Christopher Comer, Dean
Dr. Belcourt (Otter Woman) is an American Indian Assistant Professor in the College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Montana’s Pharmacy Practice and School of Public and Community Health Sciences Departments (enrolled tribal member of the Three Affiliated Tribes: affiliation Blackfeet, Chippewa, Mandan & Hidatsa). Raised on the Blackfeet reservation, she is an alumnus of Browning High School and the University of Montana. Her doctorate is in clinical psychology. Research and clinical priorities include mental health disparities, environmenal health, trauma, posttraumatic stress reactions, risk, resiliency, psychiatric disorder, and public health intervention within the cultural context of American Indian communities. Dr. Belcourt has conducted grant-funded collaborative research projects with Native communities at UM and during work at the University of Colorado Denver’s Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health. Publications have appeared in the American Journal of Public Health, Psychological Bulletin, American Psychologist, Educational and Psychological Measurement, and Transcultural Psychiatry.
B.A. University of Montana Psychology 1996
M.A. University of Montana Clinical Psychology 2003
Denver Veteran’s Affairs 2006 Medical Center Pre-Doctoral Internship
Ph.D University of Montana Clinical Psychology 2006
American Indian and Alaska Native health disparities research. Areas of focus: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; trauma; mental health; environmental health; community-engaged research; intervention and prevention.
Funded Grants and Contracts (completed)
Ford Foundation Diversity Dissertation Fellowship 06/05-05/06
The main goals of this project were the successful completion of data collection, analysis, as well as dissertation manuscript preparation and defense. This project involved the cross-sectional quantitative exploratory analysis of sociocultural factors hypothesized to be associated with resiliency to stressors and trauma within an American Indian community. Spirituality, enculturation, ethnic pride, adversarial or stress-related growth, emotional status, hope, social/communal support, as well as quality of life were variables of interest in this study.
Role: Principal Investigator
NIH-EXPORT Pilot Project
Adversarial Growth within American Indian Communities: Trauma and Recovery among Community College Samples
Pilot project investigated health disparities within mental health that may impact rates of suicide and mental health problems for American Indians. Specifically, this project investigated adversarial growth, trauma, grief, and resiliency within American Indian community college samples. Cross-sectional questionnaire surveys and focus groups were conducted within an American Indian community college. Cultural resiliency factors were associated with adversarial growth and adaptive recovery.
P60 MD000507-03 09/03-07/08
This project sought to increase both the extent of as well as subsequent capacity for health disparities research undertaken by American Indian investigators.
New Connections Initiative—Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 5/07-5/08
Psychiatric disorder and help-seeking in two American Indian reservation communities: Relationship to exposure to violence and sociocultural resources
Goals of these secondary data analyses were to extend our empirical understanding of the impact of exposure to traumatic events within two American Indian (AI) reservation communities. The study examined how sociocultural resources related to exposure to trauma, psychiatric disorder, and general psychological outcome variables such as life satisfaction and quality of life.
Role: Principal Investigator
R01 MH073965 07/07 – 06/09
Diversity Supplement to Sociocultural validity in the context of DSM comorbidity
Goals of the RO1 are to (1) develop and refine a framework for the investigation of sociocultural factors in the diagnostic process by understanding the patterns of comorbidity among major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and alcohol use disorder within the American Indian Service Utilization and Psychiatric Epidemiology Risk and Protective Factor Project lay interview; (2) complete in-depth analyses of those cases for which lay, clinical, and ethnographic data were collected in order to develop models of sociocultural factors in the lay and clinical interview diagnostic process; (3) use the lay interviews and clinical reappraisals to investigate how methodological factors inform our understandings of diagnostic processes; and (4) test the sociocultural models developed during the in-depth analyses, simultaneously accounting for methodological factors, for understanding the differing perspectives of the lay interviews and clinical reappraisals of diagnosis in the context of comorbidity.
Diversity supplement specifically pertains to examining the role of trauma within the AI-SUPERPFP lay, clinical, and ethnographic interviews, respectively. As such, both qualitative and quantitative training and experience are entailed within this work.
Montana Mental Health Settlement Trust Fund
Funded May 2011-December 2012
Assessing the usefullness of digital storytelling aimed at increasing protective resiliency factors among Native youth and families. The project establishes a collaborative relationship between the Montana Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council’s Planting Seeds of Hope Suicide Prevention programs. The project was designed to examine relationships between psychological, social, cultural and basic demographic factors to emotional well-being within an American Indian tribal sample and assess the effectiveness of digital storytelling within this population. The goal is to develop new ways of advancing suicide prevention and mental health among Native youth.
Role: Investigator and Project Director
Community Engagement to Promote Mental Health in Indian Country: A pilot project to assess a collaborative model for mental health screening, referral and education within the context of health fairs in tribal communities in Montana
Collaboration project with the Montana Neuroscience Institute, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal and Behavioral Health Services, and the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council aimed at adapting mental health educational and prevention materials for tribal communities. Developed website, social media, and prevention materials for regional tribal populations focusing on depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury prevention/education. (*Digital stories and collaboratively developed prevention materials created and available for review. See attached brochure for an example).
Project Period March 1, 2011 to December, 2012
Status: Funded total $20,000
The University of Montana Social and Behavioral Science Proposal Development
Develop an extramural funding proposal to examine risk and protective factors associated with suicide within Native American communities. Collaborate with other junior faculty members at The University of Montana interested in conducting social and behavioral science.
Susan G. Komen Foundation
“Going Pink on the Red Road”
Laukes, C., Belcourt, A., & Stewart, J. (Co-PI’s)
Collaborative breast cancer prevention grant to work to identify barriers to adequate screening within tribal communities in Montana. Montana Cancer Institute, The University of Montana, and Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council partnering agencies.
Status: Funded $25,000
Funded Grants and Contracts Ongoing 2013
NIH R56: Grant Number 1R56ES022583-01 PI: Belcourt/Noonan/Ward
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Title: Residential Wood Smoke Interventions Improving Health in Native American Populations
Grant Number: NIMH 5R25MH084565-05
Project Title: Indigenous HIV/AIDS Research Training (IHART) Program Grant
PI: Belcourt-Dittloff, A.
Title: Mental and Sexual Health in Native American Communities: Understanding adaptive recovery following trauma among a sample of American Indian women.
Role: PI of subcontracted research grant
Funded amount $21,600
Behavioral Health Aide Program at the Blackfeet Community College’s Issksinniip Programs.
HRSA Health Professions Opportunity Grant PI: (Conway-BCC)
Grant number 90FY0001-03-02.
Total Direct Grant to BCC: $555,706
Role: Consultant (Scientific and Curriculum development)
Susan G. Komen Montana grant for Native American Women breast cancer screening program development. (PI-Lee, N)
Total Direct Grant: $25,000
Native American Center of Excellence (Morin, PI)
Assisted in both writing and obtaining community support for NACOE grant application with UM and tribal partners. The NACOE provides support for enhanced recruitment, research, support, and development for Native American students pursuing degrees in pharmacy. Dr. Belcourt will be involved in the research development components, recruitment, support, and as an American Indian faculty mentor.
Direct Costs: $500,000 per year
1 R01ES022649-01 (Belcourt-Dittloff/Noonan/Ward)
6/19/14 – 03/31/15 0.36 academic NIH/NIEHS $452,387 0.12 summer
Residential Wood Smoke Interventions Improving Health in Native American Populations
The goal of this project is to test community-based exposure reduction strategies in tribal households using wood stoves for heating and the corresponding impact on respiratory function among elderly residents.
Funded Travel Grants 2012-2013:
Westminster College keynote address
IHART Speaker at the National Conference on AIDS Research
Invited Keynote Speaker at the Blackfeet Community College’s Mental Health Conference at the Days of the Blackfeet Conference.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Invited presentation at the National American Psychological Association Conference on the New Connections program.
Invited grant reviewer for the National Institute of Health and Indian Health Service NARCH (Native American Research Center for Health) grants (R01).
Susan G. Komen Montana meeting travel awards to meetings throughout Montana.
Invited scientific session presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), San Jose, CA.
Ford Foundation Reviewer 2012 & 2013 (Appointed Chair of Psychology Panel by the National Academy of Sciences)
IHART writing retreat, Indigenous Wellness Research Institute at the University of Washington.
Indigenous Wellness Research Institute’s Vision to Action Summit, Poulsbo, WA.
National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) meetings at the Society for Prevention Research, Denver, CO.
Native Children’s Research Exchange meetings and conference, Denver, CO.
Field of Study
Mental Health; Environment; Ethics
Jervis, L. L., Spicer, P., Belcourt-Dittloff, A., Novins, D. K., Sarche, M., Fickenscher, A., and Beals, J. (2013). The social construction of violence among American Indians with Antisocial Personality Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder. Transcultural Psychiatry, 1-24. DOI: 10.1177/1363461513501710.
Kelley, A., Belcourt-Dittloff, A., Belcourt, C., Belcourt, G. (2013). Indigenous Regulation of Research: Lessons learned from an Inter-Tribal Regional Institutional Review Board. American Journal of Public Health, 103(12), pp. 2146-2151.
Greenfield, B., Skewes, M. C., Dionne, R., Davis, B., Cwik, M., Venner, K., & Belcourt-Dittloff, A. (2013). Treatment for American Indians and Alaska Natives: Considering cultural adaptations. The Behavior Therapist, 36(6), 146-151.
Beals, J., Belcourt-Dittloff, A., Garroutte, E. M., Croy, C., Jervis, L. L., Rumbaugh-Whitesell, N., Mitchell, C. M., Manson, S. M. & the AI-SUPERPFP team (2013). Trauma and conditional risk of posttraumatic stress disorder in two American Indian reservation communities. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 48:895–905.
Belcourt-Dittloff, A., Swaney, G., & Belcourt, G (2011) Tribal Borders: Confronting health disparities and accessible care Northwest Public Health Journal.
Beals, J., Belcourt-Dittloff, A., Freedenthal, S., Kaufman, C., Mitchell, T., Whitesell, N., Albright, K., Beauvais, F., Belcourt, G. M., Duran, B., Fleming, C., Floersch, N., Foley, K., Jervis, L., Kipp, B., Mail, P., Manson, S. M., May, P., Mohatt, G., Morse, B., Novins, D., O’Connell, J., Parker, T., Quintero, G., Spicer, P., Stiffman, A., Stone, J., Trimble, J., Venner, K., & Walters, K. (2009). Reflections on a proposed theory of reservation-dwelling American Indian alcohol use: Comment on Spillane and Smith 2007. Psychological Bulletin, 135(2).
Engaged scholarship with Tribal communities. Sarche, M., Novins, D., & Belcourt-Dittloff, A. Invited chapter to appear in Fitzgerald, H. E., Burack, C., & Seifer, S. (Eds). (2010). Handbook of Engaged Scholarship: The contemporary landscape. (Vol. 1). East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.
Bryant-Davis, T., Tillman, S. Chung, H. Belcourt-Dittloff, A. (2009). From the margins to the center: Ethnic minority women and the mental health effects of sexual assault. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 10(4), 330-357.
Bryant-Davis, T., Tillman, S., Belcourt-Dittloff, A., Chung, H (2008). The cultural context of trauma recovery: The experiences of ethnic minority women. In Diversity in Mind and Action (Ed. Jean Chin). Greenwood Publishing (In Press).
Belcourt-Dittloff, A. & Belcourt, G. M. (2006). Promoting Best Practices in Indian Country: Strengthening Traditional Medicine and Cultural Resilience. Prepared for the Montana Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council, Minority Research Infrastructure Support Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Belcourt-Dittloff, A. & Stewart, J. D. (2000) Historical racism: Implications for Native Americans. American Psychologist, 55(10), 1166-1167.
Caruso, J.C., Witkiewitz, K., Belcourt-Dittloff, A., & Gottlieb, J.D. (2001). Reliability of Scores from the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire: A reliability generalization study. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 61(4), 675-689.
College of Health and Biomedical Sciences, Public and Community Health Sciences
2006–2007 Researcher, Black Hills State University
2006–2007 Research Associate, American Indian and Alaska Native Programs, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medcine, University of Colorado Denver
2007–2010 Instructor, Center for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, University of Colorado Denver
2010- Assistant Professor, Pharmacy Practice/Community and Public Health Sciences, College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, The University of Montana
Hospital or Professional Positions:
1994-1997 Bilingual Instructional Assistant for Native American Students (K-8), Missoula Public School District
1995-1996 Student Assault Recovery Service Curry Health Center, University of Montana
2000-2003 Graduate Student Therapist Clinical Psychology Center, University of Montana
2001 -2002 Therapist, Partnership Health Center Access to Therapy Program
2003-2005 Graduate Student Therapist Curry Health Center Counseling and Psychological Services
2005-2006 Predoctoral Psychology Intern Denver Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center