NNPHI’s mission is to support national public health system initiatives and strengthen public health institutes to promote multi-sector activities resulting in measurable improvements of public health structures, systems, and outcomes. To achieve better health and racial equity in the US, our public health system must develop strong and authentic partnerships with tribal and urban Indian public health partners. This engagement must respect tribal sovereignty and acknowledge the unique needs of the 574 federally recognized and over 200 tribes not yet recognized by the federal government. Public health institutes across the country support innovative public health systems improvement that results in healthier communities. NNPHI’s goal is to foster public health institute capacity that serves all tribes and urban Indian communities in the US. This commitment extends to building capacity for Indigenous-led and focused public health institutes, ensuring that resources flow to individual tribal and urban Indian organizations and that in-network public health programming respects tribal and data sovereignty.
Sincerely yours in health,
Vincent Lafronza, President and Chief Executive Officer
History of Tribal Public Health
Indigenous Public Health Institutes
NNPHI is committed to supporting public health institute capacity to serve all tribal and urban American Indian and Alaskan Native communities across the US. In 2012, an Indigenous focused organization, Red Star International, expressed an interest in exploring how the public health institute model could serve the needs of tribal and urban American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. Working closely together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the W.K Kellogg Foundation, NNPHI and Red Star supported a multi-year feasibility study of the gaps and needs of the tribal public health system. From that assessment, the team created a framework for a tribal public health institute. Tribal public health leaders from across the country were engaged as advisors on the project and provided valuable insights from a broad range of tribal and urban Indian perspectives. NNPHI served as the incubator for Seven Directions, A Center for Indigenous Public Health, the first Indigenous-led and focused public health institute. Seven Directions is now housed at the University of Washington. Two additional Indigenous-focused institutes have joined since Seven Direction, the American Indian Public Health Resource Center at North Dakota State University and the Center for Native American Health at the University of New Mexico.
Seven Directions: A Center for Indigenous Public Health is the first national public health institute in the United States to focus solely on improving Indigenous health and wellness. We are committed to cultivating and sharing knowledge, connecting communities and resources, and working to achieve shared goals for future generations.
The UNM Center for Native American Health mission is to deliver public health education, research, and service, aligned with principles of Indigenous core values and engagement in order to provide a healthy productive world for Indigenous people.
NDSU American Indian Public Health Resource Center mission is to address American Indian public health disparities through technical assistance, policy development, self-determination feasibility analysis, education, research, and programming in partnership with tribes, in North Dakota, across the Northern Plains, and the nation.
Opioid Overdose Prevention in Tribes: Technical Assistance through Public Health Institutes
To improve targeted opioid overdose prevention for American Indian and Alaska Native people, the National Network of Public Health Institutes is collaborating with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and Seven Directions, the nation’s first indigenous public health institute, on a multi-year project that is identifying best practices for epidemiological surveillance, tribal public health data infrastructure, coordination of care, and Indigenous evaluation methods to better address the needs of tribal communities to support opioid overdose prevention efforts.
Through this effort, Seven Directions supports tribal overdose prevention programs through the Indigenous Community of Practice Gathering Grounds, with dedicated sessions highlighting overdose prevention efforts, providing technical assistance directly to tribes, and through the development of translational research. This work is guided by the Opioid Technical Advisory Group (OTAG) who provides their expertise, strategic guidance, and feedback on project deliverables.
To learn more about this project, please contact Leah Ettman, Senior Public Health Analyst, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tribal Public Health Capacity
In 2018, NNPHI was awarded funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Tribal Alliances and Strategic Affairs (OTASA) to uphold the mission to affirm the government-to-government relationship between CDC and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes by advancing connections, providing expertise, and increasing resources to improve tribal communities’ public health.
The purpose of the project is to provide resources for Indian Country to optimize the quality and performance of tribal public health systems and to strengthen and improve the capacity of tribal public health systems to effectively respond to AI/AN public health challenges.,
25 tribal nations/organizations throughout the country are funded through this work to support capacity and maximize health system needs. You can view the full list of recipients here.
The recipients of this cooperative agreement are working on activities to enhance the quality and performance of the tribal public health system, including infrastructure, workforce, data and information systems, programs and services, resources and communication, and partnerships.
To learn more about this program, please contact Laura Sawney, Senior Tribal Programs Manager, email@example.com
Indigenous Public Health Leaders Program
In 2022 with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the US Department of Health and Human Services, NNPHI in partnership Seven Directions Indigenous Public Health Institute and the American Indian Public Health Resource Center, launched the first cohort of the Indigenous Public Health Leadership Program (IPHLP).
IPHLP is a leadership training institute for emerging public health leaders working within a tribal department of health (DOH) or in Indian Health Service/Tribal/Urban (I/T/U) healthcare facilities serving American Indian and Alaskan Native Communities.
The program is 6-months long and provides training in core public health competencies with a focus on key issues impacting tribal communities including mental health and resilience, emergency preparedness, and increased communication and collaboration amongst stakeholders.
To learn more about this program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries (STEADI)
The Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries (STEADI) project is the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control efforts in older adult fall prevention. NNPHI is collaborating with Seven Directions to survey Indian Health Services, tribal, and urban outpatient clinics to identify common problems and best practices that can be a springboard for providing fall prevention training and support. NNPHI and the American Indian Public Health Resource Center have collaborated on key informant interviews and interviews with tribal elders to understand barriers to older adult mobility in the context of the STEADI materials. Additionally, NNPHI is assisting the Injury Center with a reverse site visit to the CDC, incorporating the tribal perspective into the broader falls prevention context.
To learn more about this program, please contact Julia Bleser, Research and Evaluation Manager for Evidence to Action (E2A), email@example.com.
Evaluating Water Competency Skill Attainment for AI/AN Children
The CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has partnered with NNPHI and the American Red Cross to address the disparity in drowning rates for American Indiana and Alaska Native populations. Drowning death rates for American Indian or Alaska Native people ages 29 and younger are 2 times higher than the rates for White people, with the highest disparities among those ages 25-29 (rates 3.5 times higher). This partnership will include a survey and qualitative interviews of American Indian and Alaska Native parents and teens to understand barriers and facilitators to participation in swim lessons.
To learn more about this program, please email Julia Bleser, Research and Evaluation Manager for Evidence to Action (E2A), firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tribal Data Governance
This project will involve an examination of what is documented so far in the literature regarding tribal data sovereignty and management, then seek to conduct up to five listening sessions to gather information regarding current issues and concerns. This is a partnership with Seven Directions Indigenous Public Health Institute.
To learn more about this program, please contact Tracy Wharton, Principal Research Scientist for Evidence to Action (E2A), email@example.com.
Indigenous Social Determinants of Health
This project seeks to tap into Indigenous knowledge of the social determinants of health, supporting tribal health departments with identifying their own determinants and supporting partnerships and activities that address those determinants. The project supported a series of regional meetings with knowledge keepers, using talk-story and imagery, for content development. Building on the feedback gathered, this project will develop and test the components of a training series outline for tribal health departments. The series will train the public health department workforce on the definition, applications, and meaning behind Indigenous social determinants of health. It will provide tools to identify and describe Indigenous Social Determinants of Health and a forum for discussing long-term applications.
To learn more please email Erin Marziale, Director for Network Engagement at NNPHI, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indigenous Climate and Environmental Health
NNPHI’s Climate and Crisis Preparedness portfolio aims to elevate and incorporate indigenous voices who are experiencing catastrophic health outcomes due to climate change and decades of environmental injustices. CCP’s Climate and Environmental Health workgroup has indigenous representation from members from the Hawaii Public Health Institute and the Red Star International based in Tuscon, AZ. The Climate and Crisis Preparedness portfolio cross collaboration with NNPHI’s Tribal Leadership ensures that this population is appropriately recognized and included in future funding opportunities.
To learn more please email Diana Hamer, Director of Climate and Crisis Preparedness, email@example.com.
More to Come!