First NIH-funded Post-Doc to Join the Institute

Brady Garrett, Ph.D, a counseling psychologist intern with Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health in Tahlequah, Okla., has received the first NIH-funded post-doctoral position with the Department of Health Outcomes and Policy and Institute for Child Health Policy.

“I’m very excited, and extremely fortunate to have received this wonderful opportunity,” said Garrett, who is a tribal citizen of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation. “I hope to learn the skills needed to become a multiculturally competent researcher. I’m looking forward to working closely with the mentors from UF and Cherokee Nation to accomplish this goal.”

During his post-doctoral position, Garrett will receive additional training in epidemiologic and biostatistics methods, specifically focusing on alcohol prevention research among American Indian populations and will have opportunities to present at national conferences and to lead and co-author articles. This training will prepare him to conduct research aimed at reducing alcohol-related health disparities in tribal communities, which is a significant problem due to the fact that American Indians are 552 percent more likely to die from alcoholism.

Garrett recently completed his doctoral training at New Mexico State University in counseling psychology, and his dissertation explored how to create a normative sample of Cherokee responses to a commonly used personality inventory, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. His goal was to prevent this widely used psychological assessment from pathologizing American Indian culture and thereby leading to culturally inaccurate interpretations of the results and potential misallocations of behavioral health resources in this underserved population. Garrett hopes to build upon this work by strengthening his research capabilities to independently conduct research designed to address long-standing problems known to negatively impact American Indians, such as alcohol-related problems, and to serve his tribal community as a research scientist in alcohol epidemiology, prevention and implementation science.

“We are incredibly excited about our partnership with Brady, who will play an integral role in our work with the Cherokee Nation,” said Kelli Komro, Ph.D., who will be Garrett’s primary scientific mentor along with Mildred Maldonado-Molina, Ph.D. “The department has strengths in study design and research methods that Brady can take back to his community to continue to conduct rigorous research after our project has ended.”

Doug Livingston, Ph.D., will mentor Garrett in data management and statistical methods, and Misty Boyd, Ph.D., of the Cherokee Nation, and Lisa J. Merlo, Ph.D., with UF’s Department of Psychiatry, will mentor him in psychology, particular interventions currently being used in the Cherokee Nation and clinical implementation methods.

Garrett’s post-doctoral appointment began July 25. He will remain employed at Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health while he works on the longitudinal data set regarding alcohol use among adolescents that is part of the post-doctoral parent grant from the NIH, Prevention Trial in the Cherokee Nation: Interactive Effects of Environment and SBIRT. Specifically, Garrett will investigate whether cultural identity is significantly related to depression and alcohol use among Native American youth, incorporate these findings into the planned intervention and examine whether cultural identity moderates the intervention’s effectiveness.

“This remarkable opportunity to receive training in prevention and implementation science will afford me the chance to apply this knowledge to my tribal community,” Garrett said. “That is very meaningful to me.”