The Role of Tribal Epidemiology Centers in Reaching American Indian/Alaska Native Populations
*Kristin Helene Hill, Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council
Keywords: Tribal Epidemiology Centers
Indigenous populations worldwide experience persistant health and economic disparity compared to their colonizing counterparts and, often compared to other minority populations. Historically, indigenous populations are undercounted and thus underrepresented and under resourced. In the United States, the American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) population is 1-2% of the overall population and survey data frequently combines AI/AN with other small minority populations when reported. On the other hand, AI/AN community members report "survey fatigue" when approached frequently for data collection or, may resist participation due to distrust of academia and governmental agencies.
Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs)were authorized for funding through the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1996. The Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center (GLITEC) was one of the first established and now in it's 15th year of operation serving Tribes, Service Units and Urban Indian Health Programs in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. TECs are tasked with increasing Tribal capacity to collect and use data and to advocate on the state and national level for improvements in AI/AN data quality.
This presentation will explore the barriers, strategies and results of Tribal Epidemiology Centers in their role to access and support the American Indian population as well as successful and unsuccessful efforts to reach and engage this population.