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Informational Only

This challenge is no longer accepting new submissions.

Storytelling about Wellness in Tribal Communities

Storytelling about Health and Wellness in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities

National Institutes of Health

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $10,000
Type of Challenge: Creative (multimedia & design)
Submission Start: 11/28/2016 12:00 AM ET
Submission End: 01/31/2017 11:59 PM ET


In recognition of Native American Heritage Month, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announces the “Storytelling about Health and Wellness in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities” Challenge. The goal of this Challenge is to develop a brief digital story (i.e., a video) that communicates how traditions and heritage promote health in American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). The NIH invites the public to participate to share stories about: 1) how heritage and tradition leads to health and wellness in AI/AN communities; and 2) how future research can improve the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. The videos will augment the agency’s ongoing efforts to inform a strengthened research portfolio that advances AI/AN research needs. This challenge is also designed to attract more interest and attention to the research needs of these communities and communicate these needs in a culturally appropriate manner.

Submissions are limited to a video that may not exceed five minutes. Submissions must be substantially free of scientific jargon and understandable by viewers without scientific/technical backgrounds. The video must include at least one member of a federally recognized tribe(s) and address the following:

  • A brief historical background that puts the story in context. For example, what is the traditional or cultural practice? How does it contribute to health and wellness in AI/AN populations?
  • A description of how this tradition or culture affects people’s lives. The impact could be lives saved, suffering reduced, fewer visits to health care facilities, adopting a healthier lifestyle, and similar such benefits. How is this practice promoted within tribal populations?
  • Information about the unmet health and wellness needs of AI/AN communities. What is the unmet need? Is there an understanding of what interventions or actions may help address these needs?
  • A discussion of how biomedical or behavioral research can further Tribal health and wellness. What are the current gaps in Tribal health research and opportunities for improving health in AI/AN communities?  What are some of the barriers or challenges in closing these gaps?  How would addressing them reduce mortality, improve quality of life, or otherwise positively affect Tribal communities?  The video must convey the research question of interest as part of a holistic picture of Tribal health or AI/AN communities.

Contestants must include a link to a public or unlisted video on,, or other internet accessible site. The submission may be disqualified if the video is primarily promotional, contains inappropriate material or language, or presents material unrelated to this challenge, as determined by the NIH.  A video must:

  • Be in English if dialogue is present. Use of Native language is encouraged but must include an English caption or other method of translation to English.
  • Be no longer than five minutes. The NIH recognizes that there may be a desire to prepare a longer video. However, any part of a video exceeding five minutes will be disregarded as part of the judging process.
  • Not include copyrighted material, such as music or photos, unless the Contestant has obtained written permission to use such material.
  • Not include proprietary information.
  • For any video with dialogue, captioning must be included or a written transcript of the video must be submitted in English to ensure the video can be understood by viewers with disabilities.
    • The video must remain posted at the URL submitted with the entry for at least one year after the Challenge closes. The video (or the link to it) may be displayed publicly on the NIH web site.
    • Before posting a video online, a Contestant must obtain consent from anyone appearing in the video. If a minor appears in the video, the contestant must obtain consent from the minor’s parent or legal guardian.

Technical Evaluation Panel

Submissions first will be assessed by a technical evaluation panel consisting of individuals who will review the relevance of the entry to the AI/AN communities, the accuracy of the advance and impact on AI/ANs, cultural sensitivity, and confirmation of the unmet research need(s) in AI/AN populations.


First Place: $4,000.00

The first-place winner will be invited to attend a meeting of the NIH Tribal Consultation Advisory Committee. Travel and related costs will be reimbursed.

Won by: Integrating Culture into Healthcare
Solution: Integrating Culture into Healthcare

Second Place: $3,000.00

Won by: Return to Wellness 
Solution: Return to Wellness 

Third Place: $2,000.00

Won by: Ohero:kon – Rites of Passage creating health and wellness for youth in Akwesasne
Solution: Ohero:kon – Rites of Passage creating health and wellness for youth in Akwesasne

Honorable Mention: $500.00

Won by: University of Colorado Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health Pine Ridge Field Office
Solution: University of Colorado Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health Pine Ridge Field Office

Honorable Mention: $500.00

Won by: Tatitlek: Change in the Wind
Solution: Tatitlek: Change in the Wind


All submissions must be provided on A complete listing of the Eligibility Rules can be found in the Federal Register notice. Below is a brief description of certain eligibility requirements. All entrants must:

  1. Register to participate.
  2. Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States; for businesses, be incorporated in and have a primary place of business in the United States.
  3. Not be a federal entity or federal employee acting within the scope of his/her employment.
  4. Not be an NIH employee, or member (or relative of a member) of the technical evaluation panel or judging panel.
  5. Not infringe on copyright or rights of a 3rd party.
  6. Assume all risks and waive claims against the federal government.
  7. Indemnify the federal government against 3rd party claims.
  8. Grant NIH a license to post, link to, share, and display entries
  9. Follow applicable laws, regulations, and policies

Judging Criteria

Quality, clarity, and historical accuracy

Is the information presented accurately and clearly?


Is the story educational, inspiring, and persuasive? Does it clearly convey how the culture or tradition being practiced promotes health and wellness? Does it clearly convey where research could continue to improve health and well-being? 


The Challenge submission cannot have been previously published.

Digital technology

Does the video effectively use lighting, sound, and editing to tell the story? Is the dialogue clear and easy to understand? Do visual effects (if any) contribute to the message or detract from it? Does the video convey the intended message in the five minute limit? Is the video of sufficient quality to be posted on the Web? Is captioning or English translation available?

How To Enter

Entrants must register on to submit solutions. There is NO cost for contestants to participate in this challenge.

  • To submit an entry, click “Submit Solution.”
  • Make sure to include the URL to your video entry and that all video is either captioned in English or another method of translation to English if Native language is used in the video.Additional documents can be uploaded (e.g., Microsoft Word, PDF, etc.).