Dr. Michelle Sarche is a licensed clinical psychologist and has worked with both urban and reservation American Indian and Alaska Native communities for over 25 years. Her work has focused on children’s development, parenting, and early care environments such as Head Start, home visiting, and child care. Her current projects include the Tribal Early Childhood Research Center, the Native Children’s Research Exchange, the Buffering Toxic Stress Consortium, the American Indian and Alaska Native Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey Workgroup, the Multi-site Implementation Evaluation of Tribal Home Visiting, the Maternal and Child Health Link program, and two recently funded alcohol-exposed pregnancy prevention projects. Sarche is a member of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Ojibwe, where her grandmother was born and raised.
Disparities in health and well-being in American Indian and Alaska Native communities are driven by serious structural barriers, as well as by the intergenerational effects of historically traumatic events on tribal communities and individuals. At the same time, American Indian and Alaska Native communities are rich in spirit and resolved to create environments in which their citizens thrive. My bold vision is to harness the power of community-engaged research to gather and disseminate data to tell a rich story of the challenges and triumphs faced by American Indian and Alaska Native children, families, and communities, and the early care and education systems that support them.