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The Assessing the Gut Microbiota and Individual Diet (‘ABID) Study, led by Dornell Pete (Dine’ PhD Doctoral Student) and Dr. Amanda Phipps (Dissertation Chair, Associate Professor) from the University of Washington, is a dissertation project focused on studying risk factors for stomach cancer. In this study, we are focusing on adults living in the Northern Navajo Agency and Fort Defiance Agency.


Cancer is an important health issue and is the second leading cause of death among the Navajo people. Stomach cancer specifically has greatly impacted the lives of the Navajo people over the years; with a 3.5 times higher rate of stomach cancer diagnoses among Navajo people compared to the general Arizona and New Mexico population. The ‘ABID Study aims to better understand risk factors for stomach cancer in the Navajo, such as stomach infections (Helicobacter pylori infection) and diet patterns.


Conducting research of risk factors for stomach cancer can tell us about how we can improve and strengthen cancer prevention for the Navajo people, such as bringing more awareness and education around reducing the risk for stomach cancer. This study can fill a critical gap in our understanding of the relationship between Helicobacter pylori infections and diet in Navajo people residing in the Northern Navajo and Fort Defiance agencies of the Navajo Nation.


Through this study, we hope to answer the following questions:

  • How common is infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) among Navajo adults? (H. pylori is a bacteria that has been shown to increase stomach cancer risk)

  • How does diet affect Helicobacter pylori infection?


What can I expect as a participant?

Potential participants will speak with the Principal Investigator, Dornell Pete, to review study details, ask questions to determine if the study is a good choice for them, and review the consent form. This interaction will occur over the phone. Ms. Pete will work with you to schedule a time to speak with you.


After you give verbal consent to participate, you will be mailed a study packet to complete. The packet will contain instructions, a copy of the consent form for your reference, two questionnaires to complete, a stool sampling kit, and a pre-paid return envelope and box. Once you have completed the study packet, you can use the pre-paid envelope and box to mail the questionnaires and stool sample for analysis. Ms. Pete will then mail you a $50 gift card (Bashas, City Market, or Amazon) for your participation.


The ‘ABID Study is supported through funding from the Northwest Portland Indian Health Board’s Tribal Researchers’ Cancer Control Fellowship Program (127-74-20) and the National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute, F99 / K00 Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (F99CA253685).


This study is approved by the Navajo Nation Human Research Review Board (NNR-20.384T) and the University of Washington Human Subjects Division (STUDY00011217).


Dornell Pete, MPH

Principal Investigator

Ms. Pete is of the Water Flows Together Clan, born for the Waters’ Edge Clan. Her maternal and paternal grandfather’s clans are Many Goats People Clan and Clumped Tree People Clan. She is originally from Shiprock, NM. Many of her relatives, including her parents, still live in Shiprock. She is a fifth-year Ph.D. student at the University of Washington, in the Epidemiology Department. She also works as an Epidemiologist for the Urban Indian Health Institute and has previously worked at the Navajo Nation Tribal Epidemiology Center and Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center. She is interested in cancer research, from identifying causes of cancer to developing strategies for cancer prevention and control in the Navajo People.


Amanda I. Phipps, Ph.D.

Co-Principal Investigator, Dissertation Chair / Mentor

Amanda Phipps is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington and at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. Her work is focused on the relationship of modifiable lifestyle factors with cancer risk and cancer survival. She also does work examining the role of different bacteria in colorectal cancer biology and survival.

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