Ms. O’Leary, RN, in collaboration with her husband, Tim, established Missouri Breaks Industries Research, Inc. (MBIRI), in 1995. As the coordinator for the Strong Heart Study for the past four phases, she has worked with and is well known to many community members, tribal council members, and health directors.
MBIRI is an Indian-owned business established to bridge the scientific gap in rural American Indian communities. It has established a track record for conducting valuable and ethical research in tribal communities. The value of established relations and institutional memory in American Indian communities cannot be underestimated.
As the coordinator for the Dakota Center, Inc., Ms. O’Leary has been able to bring these valuable assets to communities, allowing not only increased efficiency in the progress of the data collection but also improved ability to translate the information back into the communities.
MBIRI’s focus is on working with scientists and tribal communities from across the nation to assist with research on issues of special importance to tribal communities. It has worked with numerous institutions and PIs in collecting data and biological samples; disseminating research results to health care providers, tribal leaders, and community members; and developing capacity within tribal membership. MBIRI looks forward to continuing that collaboration to help tribal communities better understand the relationship between genetics and environment and their causal relationship to the diseases that heavily burden so many community members.