Tribal Public Health Broadcast
September 28, 2017
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Public Health News


Public Health News
United Tribal Voices Advocating for Healthy Native People: NIHB's 34th Annual Tribal Health Conference
September 25-28, 2017

Tribal leaders, federal health partners, and Tribal health advocates came together this week in Bellevue, Washington for the National Indian Health Board's (NIHB) 34th Annual National Tribal Health Conference (NTHC). Every year, the NTHC brings advocates and stakeholders in the Indian Health System to discuss policy priorities, explore strategies, and share best practices in forming partnerships to advance Tribal health. This year, more than 600 people will participate in the conference with a focus on partnership. This year's theme is "Uniting Tribal Voices Advocating for Healthy Native People." The conference runs from September 25-28, 2017.

On Monday, attendees participated in pre-conference listening sessions with the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Attendees also participated in Institutes on Opioid Epidemic in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's approach to confronting Zika. 

Tuesday's session was opened with a welcome by local Tribal leaders and NIHB Board Member from the Northwest Portland Area Andy Joseph. NIHB Chairperson Vinton Hawley also welcomed attendees with a message about the importance of amplifying a unified Tribal voice to advocate for our health needs. RADM Michael Weahkee, Acting Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS); Brian Cladoosby, President of the National Congress of American Indians and Chairman of the Swinomish Tribe in Washington State; Indian Country journalist and commentator Mark Trahant; Washington State Governor Jay Inslee; and Taylor Hittle, from the Office of Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) were among Tuesday's conference speakers.

In the afternoon, conference attendees had an opportunity to participate in 14 breakout sessions on topics such as Dental Therapy, Payment and Care Delivery Reform, Tribal Opioid Response, Tribal Youth Leadership programs, and indigenous food sovereignty. All presentations follow the tracks of: Legislation, Regulation and Consultation to Improve Tribal Health; Native Health Infrastructure; Maximizing Third Party Revenues and Expanding Patient Care Opportunities; Native Youth Leadership in Health; and Public Health Policy and Systems.

The National Tribal Health Conference continues through Thursday, September 28, with additional speakers, workshops, and plenary discussions on making health equity a reality.

CDC Call for Tribal Public Health Stories
Deadline January 15, 2018
Tribal nations are active and important contributors to public health, and Tribal cultures have long fostered health and wellness among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invites you to share stories that show how you do just that, so they can be a part of an exciting new exhibit at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum in Atlanta.
The exhibition--to be held from Sept 22, 2019, through May 1, 2020, in Atlanta--will recognize the public health contributions of the AI/AN community in a visually compelling, culturally appropriate manner. CDC's exhibition will showcase how Native traditions and wisdom have affected public health in the past and present, and how AI/AN people have made a difference in the health of their people.
Compared with other Americans, AI/AN people have higher rates of some diseases, disorders, and deaths . This call for stories offers an opportunity for individuals, Tribes, Tribal organizations, and others to showcase the strengths and resilience of Tribal communities, their heritage and traditions, and how their culture addresses risk factors unique to Tribes and promotes their health and well-being.
What Types of Stories Are Needed?
Please send stories that highlight how Native traditions and wisdom have affected health, or show contributions of specific AI/AN individuals to health and wellness among AI/AN people. CDC will consider stories that represent the diverse array of Tribes, Tribal organizations, health issues, and people of Indian Country and AI/AN culture, such as
  • Locations-reservation and non-reservation, urban, rural, all geographic areas across the United States
  • Health issues-environmental health, chronic diseases, infectious diseases, emergency preparedness and response, injury, behavioral health
  • People-individuals, Tribes, organizations
How To Submit A Story?
Story submissions, which should be no more than two pages, single spaced, and size 12 font, can be emailed to  by January 15, 2018. Please include website links to photos and pictures of objects that could be included in the exhibit, when available.
All submissions must include the following:
  • Brief historical background information that puts the story in context. For example, what is the traditional or cultural practice? How did it contribute to health and wellness in AI/AN people in the past?
  • A description of how this tradition or culture affects people's lives today. The impact could be lives saved, suffering reduced, fewer visits to health care facilities, adoption of a healthier lifestyle, or other similar benefits. This section should also describe how the practice is promoted among Tribes and AI/AN people.
  • A list of potential photographs, pictures, documents, media, and objects that can be used to illustrate the story. Is there artwork or children's drawings that represents the practice? Are there radio recordings, letters, posters, or other communications from public health efforts? Are there traditional objects that have evolved to become used in modern day? Are there objects that are still in use today? Please include images and files with the submission, if available.
CDC values the privacy and ownership rights of those in stories. As such, each agency, organization, or individual that contributes a story is responsible for obtaining any necessary permissions or releases from any parties involved in the story.

Profile in Public Health Law: Valerie Davidson, JD

Valerie Davidson, JD, the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services was featured in the September 2017 issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Public Health Law News (PHLN).  Davidson, an enrolled member of the Orutsararmiut Tribal Council, discusses how the State of Alaska is working to strengthen its relationship with the Alaska Tribes.  Davidson also comments on Alaska's response to the opioid epidemic; Alaska Governor Bill Walker declared the epidemic a public health disaster.  This formal declaration allows the State to respond as they would to any other public emergency or natural disaster, increases access to naloxone (a drug that can prevent death in the case of an overdose), and prioritizes the opioid crisis Statewide.

Prior to serving as Commissioner, Davidson had a long history in working to promote Tribal health.   Most recently, Davidson served as the senior director of legal and intergovernmental affairs for the Alaska Native Tribal Consortium.  She has also worked with the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, which stresses "early, effective, and culturally appropriate interventions" for 58 federally recognized tribes.   Davidson describes how her upbringing in the small, rural city of Bethel, Alaska, as well as her background as a Yup'ik, has shaped her understanding of public health.

To read the full interview with Valerie Davidson, as well as the rest of the PHLN newsletter, click HERE
Save the Date: Tribal Public Health Summit 
The National Indian Health Board's Tribal Public Health Summit has been announced for 2018. The Summit will take place in Prior Lake, Minnesota from May 22-24. Save the date! More information will be published soon. 

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week
October 22-28, 2017

October 22-28 is National Lead Poisoning Week. Young children under the age of six, are most at risk for lead poisoning. Fortunately, lead poisoning is preventable. Learn the facts about lead poisoning and test your child and home. The image below shows the goals of National Lead Poisoning Week. 

The infographic below shows sources of lead, how lead poisoning can affect a child or a community, and how to prevent lead poisoning. 

Find more resources from CDC  HERE or learn more from the National Center for Healthy Housing  HERE