National Institutes of Health


What is your agency’s mission and how does supporting research in the Arctic advance that mission?

NIH’s mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability for persons in the US and globally, including those in Alaska and other Arctic environments. 

Although health and survival of Arctic Indigenous peoples have improved over the past 50 years, important disparities remain in life expectancy, infant mortality, and leading causes of death when compared with their respective national populations. Life expectancy of the Indigenous peoples of Alaska, northern Canada, and Greenland is lower than that of the general populations of the United States, Canada, and Nordic countries. Similarly, infant mortality among Indigenous segments of those populations is higher than that of the comparable national populations. Meanwhile, mortality rates for heart disease and cancer—once much lower among the Indigenous populations of the United States, Canada, and northern European countries—now mirror their respective national rates. In addition, Indigenous populations of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland have higher mortality rates for unintentional injury and suicide believed to result from a complex disorder of depression, alcoholism, child abuse, and other substance abuse (Levintova et al. 2010). Other health concerns of those groups include a high prevalence of infectious diseases such as hepatitis B and C, Helicobacter pylori, infant respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as heath impacts associated with exposures to environmental pollutants, rapid economic change and modernization, and climate change (Young and Bjerregaard 2008).

Where would one go to find out what research is being funded by your agency in the Arctic?

There is no consolidated information for the Arctic, but all NIH supported projects can be queried using the NIH RePORT tool.

Where would one go to read about scientific research results from your agency?

You can search for publications associated with NIH-supported projects with the NIH RePORT tool. You can also browse publications related to Alaska NIH-funded awards and Arctic NIH-funded awards.

In terms of budget, approximately how big is your agency’s investment in Arctic research?

There is no consolidated information for the Arctic.

What are your agency’s funding priorities over the next 2 years?

NIH’s research priorities are summarized in its strategic planNIH’s annual budget, its history of appropriations, and its congressional justifications are also available.

How does your agency coordinate and collaborate with other agencies to advance your mission in the Arctic?

NIH provides funding based on applications reviewed as the highest merit. We emphasize a bottoms-up approach to promote the best ideas and scientific discovery while also engaging in strategic partnerships to advance the mission and goals of NIH

Activities in Alaska

Does your agency have office(s) in Alaska?


Does that office support research?


Where can one go to learn more about your agency’s presence in Alaska?



Dr. Dorothy Castille
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities