From May 30th through June 1st, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) hosted over 200 Tribal public health leaders, researchers, professionals, and other stakeholders at its National Tribal Public Health Summit at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This year’s conference, “Our Health, Our Way: Achieving Healthy Native Communities,” provided a chance for attendees to discuss successes, challenges, opportunities, and the future of health care for American Indian and Alaska Native people. Conference workshops were divided into four different tracks including: Accreditation/Law & Policy, Health Promotion/Disease Prevention, Research, and Environmental Health. The workshops offered a wealth of information and the track structure allowed attendees to select the workshops that best fit their focus or learning objectives for the conference.
The conference provided participants ample opportunity to network with Tribal leaders, Tribal health directors, medical practitioners, mental health professionals, advocates, epidemiologists and researchers. The Summit also included a full day grant training session, a welcome reception and a culture night.
Wednesday, May 30th
Wednesday included keynote speeches from Joe Crittendon, Deputy Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation and Dr. Charles W. Grim, Senior Director for Health Services, Cherokee Nation (former Indian Health Service Director). Geoff Roth, Senior Advisor to the Director, Indian Health Service (IHS) addressed the plenary session on behalf of Dr. Roubideaux. NIHB’s Legislative Director, Jennifer Cooper, reported on the Affordable Care Act and Public Health Policy Trends and Opportunities.
The morning plenary also featured a panel presentation on the Special Diabetes Program (SDPI) for Indians featuring Buford Rolin, NIHB Board member and Chairman of the IHS Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee, Dr. Ann Bullock, Clinical Consultant for IHS, Shondra McCage, Chairperson for the Awakening the Spirit/American Diabetes Association, and Allen Dale, SDPI Grantee. Following the plenary session, participants attended workshops on topics ranging from Advocacy and Partnership, to Suicide Prevention and Postvention, to Environmental Health impacts in Indian Country, to name but a few of the selections.
The Summit’s Welcome Reception, sponsored by Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board, included performances (arranged by the Cherokee Nation) from the Internationally Renowned Cherokee National Youth Choir and Robert Lewis, Lead Village Interpreter, Cherokee Heritage Center.
Thursday, May 31st,
Thursday included a keynote address from Dr. David G. Perdue, Medical Director American Indian Cancer Foundation. Dr. Perdue discussed the epidemic of cancer in Indian Country, providing a review of known and probable risk factors, an examination of best practices, and suggestions on ways to incorporate this knowledge in tribal health systems. Also during the morning plenary, NIHB presented a panel on Public Health Law: “Promoting Community Health and Tribal Sovereignty.” The panel featured Clifford Rees, JD, Western Region of the Network for Public Health Law at the University of New Mexico; Montrece Ransom, JD, MPH, Senior Public Health Analyst, Public Health Law Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Carolyn Angus-Hornbuckle, JD, Public Health Project Coordinator, NIHB. Following the plenary, attendees were able to choose from 12 different workshops including HIV among Injection Drug Users in Native Communities, Public Health Accreditation, and Healthy Native Babies Project.
In the evening, the Cherokee Nation hosted a Culture Night Celebration featuring Miss Cherokee, the Cherokee Nation Adult Choir, seasonal foods, Cherokee songs, and cultural sharing.
Friday, June 1st
The final day of the Summit, ended with a full day of grant training provided by Dr. Michelle Chino, University of Nevada Las Vegas-School of Community Health Sciences. Participants gained in-depth knowledge of the grant process, from finding and responding to grant opportunities to managing and evaluating programs.
NIHB is grateful to all of our speakers, presenters, partners and participants. Thank you for making this year’s National Tribal Public Health Summit a success!
Please check back soon for photos and presentations from this year’s NTPHS. We hope to see you this September at NIHB’s Annual Consumer Conference and 40th Anniversary Celebration in Denver, CO!