The federal government has awarded the Center for Rural Health at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences a five-year, $3.5 million grant to be a Center of Excellence in Native Behavioral Health.

The new Seven Generations Center of Excellence will recruit, mentor and retain promising American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian students who have an interest in becoming mental health professionals. The funding was awarded through the Health Resources and Services Administration's Bureau of Health Professions.

"The new center will serve to plug the leaks in the workforce pipeline," says psychologist Jacque Gray, PhD, who will direct and be the principal investigator for the Seven Generations Center. "We have been losing excellent Native American students through discouragement, lack of funding and the shortage of specialized training in ethical work with Native American communities," she says.