Tribal Public Health Broadcast
Weekly News, Funding, Resources, and Upcoming Events in Indian Country

January 14, 2021
News
NIHB PHPP Director
National Indian Health Board Fills Key Director Position on Public Health Policy and Programs Team

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is pleased to welcome Tyler Dougherty as Director of Public Health Policy and Programs (PHPP). Mr. Dougherty will lead NIHB’s public health priorities and advocacy efforts; cultivate partnerships with federal agency, state, and Tribal partners; and oversee NIHB’s strategic planning to expand its Tribal public health department in response to the increased need for resources and technical assistance during the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Dougherty joins NIHB from the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center where he managed multiple federal grants that served the 44 federally recognized Tribes across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Mr. Dougherty has a Master of Public Health in biostatistics from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Hudson College of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Oklahoma. 

Read the full press release here.
CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory: Increase in Fatal Drug Overdoses Across the United States Driven by Synthetic Opioids Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The purpose of this Health Alert Network (HAN) Advisory is to alert public health departments, healthcare professionals, first responders, harm reduction organizations, laboratories, and medical examiners and coroners of:
  1. Substantial increases in drug overdose deaths across the United States, primarily driven by rapid increases in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, likely illicitly manufactured fentanyl, excluding methadone (hereafter referred to as synthetic opioids);
  2. a concerning acceleration of the increase in drug overdose deaths with the largest increase recorded from March 2020 to May 2020, coinciding with the implementation of widespread mitigation measures for the COVID-19 pandemic;
  3. the changing geographic distribution of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, with the largest percentage increase occurring in states in the western United States;
  4. significant increases in overdose deaths involving psychostimulants with abuse potential (hereafter referred to as psychostimulants) such as methamphetamine; and
  5. recommendations for communities when responding to the evolving overdose crisis.

Newly released provisional data indicates that the recent increase in drug overdose mortality began in 2019 and continues into 2020, prior to the declaration of the COVID-19 National Emergency in the United States in March. The increases in drug overdose deaths appear to have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
2020 National Preparedness Report

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released the 2020 National Preparedness Report. In its ninth year, this report presents an updated, risk-focused approach to summarizing the state of national preparedness. The report presents a discussion of the risks the nation faces, how those risks drive the nation’s capability requirements, and how the nation uses capabilities to manage risks, including a high-level overview of the nation’s current capabilities. Read more here.
NIHB Telehealth Survey
NIHB Telehealth Survey for Tribal Leaders and Health Administrators

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is asking for a Tribal representative from each of the 574 federally-recognized Tribes to take 10-15 minutes to complete an online and anonymous survey on the state of telehealth service and capacity in Indian Country. The survey closes on January 16, 2021.

Survey responses will be analyzed into a list of themes and recommendations that will be shared with Tribes during a virtual event in early 2021. Survey data will also be shared with stakeholders to help advance efforts in securing resources for needed improvements to the telehealth infrastructure in Indian Country. Help NIHB by taking the time to share your valuable insights.

For questions regarding the telehealth survey, please contact Robert Foley at rfoley@nihb.org.
IHS Director Weahkee Resigning January 20, 2021

Indian Health Service (IHS) Director RADM Michael Weahkee announced his resignation effective on January 20, 2021. In an email to Tribal leaders and organizations, RADM Weahkee said, "I remain committed to the IHS mission, but in order to allow the incoming administration to appoint new leadership -- as is standard in any presidential transition -- I have been asked to tender my resignation effective January 20th. It has been a sincere honor to have been entrusted to serve in this role. I believe the IHS is more capable now than ever before of fulfilling our vision of healthy communities and quality health care systems through strong partnerships and culturally responsive practices." Visit the IHS website at www.ihs.gov.
Funding & Opportunities
HRSA Funding Opportunity: BHWET Program for Professionals
Applications due Thursday, January 21, 2021

Offered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program for Professionals aims to increase the supply of behavioral health professionals while also improving the distribution of a quality behavioral health workforce and thereby increasing access to behavioral health services. A special focus is placed on the knowledge and understanding of children, adolescents, and transitional-aged youth at risk for behavioral health disorders. Read more here.
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HRSA Funding Opportunity: National Telehealth Resource Center Program
Applications due Thursday, January 21, 2021

This notice announces the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) opportunity to apply for funding under the National Telehealth Resource Center (NTRC) Program. The purpose of the NTRC is to support the delivery of telehealth technical assistance through Regional Telehealth Resource Centers (RTRCs). Two NTRCs may be funded. Read more here.
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HRSA Funding Opportunity: Regional Telehealth Resource Center Program
Applications due Thursday, January 21, 2021

This notice announces the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) opportunity to apply for funding under the Regional Telehealth Resource Center (RTRC) Program. RTRCs assist health care organizations, health care networks, and health care providers in the implementation of cost-effective telehealth programs to serve rural areas and populations. RTRCs also assist patients and families living in rural areas with telehealth technology to obtain health services. This notice of funding opportunity (NOFO) will support 12 RTRCs that focus on statewide and regional telehealth activities. Read more here.
SAMHSA Funding Opportunities

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) currently has 7 funding opportunities available. Each grant has a different anticipated total available funding, number of awards, award amounts, and length of the project. For any and all questions, please refer to the contact information listed for each individual SAMHSA grant opportunity.

The National Indian Health Board is Hiring!

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is seeking qualified candidates for the following open positions in the Public Health Policy and Programs Department based in Washington, DC:

  • Public Health Project Coordinator (Emergency Preparedness)
  • Public Health Project Coordinator (Aging)
  • Public Health Program Coordinator (PHICCS)
  • Public Health Project Coordinator (Environmental Health)
  • Public Health Project Associate (Behavioral Health)

Job descriptions are available at www.nihb.org.
Resources
FEMA Releases Addendum to Pandemic Planning Considerations Guide

In June 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released information to help state, local, Tribal and territorial partners provide shelter services and maintain the health and well-being of disaster survivors and workers in a pandemic environment. This addendum to the original guidance will assist partners in anticipating and attending to the needs of people with disabilities. Read more here.
Healthy People 2030 Resources

Every ten years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Healthy People program identifies public health priorities and establishes measurable public health objectives to improve the overall health and well-being of communities across the United States. The Healthy People 2030 Leading Health Indicators (LHIs) and Overall Health and Well-Being Measures (OHMs) are now available on the Healthy People 2030 website.
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New! COVID-19 Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
NIHB COVID-19 Contact
 
The National Indian Health Board is committed to serving Tribal Nations in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Visit our COVID-19 Tribal Resource Center for more information and resources.
Events
The Challenges of Aging During COVID-19: Long Term Care, Vaccination, and Isolation
Friday, January 15, 2021 from 1:00 – 2:00 PM ET

Join the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) Foundation for a webinar about the challenges older adults face during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the danger COVID-19 poses to older adults and people living in long-term care facilities has been of great concern. It is also necessary to address the pandemic’s mental health impact on older adults, particularly loneliness and isolation. Speakers will discuss an overview of COVID-19’s challenges to long-term care and the future implications for nursing homes, vaccination and vaccine distribution challenges for older adults, and a health plan’s efforts to address pandemic isolation and loneliness. Register here.
Webinar: Listening to Community Voices: Addressing Questions and Concerns about COVID-19 Vaccines
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 from 6:00 - 7:30 PM ET

Much of the public has gotten a lesson in vaccine clinical trials research and is now learning more about the Emergency Use Authorization mechanism as it is used to approve the first vaccines. Presented by the University of Maryland School of Public Health, this webinar will include African American and Latino community members, public health professionals, and local leaders to talk about what is known about these topics and prepare communities to make informed decisions about the vaccine. Register here.
Essential Workers
NIHB Webinar: EMS Response to COVID-19
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET

Please join the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) for a Tribal infection control learning community (TICLC) webinar: EMS Response to COVID-19. This webinar will provide an overview of the best practices for EMS response to COVID-19 and strategies for implementing infection prevention and control measures to protect EMS staff. The COVID-19 response model used by the Pueblo of Laguna Community Health and EMS program will be discussed. The learning community is focused on knowledge sharing and members are encouraged to share information and build relationships with each other. Please submit questions ahead of time to make sure the presenters can get to them. Come prepared to ask questions or share your own insights and experiences. Read more here.
Webinar Series: Effective Strategies to Reach Patients for Colorectal Cancer Screening During COVID-19

The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan’s National Native Network with Indian Health Service Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and the Indian Health Service Clinical Support Center (Accredited Provider) will present a podcast. At the conclusion of this activity, the healthcare team will be able to: apply safe and convenient colorectal screening for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) patients, identify geographical differences in colorectal cancer incidence among AI/AN populations, and recommend appropriate testing for patients by following the draft USPSTF recommendation to begin screening average-risked persons at age 45.