RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM

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Native American Budget and Policy Institute

The Native American Budget and Policy Institute (the Institute) will seek to empower Native American children, families, and communities to create systematic change to improve their health, education, and economic well-being. The Institute will conduct research, budget and policy analysis, social justice advocacy, litigation, and community lawyering to empower Native American communities in New Mexico and the wider region.

The Institute is a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Center for Health Policy at UNM and the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and funded, in part, by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Institute is an outgrowth of the work and ideas of the Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School. The Institute will work in cooperation with the Native American scholars and resources available at the University of New Mexico, with tribal elders, as well as utilize the expertise of RWJF and the Center.

The Institute will respond to requests from tribal communities for research support and will coordinate research activities across the state and nationally to enhance collective efforts to create healthier and self-determined Native American communities through improved public policy decisions at all levels of government.

The Institute will assist in accessing much needed funding for Native American communities in New Mexico and provide policy makers with data-informed recommendations. We will also engage young Native American researchers in our projects.

The first actions the Institute will take will be to develop the initial leadership structure and to develop a strategic plan through a Native American lens with direction from its Governance Council. The vision, goals, and priorities will lay the foundation for an unprecedented collaborative pathway to racial equity.

WKKF has awarded the Regents of UNM a grant of $1.5 million funding the Institute for a period of five years. Dr. Gabriel R. Sanchez, RWJF Center for Health Policy Executive Director, serves as the Principal Investigator of the grant.