American Indian Public Health

Beginning Fall 2020, we will be restructuring our MPH Program and suspending admissions to new students into the specialized American Indian Public Health track. Students are encouraged to apply to one of our other concentrations, which provide training in leadership and other skills that are crucial for working in American Indian communities.


NDSU offers the only Master of Public Health program in the nation specifically designed to prepare graduates to work with American Indian populations and to improve Native health.

The American Indian population suffers from among the worst public health disparities in the nation. In the Northern Plains, including North Dakota, the Native population has the highest rates of death due to diabetes, cancer, infant mortality, unintentional injuries and suicide. Risk factors and social causes of the disparities include high rates of smoking, substance abuse, poverty, poor nutrition, historical trauma and other circumstances.

In addition, unique American Indian health policy considerations, along with the federal government’s trust responsibility to provide health services, are often misunderstood among many public health leaders. The National Indian Health Board passed Resolution 13 – 02 declaring support for the American Indian Public Health Track at NDSU.  

Students will take the required foundational Master of Public Health courses, including Biostatistics, Epidemiology, Public Health Management and Policy, Environmental Health, Community Health Leadership, and Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health. In addition, students will be required to complete the Master of Public Health practicum and a master’s paper—each focused on American Indian Public Health. The 18-credit specialization curriculum is described below.


  • PH 771: American Indian Health Policy, 3 credits
  • PH 772: American Indian Health Equity, 3 credits
  • PH 773: Cultural and Social Determinants in Indian Health, 3 credits
  • PH 774: Research Issues in Tribal Communities, 3 credits

Elective Courses

Choose 6 credits from the list of courses on the Program Electives page.

 American Indian Public Health Faculty
American Indian Public Health Competencies and Course Matrix
 Specialization Competencies
 AIPH 1. Analyze key comparative health indicators for American Indians.xx
 AIPH 2. Describe American Indian health in historical context and analyze the impact of colonial processes on health
 AIPH 3. Describe the unique challenges in implementing the 10 Essential Public Health Services in tribal communities.xxxx
 AIPH 4. Critically evaluate public health policy, research, and programs for their impact on American Indian populations.xx
 AIPH 5. Describe health equity in the context of American Indian public healthxxx
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