Native Center for Behavioral Health: Overview of services resource kit

Pictured: The Native Center for Behavioral Health is located within the University of Iowa College of Public Health.(Photo: University of Iowa College of Public Health)

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NCBH has programs to assist behavioral health providers understand and implement the Native American & Alaska Native cultural component when providing services

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Native Center for Behavioral Health

The Native Center for Behavioral Health (NCBH) is a research center located within the University of Iowa College of Public Health. They have developed behavioral health programs to assist behavioral health providers understand and implement the Native American & Alaska Native cultural component when providing services. They have the following transfer programs:

  • ATTC-areas of addiction,
  • MHTTC-mental health,
  • PTTC-prevention,
  • TOR TA-Tribal Opioid Response technical assistance, and
  • MHTTC Supplement for K-12 mental health services. 

Their mission is to “serve subject-matter experts on culturally informed prevention practices, addiction treatment, recovery, mental health services, and support behavioral health professionals” by using evidence and experiential based methods. Services include trainings on curriculum, distance learning, newsletter, and specialty services. Trainings include:

  • Native American Curriculum
  • Alcohol and Drug Exam Review Training
  • Problem Gambling
  • The Spirit of Communication: Motivational Interviewing and American Indian Teachings
  • Ethics
  • DSM-5 Training.
  • Other resources:
  • Distance learning includes webinars on Essential Substance Abuse Skills, Mental Health Topics for Native American, Native American & Alaskan Native Behavioral Health, and Prevention for Native American & Alaskan Native.
  • Quarterly newsletter
  • Leadership academy
  • Spiritualty Round Table and Behavioral Health annual symposium, and Dr. Duane Mackey “Waktaya Naji” Award.
  • Products are for sale including publications. 

Below are examples of two methods and curriculum used in providing services from the Native Center for Behavioral Health.

Healing the Returning Warrior Module

This module entitled “Healing the Returning Warrior” is presented by Sean Bear and Ray Daw from the Native Center for Behavioral Health. This module’s target audience is behavioral health providers who treat American Indians/Alaskan Natives (AI/AN) Veterans who present with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The focus of this is to use a Native trauma approach in prevention, intervention, and treatment services. This module will cover several components including the following: history of Native American & Alaska Native warfare and military with an emphasis in cultured trauma, historical trauma, intergenerational trauma, and present trauma; history of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; and historical trauma and unresolved grief (HTUG). This module’s focus is to expose the participants to traditional cultural knowledge and healing practices and will also discuss secondary trauma and compassion fatigue for providers with work with Native American & Alaska Native Veterans and their families. This module is an in-person training.

Native Spiritual Round Table: Cultural Inclusion into Mental Health Assessments Training

This webinar entitled “Native Spiritual Round Table: Cultural Inclusion into Mental Health Assessments” is presented by Sean Bear and Ray Daw from the Native Center for Behavioral Health. This webinar’s target audience is behavioral health providers who treat American Indian/Alaskan Natives who present with behavioral health disorders. The focus of this webinar is to incorporate Native American beliefs into mental health assessments and into the therapeutic process. The webinar covers the following topics: proper etiquette and discussing how to work with Tribes, differences in Tribes, respect, listening, and working with and around medicine people; the honor in hearing dialogues; split feather syndrome; the meaning of spirituality; Native American & Alaska Native as biologists due to extensive herbal knowledge; mental health assessments that are not culturally adapted assessments, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)not taking into account Indigenous cultural beliefs; the importance of cultural knowledge including how teachings are passed down to generation, ceremonial knowledge, and ceremonial teachings; acknowledgment of Native spiritual knowledge through healers using oral teachings and spiritual gifts; medicine and spiritual gifts given to the people to nourish and control; lastly case studies are used to engage participate interactive interaction in a round table discussion using a Euro-diagnosis versus Native-diagnosis approach. 

Additional resources for the Native Center for Behavioral Health is available at:

Contact information

Comments (2)
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