Studies about kidney disease in the United States have historically left out Native Americans, but a pair of researchers at the University of New Mexico have won a $3.5 million grant that they hope will make way for more equity in health care research.
Raj Shah has studied kidney disease among Native Americans in New Mexico for 25 years. The funding from the National Institutes of Health will help expand that research to Native Americans across the entire southwest.
“This is a very innovative kind of way that we can address some of these issues from Native communities,” he said.
Native Americans have higher rates of fatal kidney disease than people of other races, but the reasons for this aren’t very well understood.
The five-year grant will support Shah and fellow UNM researcher Mark Unruh as they study the cause of these disparities. They’re working with partners including First Nations Community Healthsource in Albuquerque and Zuni Pueblo.
Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.