Octaviana V. Trujillo (Yaqui) Ph.D

is founding chair and professor of the department of Applied Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and teaches courses on Tribal Nation Building. A primary focus of her work as a former tribal leader has been developing programs that take advantage of her academic and professional experience. Dr. Trujillo is the Principal Investigator (community outreach) on the National Cancer Institute, U54- funded Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention. The major goal of this project is to alleviate the unequal burden of cancer among Native Americans of the Southwest through research, training and outreach programs that are collaborative with the communities they serve. Her recent publications, “A Perspective on Diabetes from Indigenous Views” in Fourth World Journal was collaboration between university scholars and traditional-knowledge scholars and United Nations, State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples-Education.

Dr. Trujillo is also the NAU research, education and training co-director of the Center for American Indian Resilience (CAIR). CAIR NIH R25 is a partnership with University of Arizona, College of Public Health, to explore resiliency to reduce American Indian health disparities. Throughout her professional career she has been involved with education, health, social services, and cultural enhancement programs in conjunction with the communities themselves, the tribal government entities, and higher education institutions. Professor Trujillo, the National Council for Science and Environment and American Indian Higher Education Consortium have partnered to develop and augment Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) faculty knowledge and skills in climate research, traditional ecological knowledge, and STEM student learning. Additionally, she is partnering with Tohono O’odham Community College on a National Science Foundation grant “Southwest Native Lands Integrated Curriculum.” The aim of the project is to increase the success rate of Native American students majoring in the social sciences in applications of math and science concepts to understand and identify solutions to authentic problems.


Dr. Trujillo has extended this professional focus into the international arena; with the National Institutes of Health funded P37 “Native Americans Exploring Global Health Disparities” project. NAU proposes to provide short-term global research training opportunities for qualified Native American students and others who are underrepresented in the life, social, and health sciences. The results of this project will not only increase Native American participation in health sciences, but provide these students with a broad global perspective on potential solutions to health disparities that they can apply to their future careers in the United States. Professor Trujillo serves on local, national and international governing boards, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC) the committee helps shape U.S. policies that improve the environment and health conditions of the United States, Canada, and Mexico; Farmworker Justice, empowering migrant and seasonal farmworkers to improve their living and working conditions, immigration status, health, occupational safety, and access to justice; and the Global Diversity Foundation, which promotes agricultural, biological and cultural diversity around the world through research, training and social action. She was appointed by President Obama to serve as a member to the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the governing Council of the Commission on Environmental Cooperation.