University of South Florida, FL

Executive Summary

Indigenous Studies Field School for Global Exchange in Northeast India: Fostering Educational and Public Health Initiatives

There are more than 300 million indigenous people worldwide. About one-third of them live in India. Indigenous people are a marginalized group and experience severe health disparities. Response to their health problems depends upon our ability to recognize the social determinants of health (e.g., access to services, culture). However, little is known about the social determinants of indigenous people’s health in India and worldwide. To address this need, the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa, Florida, USA, and Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) in Arunachal Pradesh, India, and RIWATCH, a community-based research organization in Arunachal Pradesh, will establish a unique Indigenous Studies Field School for Global Exchange in Northeast India in Arunachal Pradesh, India to develop among USF and RGU students in public health and social/behavioural disciplines, innovative cultural resource knowledge and field research skills that will prepare them to study the status and social determinants of indigenous people’s health. In addition to in-class training, students will engage with indigenous people and develop field research projects in collaboration with them (that is, a Community-based Participatory Research approach will be used). In the long-run, the proposed Field School will increase the number of indigenous health researchers in India and USA. In addition, it will lead to sustainable partnerships between USF-RGURIWATCH and indigenous people to conduct research that will inform development of relevant public health initiatives, to submit cutting-edge research proposals to funding agencies, and to ultimately improve the lives of indigenous people.