Bert Boyer, PhD NPOD EAC
Bob and Charlee Moore Endowed Professor; Director, Alaska Native Health Research
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Center for Developmental Health, Knight Cardiovascular Institute
Oregon Health & Science University
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Dr. Boyer was the principal investigator for phase II and III of a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence grant in Alaska that ended its 15-year cycle in June 2017 and was instrumental in forming the Center for Alaska Native Health Research, which focuses on risk and protective factors for cardiometabolic diseases including obesity and diabetes. His research group is broadly interested in genomic, epigenomic and environmental risk and protective factors related to obesity and diabetes in Yup'ik people from Southwest Alaska. For the past decade, Dr. Boyer and colleagues have been working in rural Alaska developing a longitudinal study involving ~2,000 Yup'ik Alaska Native people in 11 communities using a community-based participatory research (CBPR) framework. They have found obesity prevalence equal to that in the general U.S. population, but although obesity is one of the greatest risk factors for diabetes, type 2 diabetes incidence in the Yup’ik population is less than half that seen in the other areas of the U.S. To understand this better, Dr. Boyer and colleagues are investigating the roles of physical activity and a traditional subsistence diet rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids in prevention of chronic diseases, including diabetes. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Washington, Dr. Boyer is also involved in a pharmacogenomics program grant to investigate gene-by-environment interactions related to warfarin drug safety and efficacy.
Dr. Boyer and colleagues continue to work towards the development of culturally appropriate strategies to return the full continuum of research results to participants. All projects adhere to a CBPR framework involving community partners and Yup'ik leaders. In addition to his role as an External Advisory Committee (EAC) member for the NPOD, he serves on the EAC of the Center for Childhood Obesity Prevention at the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, and the newly formed Center for Health Outcomes and Population Research COBRE at Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.