NIHB Public Health Alerts

Posted: February 5, 2018

Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald Resigns as Director of the CDC

Image: Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, from Politco.

On Wednesday morning, January 31st, Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald resigned her position as Director of CDC and ATSDR.  Dr. Anne Schuchat (RADM, USPHS) began as Acting Director. Dr. Schuchat previously served as acting CDC director from January-July 2017 and was director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases from 2006-2015. CDC remains committed to their mission of saving lives and protecting people.

For more details, click HERE

Posted: February 5, 2018

Enrollment is Open for Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program Suppliers

What You Need to Know
MDPP supplier enrollment has now begun for eligible organizations as of January 1, 2018, as a result of the publication of the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) Final Rule. MDPP supplier applications can be accepted at any time. Delivery of and billing for MDPP services will begin April 1, 2018.

How to Enroll as an MDPP Supplier
There are two ways you can enroll in Medicare as an MDPP supplier: you can fill out and submit your enrollment application online using the Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System (PECOS), or you can submit a paper enrollment application to a Medicare Administrative Contractor. The MDPP Supplier Enrollment Application (paper form) is now available online through HERE. This application can also be accessed and submitted online through PECOS.

If your organization currently meets the requirements for enrolling as an MDPP supplier, including recognition and additional supplier standards, follow the steps below to begin the MDPP enrollment process:

  • Review the MDPP Orientation Roadmap to understand the MDPP supplier journey
  • For a more detailed introduction, watch the MDPP Orientation Webinar to gain a better understanding of MDPP - including requirements to enroll as a MDPP supplier, furnish MDPP services, and submit claims (please note registration is required to view the webinar)
  • Use the MDPP Enrollment Fact Sheet and the MDPP Checklist to guide you through the enrollment process

For more information, visit the MDPP website.

Posted: February 5, 2018

ASTHO Releases Profile of State and Territorial Public Health, Volume Four

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) has released its new version (volume 4) of the ASTHO Profile of State and Territorial Public Health. This document examines funding levels, agency priorities, and the governmental public health workforce. It also identifies trends, challenges, and developments across public health agencies. Although this document focuses on states (and territories), Tribes may benefit from understanding more about the public health infrastructure in their states and identifying opportunities to increase collaboration that could benefit Tribal health. This document also identifies state priorities and contains statistics about information-sharing with Tribes.

Read the article HERE

Posted: February 5, 2018

Combating Trafficking: Native Youth Toolkit on Human Trafficking

American Indians and Alaska Natives are considered an at-risk population for human trafficking. Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery, which includes forced labor, involuntary servitude, or forced commercial sex. Traffickers can be anyone, strangers, peers, friends, romantic partners, or family. They sometimes may make offers of false employment, and generally prey on individuals seeking better opportunities.

This toolkit offers Native Youth information about trafficking, tips for protecting themselves, and resources for preventing trafficking. The goal of the toolkit is to empower youth and their community to prevent and respond to human trafficking.

To view the toolkit, click HERE

Posted: February 5, 2018

2nd Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition Conference Report

Last fall, more than 500 Tribal officials, elders, youth, researchers, and practitioners from 37 states, four countries, and more than 50 Tribes attended the 2nd Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition in Prior Lake, Minnesota. This annual conference brings together indigenous and academic scientific knowledge on Native nutrition and food science. Building off the inaugural conference in 2016, last year's conference focused on traditional foods, community-university collaborations, environment, land, and nutrition.

To share lesson learned, a conference report was created. Inside the report you will find speaker information, key takeaways from presentations and panels, and testimonials from attendees. You can also find videos and presentations from the 2017 conference speakers HERE

Read the 2017 nutrition conference report HERE

Information on the 3rd Annual Conference on Native American Nutrition HERE

Posted: February 5, 2018

Safe to Sleep Campaign Stipends and Outreach Materials for American Indians/Alaska Natives

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has announced outreach stipends for Tribes and organizations serving American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities to have customized materials with Safe to Sleep Campaign messages printed by NICHD, utilizing the Healthy Native Babies Project Toolkit Disk. The Toolkit Disk allows individuals to design culturally appropriate and regionally specific materials with phrases translated into Native languages as well as photographs of Native families taken across the country.

For further information, please contact [email protected].

You can also click HERE to learn more about the campaign or click HERE to view a brochure for AI/AN populations.

Posted: January 26, 2018

Sponsor the NIHB 9th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit

We invite you to contribute to Tribal public health by becoming an official sponsor of the premier national AI/AN specific public health gathering.

Our 9th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit (TPHS) offers key opportunities for allies, organizations and agencies to network, build relationships and establish partnerships with Tribal health leaders in an effort to address AI/AN health priorities.

NIHB is honored to welcome your support for TPHS. We offer a variety of sponsorship levels with many benefits included. Sponsoring the TPHS provides a great opportunity to elevate the presence and visibility of your organization and work, as well as your commitment to Tribal public health and healthcare needs.

To view more information about sponsorship opportunities, including our sponsorship packages, click HERE

For all questions, or to become an official sponsor, please contact NIHB Public Health Program Associate: Sarah Price at 202-507-4078 or [email protected].

Posted: January 26, 2018

American Psychological Association (APA) Releases Stress and Health Disparities Report

The American Psychological Association (APA) recently released a report entitled Stress and Health Disparities: Contexts, Mechanisms, and Interventions Among Racial/Ethnic Minority and Low Socioeconomic Status Populations. The report includes information about American Indians where available and identifies issues such as discrimination, higher poverty rates, and lessened life spans. The report's executive summary states that stress has been identified by the WHO (2008) as one of the top ten "determinants of disparities in health. This report presents a state-of-the-science overview of research examining stress as a driver of disparities in health. Stress occurs when individuals experience demands or threats without sufficient resources to meet these demands or mitigate the threats (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). We document disparities in stress exposures; explore biopsychosocial mechanisms that may link stress to health, with a particular focus on disparities in depression, cardiovascular disease, and cancer; and identify interventions on the individual, family, community, and national levels that may reduce stress and the effects of stress on health among health disparity populations. The aim is to identify actions that APA and others can take to reduce stress and stress-related health disparities."

Read the report HERE

Posted: January 26, 2018

Yup'ik Communities Turn to Indigenous Knowledge to Prevent Risk for Youth Suicide and Alcohol Abuse

"Culture plays a substantial role in reducing disparities among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations; experts acknowledge culture's critical importance to intervention success and sustainability," begins a recently published article from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. "For more than a decade, researchers at the Center for Alaska Native Health Research have been collaborating with Yup'ik communities to address challenges facing Alaskan youth. The Qungasvik (qoo ngaz vik) or 'tools for life' prevention model is grounded in Yup'ik cultural and an indigenous knowledge framework. Through a self-determined, local community-developed and staffed intervention, the Qungasvik prevention model helps improve the lives and health of Yup'ik community members."

Click here to continue reading and learn about the qasgiq ("organizing structure and modeling system that reflects and transmits core Yup'ik principles, ideologies, and theories) and the Yup'ik "cultural model of intervention, community healing, and repair."

"We need the research to demonstrate that our culture [...] is our prevention, it is intervention," a man in the article states. "Every community has a local cultural process of coming together, of organizing its work, and of intervening effectively. In Yup'ik communities, this spirit of community is always present, and not only in times of problems and crisis."

Read the article HERE

Posted: January 26, 2018

Study Shows that Even Short Term Exposure to Air Pollution Increases Mortality among Elderly

As reported in a press release by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health on December 26, 2017, short-term exposures to fine particulate air pollution and ozone-even at levels well below current national safety standards-were linked to higher risk of premature death among the elderly. The importance of this study is that the US Environmental Protection Agency is required to reexamine its National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) every five years and these results suggest that current national air quality safety levels may need to be reevaluated.

Posted: January 26, 2018

Alex Azar Confirmed as Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services

On January 24, 2018 the Senate confirmed in a vote of 55-43, Alex Azar as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Deputy Director, Eric Hargan has been serving as acting Director, following former Secretary Price's resignation on September 29, 2017.

Azar's previous experience includes work as a pharmaceutical executive and a twice-confirmed HHS official during the George W. Bush administration. Supporters of Azar have noted his oversight of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (which created Medicare Part D) and Medicare Advantage as evidence of his expertise.

During his Senate confirmation hearing on January 9, 2018, Azar pledged to prioritize lowering drug prices, tackling the Opioid Crisis, stated his in interest in moving towards value-based purchasing (away from the Fee-for-Service model) and suggested that he favored block grants for the Medicaid program.

Washington Post: Alex Azar Confirmed by Senate as New Head of Health and Human Services

Posted: January 18, 2018

NIHB Releases Call for Proposals for the 9th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit
Due Friday, February 23, 2018
Summit May 22-24, 2018 in Prior Lake, MN

Public health practitioners, researchers, and policy experts are invited to submit abstracts for 90 minute workshops and 60 minute roundtables for the NIHB 2018 National Tribal Public Health Summit, taking place May 22-24 at the Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, Minnesota. NIHB encourages presentations highlighting evidenced-based, best, wise, or promising practices developed in and for Tribal communities. NIHB highly encourages dynamic, interactive sessions that will draw upon the skills, knowledge and experience of session participants. NIHB is particularly interested in interactive presentations that provide tools along with information and research, so that participants can make the knowledge they gain actionable. NIHB is also looking for presentations highlighting the social determinants of health (i.e. socioeconomic status, access to education and employment, the physical environment, etc.) as they pertain to the issues discussed.

This year's summit emphasizes balance, harmony, culture and health, so please consider topics and content that focus on these interconnections within one of the six summit tracks: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Public Health Infrastructure and Capacity, Public Health Policy, Substance Misuse and Behavioral Health, Climate Change and Environmental Health, and Cancer Prevention and Treatment.

For more information and to submit your proposal, CLICK HERE

Posted: January 18, 2018

Safe Sleep for Babies: Vital Signs Report Signals Need for More Caregivers to Follow Safe-Sleep Practices

The CDC analyzed Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data to describe sleep practices for babies. PRAMS is a state-based surveillance system that monitors self-reported behaviors before, during, and after pregnancy among women with a recent live birth since late 1980s. Date reported from 2015 about unsafe sleep positioning (i.e. placing the baby on his or her side or stomach to sleep), bed sharing, and the use of soft bedding (i.e. pillows, blankets, bumper pads, stuffed toys, and sleep positioners) were examined. Each year about 3,500 sleep related deaths occur among US babies.

In 2015, within states included in the analysis:
About 1 in 5 mothers (21.6 percent) reported placing their baby to sleep on their side or stomach More than half of mothers (61.4 percent) reported any bed sharing with their baby 2 in 5 mothers (38.5 percent) reported using any soft bedding in the baby's sleep area

Read the entire Vital Signs report HERE

For more information on safe sleep practices, see the AAP Policy Statement, "SIDS and Other Sleep-Related Infant Deaths: Updated 2016 Recommendations for a Safe Infant Sleeping Environment," HERE

Parents may find it helpful to visit the Safe to Sleep® website® HERE for additional information and materials.

Posted: January 11, 2018

Job Opportunity: Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Health and Human Services Community Health Educator

The Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Health and Human Services Community Health Educator is responsible for influencing and motivating American Indian and Alaska Natives to adopt health lifestyles through promoting health care resources, products, services, policies, procedures, and planning for a variety of health related issues. The Tribal Health and Human Services department implements continuous quality improvement practices. To learn more about this opportunity, click here.

Posted: January 6, 2018

CDC Releases a HAN Advisory on Seasonal Flu Activity

CDC has released a Health Alert Network (HAN) Advisory regarding seasonal Influenza A(H3N2) due to increased influenza activity. This advisory promotes considering treatment with an antiviral medication for patients earlier in the course of illness, particularly for high risk (elderly, pregnant, and hospitalized) patients. The advisory also encourages vaccination, as vaccines still remain the best tool to prevent influenza despite reduced vaccine efficacy.

To view the advisory, CLICK HERE

Posted: January 6, 2018

Apply to the CDC Public Health Associate Program as a Host Site or an Associate

Host site applications open January 2-18, 2018, and associate applications open January 2-8, 2018

The application period for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Public Health Associate Program (PHAP) will be open for potential host sites from January 2-18, 2018, and for potential associates from January 2-8, 2018.

PHAP is a two-year, paid training program with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. PHAP associates are assigned to various public health agencies (host sites) across the United States and US territories, including Tribal health departments.

Tribes can benefit greatly from hosting a PHAP associate. Assignees bring their skills to the host agency, foster a partnership between their host site and CDC, facilitate access to CDC resources, trainings and subject matter expertise, and build Tribal capacity by filling human resource gaps. In return, the Tribe will offer the PHAP associate opportunities to grow as an early-career public health professional.

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) early-career professionals in public health should also consider applying to be PHAP associate. PHAP offers the opportunity for recent bachelor's and master's degree students to be recognized as a CDC employee, gain valuable skills in public health, receive mentoring from both their host site and from CDC professionals, and contribute to improving public health in their assigned community.

For more information, or to apply as a host site or PHAP associate, CLICK HERE

Posted: December 12, 2017

New Research: Investing in Public Health May Reduce Medicare Spending

Results from a new study published in the December issue of the journal Health Services Research by researchers at the University of Kentucky, suggest new directions for containing costs by aligning medical and public health programs. The findings suggest that the federal Medicare program could realize an average of $1.10 in savings for each $1.00 invested in local public health activities over time.

The researchers measured the amount of money spent annually by hundreds of local public health agencies in hundreds of communities, and linked these data with measures of Medicare spending per beneficiary in the same local areas, along with detailed information on demographic, economic and community characteristics. Using an advanced statistical methodology known as instrumental variables analysis, the researchers estimated how public health spending influenced Medicare spending over time, while controlling for other factors that tend to obscure the true causal relationship between these two types of spending. The results show that Medicare spending per beneficiary fell by about 1 percent for each 10 percent increase in public health spending per resident, with even larger offsets observed in low-income and medically underserved communities.

The article concludes that expanded financing for public health activities may provide an effective way of constraining Medicare spending, particularly in low-resource communities.

Read the press release

Posted: December 12, 2017

Success Story from Northwest Tribes: Native CARS (Children Always Ride Safe) Partnership to Improve Child Passenger Safety

In the beginning of the 2000s, Northwest Tribes noticed that vehicle accidents leading to injuries and death were impacting their communities. The Northwest Tribal EpiCenter (NWTEC) confirmed this disparity and noticed, finding that American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) were experiencing the highest death rate compared to other groups as a result of vehicle accidents. The NWTEC contacted experts and formed partnerships to investigate if this mortality rate might be connected to the low use of safety seats. Partnerships included the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC). The group explored this data for six Tribes and found that correct safety seat usage was low - between 25 and 55 percent only.

The six Tribes are: Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Klamath Tribes, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and Spokane Tribe...

Read More

Posted: December 12, 2017

Prevention and Unintentional Injuries in American Indian Communities: 5 Day Course
January 8-12, 2018 from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm

Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health is offering a course on injury prevention. Injuries are the leading cause of death for American Indians ages 1-44 and the third leading cause of death overall. This 5-day day learning opportunity will explore the unique injury patterns experienced by American Indian communities and teach students how to design, implement and evaluate injury prevention initiatives in their community. Throughout the course, students will work to develop basic knowledge and skills relating to all core competencies of injury prevention. Although some competencies will be addressed in greater detail than others, students will be given as many opportunities as possible, within the constraints of the 5-day training, to practice these skills. Practical application sessions will provide hands-on, facilitated, skills-development experience.

Tuition: $1091 per credit for credit, $818 for non-credit.

For more information, CLICK HERE

Posted: December 5, 2017

Sexual Violence Resources

The recent #metoo social media campaign has highlighted important, but often overlooked, public health issues: sexual violence and intimate partner violence (IPV). In the US, Native Americans are at greatest risk of sexual violence and are twice as likely as all races to experience rape or sexual assault compared [source].

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently published guidelines - for the first time - "to help front-line healthcare workers give high-quality, compassionate, and respectful care to children and adolescents [...] who have experienced sexual abuse." View the WHO document HERE or read a WHO article about the #metoo campaign and public health HERE. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer additional, US-specific resources for sexual violence HERE.

Learn more about sexual assault or get help for yourself or someone you know at the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) HERE.

Posted: December 5, 2017

IHSIHS FY2015 Report to Congress on Sanitation Deficiency Levels for Indian Homes and Communities

The purpose of the IHS FY2015 Report to Congress on Sanitation Deficiency Levels for Indian Homes and Communities report is to satisfy the requirements for Sanitation Facilities Construction (SFC) Program reporting under section 302 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), codified as amended at 25 U.S.C. § 1632(g). The information in this report to Congress is used by the Indian Health Service (IHS) to establish budgetary funding requests and to allocate funding resources received. Additionally, the United States (U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, and the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation utilize the information contained in this report to aid in the implementation of their programs that support Tribal water, sewer and solid waste infrastructure. Access the report HERE.

Posted: December 5, 2017

Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice Articles Available

The most recent issue of the Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice contains information about the Office of Minority Health (OMH) and the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA). There are several articles available addressing health equity, funding, health equity mapping, capacity building, cross sector collaborations, and other important topics related to health disparities. There is also an article, "Achieving Health Equity for Indian Country."

Download the articles HERE.

Posted: December 5, 2017

November is Bladder Health Month - Bladder Health Information and Resources

November is Bladder Health Month. Bladder health can include a wide range of issues such as bladder cancer, incontinence, bedwetting, and urinary tract infections (UTIs) [source]. It is estimated that one in ten veteran injuries since 2003 have affected the genitourinary system [source]. Some people do not feel comfortable talking about bladder problems, although these problems may be common - and sometimes serious [source].

Learn more about these conditions, basic information about the bladder, and ways to keep your bladder healthy HERE and HERE.

Read a journal article about a bladder health research study conducted with American Indian women in South Dakota HERE.

Posted: December 5, 2017

Meeting Report: Increasing Colorectal Cancer Screening for American Indians and Alaska Natives

The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT) recently published (November 2017) a report from a meeting co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society which was held in April 2016 in Michigan to discuss colorectal cancer screening in American Indian/Alaska Native communities.

The report "provides an overview of the burden of colorectal cancer among AI/AN, summarizes meeting presentations and discussions, and presents the participants' collaborative 'framework for change' tool that identifies goals, priority tactics, barriers, and potential communities of solution and roles."

Learn more or download the report HERE.

Posted: December 5, 2017

Advancing Health Equity in Tribal Communities through Public Health Accreditation

The Office of Minority Health and National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities has posted a webinar discussing public health accreditation and the work that has been done at the National and Tribal levels to advance health equity and improve health outcomes for AI/AN. The webinar features Karrie Joseph from National Indian Health Board and Carrie Sampson from Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center.

You can view this webinar HERE.

For more information about public health accreditation and NIHB's Tribal Accreditation Support Initiative (ASI), click HERE.

Posted: December 5, 2017

IHS American Indian/Alaska Native Community Crisis Response Guidelines

The Indian Health Service (IHS) has announced the online publication of the IHS American Indian/Alaska Native Community Crisis Response Guidelines. This resource was developed by the IHS Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) and the Suicide Care Workgroup under the National Combined Council.

The guidelines are an effort to address the importance of federal and Tribal partnerships in addressing suicide behavior-related crises. These guidelines recommend responsibilities and procedures for Tribes, who receive services through IHS, in requesting assistance in suicide prevention and early/post intervention from the DBH.

You can view these guidelines HERE.

For questions, contact Pamela End of Horn at [email protected] or 301-443-8028.

Posted: December 5, 2017

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Request for Comment on Proposed Update to the NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy's Access Model for Genomic Summary Results
Deadline: December 12, 2017

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking public comments regarding a proposed update to the access procedures for genomic summary results under the Genomic Data Sharing (GDS) Policy. Genomic summary results, also known as "aggregate genomic data" or "genomic summary statistics" are primary analyses of genomic research that convey information relevant to understanding genomic associations with traits or diseases across entire datasets rather than data specific to any one individual research participant. The goal of this proposed update is to align NIH's genomic data management procedures for genomic summary results with the current understanding of risks and benefits to research participants while at the same time trying to promote maximum public benefit from NIH-funded research investments.

Responses will be accepted through December 12, 2017.

To view the notice, click HERE

To submit a response, click HERE

Posted: November 30, 2017

Post-Doc Position Available: Center for Injury Research and Policy Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

The Center for Injury Research and Policy, located in The Research Institute of Nationwide Children's Hospital, is seeking applicants for a post-doctoral fellow in injury epidemiology. The center ( is one of 10 CDC-funded Injury Control Research Centers...

Read More

Posted: November 27, 2017

Public Health Thank You Day

November 20, 2017 was Public Health Thank You Day. This time of year is a time for many people to reflect on gratitude. The Monday before Thanksgiving is set aside each year to thank public health professionals "who work tirelessly every day to protect the health of all people and all communities." The American Public Health Association has written a blog about the day and the importance of social determinants of health.

If you are a public health worker, thank you for your work benefiting Tribal communities!

Learn more about the day HERE or read the blog post HERE

Posted: November 27, 2017

Keystone Pipeline Leak in South Dakota

On Thursday, November 16th, the Keystone Pipeline leaked about 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota. According to David Flute, Tribal Chairman of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, this leak took place approximately 20-25 miles from the Lake Traverse Reservation. The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe is waiting to hear if any water sources were contaminated, particularly because some residents of the reservation use well water in their homes. Currently, South Dakota officials are stating that they do not believe there is any water contamination [SOURCE]. However, concern stems from previous oil and brine spills in the US, which have affected the drinking water of Tribal Nations [SOURCE].

This leak occurred before a Monday, November 20, 2017 vote by the Nebraska Public Service Commission to move forward with the Keystone XL Pipeline. There has been concern from many Tribal members regarding the Keystone XL, which would connect with the existing Keystone Pipeline. Dallas Goldtooth with the indigenous Environmental Network has pointed out that 15 Tribal nations live along the proposed route, and has suggested that it poses a risk to the drinking water of over 65,000 Indigenous people [SOURCE].

For more information:
New York Times Article: HERE
PBS News Hour Article: HERE
CBC News Article: HERE
National Indian Health Board Resolution 16-02, which lists previous oil and brine spills which affected the drinking water of Tribes: HERE
Indigenous Environmental Network: HERE

Posted: November 27, 2017

Native News: Climate Discussions

Native News recently shared a radio blurb with interviews from several people working on Tribal climate health issues who were present at the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual conference.

Listen to the blurb HERE

Posted: November 27, 2017

CDC Report on Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities Among Rural Adults

Rural communities often have worse health outcomes, have less access to care, and are less diverse than urban communities. Much of the research on rural health disparities examines disparities between rural and urban communities, with fewer studies on disparities within rural communities. This report provides an overview of racial/ethnic health disparities for selected indicators in rural areas of the United States.

Access the report HERE

Posted: November 27, 2017

Health Disparities Among American Indians and Alaska Natives: Enormous Hurdles and Opportunities to Advance Health Status

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) recently published an "insights" post on health disparities in American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. This post describes the disparities, socioeconomic effects, risk factors, recommendations, and strengths.

Read the article HERE

Posted: November 27, 2017

Flu Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have flu resources available online - including brochures and posters. These materials can be downloaded or printed at no cost, and some materials can also be ordered and shipped to your facility.

View or access the resources HERE or learn more about seasonal flu HERE

Posted: November 27, 2017

Nature and Health Webinar Recording Available

Sally Jewell, former Secretary of the Interior, and her team "were deeply engaged in rebuilding a trusting, nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous communities in the U.S. She recently hosted a webinar through the Voices in Leadership series at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. This webinar was recorded and can be viewed online.

View the webinar HERE

Posted: October 30, 2017

National Indian Health Board Celebrates Indigenous Pink Day on October 19, 2017

On October 19th, staff at the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) celebrated Indigenous Pink Day to support breast cancer awareness among American Indian and Alaska Native people. The American Indian Cancer Foundation reports that breast cancer is the most common cancer in AI/AN women and the second greatest cause of cancer death.

Learn more about breast cancer and Indigenous Pink Day HERE

Posted: October 30, 2017

President Trump Declares Opioid Epidemic a Nationwide Public Health Emergency

On Thursday, October 26, 2017, President Trump, through the Public Health Services Act, directed the Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan, to declare a nationwide public health emergency on the opioid epidemic. The opioid epidemic has been one of the most fatal public health epidemics in recent years, claiming roughly 140 lives nationwide every day, with over 33,000 opioid related overdose deaths in 2015 alone. Within American Indians and Alaska Native communities, there has been a fourfold increase in opioid related overdose deaths from 1989 to 2009.

This declaration falls short of a national disaster declaration under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Existence Act, which would have allowed for immediate access to additional federal funding to combat the crisis. Instead, the declaration will expand access to telemedicine services in rural communities, direct federal agencies to reduce administrative delays in administering existing grants, and redirect funds from other existing federal grants to combat the opioid crisis. The Trump Administration states that they will work with Congress to approve additional funding towards combating the epidemic. The National Indian Health Board is closely monitoring this developing declaration and will provide further updates as the direct effects of the declaration continue to evolve.

If you have any questions, please contact Shervin Aazimi, NIHB Public Health Project Coordinator, at [email protected] or at 202-507-4088.

Posted: October 30, 2017

Plain Language Resources and Health Literacy Information

Materials, information, and resources about plain language are available online from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These types of materials can help improve health literacy and help Tribes design posters, written texts, and other educational materials that patients can easily understand.

Health literacy is the ability to read and understand information about health. An Indian Health Service (IHS) paper from 2009 reports that nearly half the US population has low health literacy skills, particularly vulnerable people like American Indian/Alaska Native people, elders, and people in poverty; unfortunately, low health literacy can lead to worse health outcomes [Source].

View CDC links and resources HERE and HERE

Learn more about health literacy and American Indians/Alaska Natives HERE

Posted: October 30, 2017

Tool: Mapping Broadband Health in America

The Mapping Broadband Health in America platform allows users to visualize, overlay and analyze broadband and health data at the national, state and county levels. The maps are an interactive experience, enabling detailed study of the intersection between connectivity and health for every county in the United States. The resulting maps can be used by both public and private sectors, and local communities, to identify opportunities and gaps in connectivity and care.

Sample maps include: Rural Broadband and Physician Shortages, Broadband and Diabetes in Rural America, and Broadband Access and Obesity.

Learn more and view the mapping tool HERE

Posted: October 23, 2017

Major Hurricanes: Potential Public Health and Medical Implications

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) was created to meet the information and technical assistance needs of regional ASPR staff, healthcare coalitions, healthcare entities, healthcare providers, emergency managers, public health practitioners, and others working in disaster medicine, healthcare system preparedness, and public health emergency preparedness.[Source]

Since this year's hurricane season was so severe and since many areas of the US have experienced extreme weather and storms, ASTR TRACIE has developed a document of considerations for these circumstances. These considerations include:

  • Overarching concerns such as family reunification, behavioral health needs, and risk communication;
  • Immediate considerations such as lack of water or power, transportation needs, and medical care;
  • Short-term considerations such as worsened health for persons with medical conditions, mosquito abatement, mold, and food safety; and
  • Long-term considerations and recovery such as loss of providers or facilities, and changes to the baseline health in a community.

Preparedness is important. View the document HERE

Posted: October 23, 2017

Resources on Mass Violence

After the tragic and deadly mass shooting on October 1 in Las Vegas, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has created a collection of resources on a variety of mass violence topics, intended to assist responders, clinicians, health care coalitions, and communities with planning for, responding to, and recovering from mass violence events.

The list includes extensive information about terrorism (increasingly transitioning to smaller attacks caused by individuals or small groups), workplace violence, disaster behavioral health, responder safety and health, explosives and mass shootings, and more.

View the resource list HERE

Posted: October 23, 2017

Climate Change and Health: A Framework for Action

The Public Health Institute's Center for Climate Change and Health developed a framework for action on climate health. Their website states: "Public health engagement is critical to ensure that the public health sector prepares for climate impacts, and that climate change strategies promote optimal health and reduce health inequities. Our research delves deeper into the complex barriers to this important work, and identifies a number of immediate opportunities for public health and partners to work together towards improved health, equity, and climate change outcomes. These research findings helped to guide us in development of the framework we present [...] and in our recommendations for action."

View the framework HERE or read the full accompanying report,
Climate Change, Health, and Equity: Opportunities for Action HERE

Learn more about NIHB and the Climate Ready Tribes project or view NIHB's list of climate health resources HERE

Posted: October 23, 2017

Indian Health Service Publishes a Paper Indicating AI/AN Childhood Obesity May Have Stabilized

Indian Health Service (IHS) published an article to the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) reporting good news- the prevalence of overweight and obesity in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children may have stabilized for the past decade. This study is the largest and most comprehensive data set ever used to address obesity in AI/AN children. More than 184,000 children aged 2-19 years were included in each year from 2006-2015.

While the data still shows a higher prevalence of obesity in AI/AN children when compared to the greater population, this data will allow IHS, Tribal, and urban Indian programs to determine the best practices that ensure that all children have the opportunity for a healthy future.

To learn more about this study, click HERE

Posted: October 23, 2017

Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee Meets with Acting IHS Director

Tribal leaders from nine Indian Health Services Areas participated in the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee (TLDC) meeting at the We-Ko-Pa Conference Center in Fort McDowell, AZ on October 16-18, 2017. More than 60 people from Tribal...

Read More

Posted: October 12, 2017

New Report--American Indian and Alaska Native Communities and Genetics Research

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the NIH Tribal Health Research Office (THRO) put together a genetics research resource for the recent Tribal Data Sharing & Genetics workshop at the University of New Mexico. The resource includes brief descriptions of NHGRI-funded education and research projects with American Indians and Alaska Natives, definitions of terms used in genetics research, and links to more in depth resources. The resource can be accessed on the THRO website.

To read the report, click HERE

Posted: October 12, 2017

What is "One Health"?

"One Health" is a term that refers to the relationships between the health of animals, humans, and the environment. Did you know that OVER HALF of all infections in humans are spread by animals? One Health is an increasingly important idea discussed in public health. Since indigenous people often live in close contact with nature, One Health topics may be of special concern but may also already be well understood by many American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people according to traditional beliefs about health.

The image below shows how cows contaminated with bacteria E. coli can cause people to get sick or die from eating salad.

Image from CDC

Here are some other examples of the connections between the health of animals, humans, and the environment:

  • Bats and other animals infected with rabies can spread rabies to humans. Rabies is a fatal disease if not treated quickly after potential exposure.
  • Birds play an important role in West Nile virus. Birds infected with West Nile can spread the virus to other mosquitoes. Those mosquitoes can spread West Nile virus to humans. Unlike Zika virus, West Nile virus can not be spread from a human to a mosquito. Therefore, birds play a critical role.
  • Influenza (the flu) can be a serious illness. Pigs and chickens can play a role in spreading flu or creating new types of flu. Increased animal monitoring and greater compliance with farm standards can help prevent a pandemic - a worldwide outbreak of flu, which may be deadly. [By the way, don't forget to get your flu vaccine this year. Vaccines are now available.]

Learn more about One Health HERE

Posted: October 4, 2017

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.

Read More

Posted: October 4, 2017

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.

Read More

Posted: October 4, 2017

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.

Read More

Posted: September 7, 2017

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.

Read More

Posted: September 7, 2017

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). Unfortunately, many Americans are not well prepared for disasters and other emergencies. has posted excellent information about National Preparedness month. This includes a social media toolkit, toolkits for different natural disasters, recorded webinars, training opportunities and courses, and information to help average individuals provide emergency help until additional help arrives.

The National Red Cross has also provided information about individual and family preparedness, such as creating a "family game plan" for emergencies. You can also view a family disaster plan template, learn about creating an emergency preparedness/survival kit (including first aid kit and many other items), and learn about CPR/First Aid and other training opportunities.

Information about Zika preparedness can be found in the resources section of this week's newsletter, HERE

Posted: September 7, 2017

Article Analyzes State Data and Finds American Indian Women with Medicaid are Less Likely to Use Mammograms

A mammogram is a screening test that can be used to detect breast cancer. Getting regular mammograms as recommended can detect breast cancer early and prevent death or suffering. A report published September 2017 in the journal Preventive Medicine used 2006-2008 Medicaid data to determine racial, ethnic, and geographic differences in mammography usage among women who have Medicaid coverage. Forty-four (44) states were studied, and while results varied by region, the study found that American Indian and African American women were significantly less likely to obtain mammogram screenings compared to while women. The study also concluded that disparities exist at the state level, suggesting that it is valuable to separate data by state and by type of insurance coverage; analyzing all data together at the national level can hide disparities and prevent recognizing populations that need additional assistance.

View the article HERE (abstract and highlights are free; may need to purchase full article)

Posted: September 5, 2017

"Tobacco: Honoring our Traditions and our Health," Video on Tobacco Prevention Efforts in Wisconsin Tribal Communities

The American Public Health Association and the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council have announced a new video, Tobacco: Honoring our Traditions and our Health. This short video, produced by the Tribal Public and Environmental Health Think Tank, depicts tobacco prevention efforts in Wisconsin Tribal communities, highlighting the importance of reclaiming traditional tobacco. The historical use of tobacco in Indian culture is explored in the video, and it also tells the story of an Indian casino going smoke-free and thriving.

To view the video, click HERE

Posted: September 5, 2017

National Partnership for Action (NPA) Blog Post, "Unintentional Injuries: Leading Cause of Death for American Indians and Alaska Natives"

Among the myriad challenges faced by American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), unintentional injuries remains one of the leading causes of death. A number of factors may explain why this is the case. This blog addresses the greater challenge of how to reduce unintended deaths and injuries among AI/ANs.

To read the full blog post, click HERE

Posted: September 5, 2017

Journal of Health Disparities Research and Practice, "Achieving Health Equity in Indian Country."

The essence of health equity is giving resources where they are needed most. American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) continue to have the worst health outcomes, live in some of the most desperate of conditions, and lack access to even basic amenities that many other Americans could not survive without. Although Tribes have been plagued with social, economic and political injustice for centuries, there is an opportunity to put a stop to the systematic oppression and build up the first peoples of this country. A partnership between the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) and the National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health (HHS OMH) has taken a proactive and strategic approach to build the public health capacity of Tribal health departments through information gathering and dissemination, capacity building and awareness raising.

To download the report, click HERE

Posted: August 28, 2017

Comment on Proposed Revisions to the CDC Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP) Standards
Deadline Tuesday, September 12

CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation (DDT) established and administers the National DPP's Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program (DPRP), which recognizes organizations that deliver diabetes prevention programs according to evidence-based requirements set forth in the "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recognition Program Standards and Operating Procedures" (DPRP Standards). Additionally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) expansion of CDC's National DPP was announced in early 2016, when the Secretary of Health and Human Services determined that the Diabetes Prevention Program met the statutory criteria for inclusion in Medicare's expanded list of healthcare services for beneficiaries. Written comments must be received by September 12. Read more HERE.

Posted: August 28, 2017

Mental Health and Spiritual Care in Emergencies Webinar
Tuesday, August 29 at 1pm ET

Preparedness is an important part of public health. Mental and spiritual health are also important parts of overall health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) are hosting a webinar to discuss topics including stress, stigma, isolation, populations more likely to be adversely affected by specific emergencies, and effective communication to address mental health concerns. The webinar will also discuss integrating principles of mental health into faith-based settings.

The webinar will be held on Tuesday, August 29 at 1pm ET.

Learn more or join the webinar HERE

Posted: August 28, 2017

ZikaQuestionsAsk Questions About Zika!

Image from Pixabay

You may have heard information about Zika in the news or on social media. Some information may be incorrect or confusing, or maybe you have questions but are unsure where to find answers. NIHB would like to support you to access correct and reliable information about Zika. You can submit questions to NIHB's Zika Question and Answer box HERE

You can submit anonymously or provide name and email address for direct NIHB contact. Relevant questions will be posted anonymously and answered online at the Zika Frequently Asked Questions page on the NIHB Zika hub, located HERE

Posted: August 7, 2017

New report from the IHS and University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, "Obesity and Overweight in American Indian and Alaska Native Children, 2006-2015"

The Indian Health Service (IHS) and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus released a joint paper on July 20 in the American Journal of Public Health, "Obesity and Overweight in American Indian and Alaska Native Children, 2006-2015." The report found that the prevalence of overweight and obesity among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children in this population may have stabilized. It is key to note that this is the largest, most comprehensive data set ever used to assess obesity in AI/AN children.

Read the full report HERE

Posted: August 7, 2017

Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee Receives an IHS Director's Award

Connie Barker, Chickasaw Nation Legislator and Co-Chair of the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee (TLDC), accepted an IHS Director's Special Recognition Federal Partnership Award on behalf of the 2016 TLDC in a ceremony at IHS Headquarters in Rockville, MD on July 28, 2017.

An Indian Health Service (IHS) Director's Award recognizes service significantly advancing the IHS mission and goals through enhancements supporting IHS priorities. Priorities include: renewing and strengthening Tribal partnerships; bringing reform to the IHS; improving quality and access to care for IHS patients; and ensuring transparency, accountability, fairness, and inclusion.

The Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee (TLDC) consists of Tribal leader representatives from each of the twelve IHS Areas, one federal co-chair, and five advisers. The TLDC provides leadership, guidance, and recommendations to the Indian Health Service (IHS) on issues related to diabetes and related chronic health conditions among American Indians and Alaska Natives. The TLDC has been providing recommendations to the IHS Director for close to 20 years on the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) since the program was first authorized by Congress in 1997. SDPI has been one of the more successful chronic disease treatment and prevention programs in the nation and certainly in Indian Country. However, despite the impressive clinical outcomes, the program is at risk. SDPI will expire next month in September 2017 if not reauthorized by Congress.

Posted: August 7, 2017

Food and Drug Administration Announces New Comprehensive Plan for Tobacco and Nicotine Regulation

On July 28, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new, comprehensive tobacco framework to significantly reduce tobacco-related disease and death. The approach places nicotine at the center of the agency's harm reduction efforts and ensures the FDA has the proper foundation to efficiently and effectively implement the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Since nearly 17.3 million Americans are predicted to die prematurely from cigarette smoking by mid-century, this announcement has significant public health implications, particularly for young people. The framework is intended to protect children and reduce tobacco-related morbidity and mortality.

The tobacco homepage on will be updated with new information regarding this announcement, including a link to the Commissioner's speech.

Read the full press announcement HERE

Posted: August 7, 2017

Fact Sheet Infographic: Special Diabetes Program for Indians, Changing the Course of Diabetes diabetINFOg

Download the Fact Sheet Infographic

Posted: August 7, 2017

Infographic: Medical High Utilization - A Complex Challenge That Can Be Prevented

In this resource, the Prevention Institute breaks down what high utilization is, how it comes about, and what can be done to lower it. Improving community conditions can complement existing healthcare strategies focused on reducing medical high utilization and its associated costs.

Download the Infographic

Posted: January 8, 2017

NIHB Announces Tribal-focused Zika Virus Summits

Zika Virus Response and Planning

The Zika Virus continues to emerge as an imminent public health threat to Tribal communities and families in southern regions of the United States. The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) seeks to assist with capacity building and prevention planning to target this issue. The Zika Virus is especially concerning for expectant mothers and their fetuses. To target this serious health threat, the NIHB is striving to share information and resources and to provide support for Tribal-specific mitigation strategies.

To learn more, please see the Save-the-Date Announcement


» View Older Public Health Alerts