to fruition after 30 years of working with tribes throughout Indian Country,” said Wendy Peters, Ph.D., in her nominating letter. Peters is a clinical assistant professor at the UND SMHS and a member of the Native Health Research Team.
Gray mentors over 20 Native students in their research in Indian Country by leading the Native Health Research Team at the Center for Rural Health. Their work has garnered research awards from the American Psychological Association. For the past five years, the North Dakota IDeA (Institutional Development Award) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program has supported the Native Health Research Team and the mentoring Gray has done with students. ND INBRE is supported through the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health.
Gray is nationally recognized for her work in investigating mood disorders, preventing suicide and promoting ethical research among Native American populations. She is of Choctaw and Cherokee descent. Earlier this month, Gray was named director and principal investigator for the new Seven Generations Center of Excellence in Native Behavioral Health at UND. The center was established through a $3.5 million grant from the federal government. Its purpose will be to recruit, mentor and retain promising American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian students who have an interest in becoming mental health professionals.
“From undergraduates to post-docs and faculty mentoring,” Peters said, “Dr. Gray has worked tirelessly to provide leadership, mentoring, nurturing and literal sustenance to all the Natives at the University of North Dakota.”
Denis MacLeod, assistant director, Office of Alumni and Community Relations
UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences