TEC News

TEC News

Multipathogen Outbreak of Bacillus cereus and Clostridium perfringens Among Hospital Workers in Alaska, August 2021

TEC News, TECs in the Media
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Sage Journals

Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus cereus are common causes of reported foodborne illness. On August 6, 2021, the Alaska Division of Public Health identified a multipathogen gastrointestinal outbreak among hospital staff in Homer, Alaska. The objectives of this study were to identify the outbreak source and prevent future illness.

Katherine Newell, DPhil, MPH, Kathryn Helfrich, MSN, MPH, Heidi Isernhagen, BA, Martin Jones, BS, Gabriela Stickel, MS, Haley McKeel, BS, Louisa Castrodale, DVM, MPH, Joseph McLaughlin, MD, MPH
May 13, 2023

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TEC Success Story: Tribal Epidemiology Centers 101

Success Stories, TEC News
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Presentation and Q&A Session with Dr. Kevin English, Director of the Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center.

Culminating a year of planning and presentations to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) Tribal Technical Advisory Group (TTAG) Data Subcommittee, Dr. Kevin English, Director of the Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center, presented “Tribal Epidemiology Centers 101” at the March 15, 2023 CMS TTAG meeting. The full TTAG is comprised of members representing each of the 12 geographic areas of the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the three national Indian organizations. The TTAG provides advice and input to CMS on policy and program issues impacting American Indians and Alaska Native people served by CMS programs.

In his presentation, Dr. English shared the mission and goals of the 12 Tribal Epidemiology Centers and the work they do at the request of, and in partnership with the Tribes, Tribal organizations, urban Indian organizations, and their communities. In total, about 50 TTAG committee members and other partners joined for the presentation and a robust Q&A discussion. Presentations to groups like the CMS TTAG are crucial for building awareness about the scope of services the TECs can provide. These activities were supported through a variety funding opportunities including the coordination and collaboration activities made possible by the Tribal Epidemiology Centers Public Health Infrastructure program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease and Prevention and Health Promotion, Healthy Tribes Program.


Tribal Epidemiology Centers 101


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For more information about each of the 12 TECs, visit https://tribalepicenters.org/12-tecs/.



Dr. CH Huntley’s Public Health Epidemiology Careers Podcast

TEC News, TECs in the Media
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Dr. CH Huntley

New Release

Episode #297

Enhancing Health Outcomes For Tribal Communities In The Northwest, With Victoria Warren-Mears, PhD

Our guest on this episode is Dr. Victoria Warren-Mears, who has been the director of the Northwest Tribal Epidemiology Center for 16 years. She develops programs and initiatives to enhance the health system and promote better health outcomes for tribes in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

April 24, 2023

Previous Episodes

Episode #293

Communicating Health Information In A Digital World, With Alex Smith

March 29, 2023

Episode #289

Evaluation, Epidemiology, and Community, With Weather Potdevin, MPH

February 28, 2023

Episode #250

From Kinesiology To Public Health, with LaRita Laktonen-Ward, MPH

May 31, 2022

Episode #241

Everyday Public Health, with Jordyn Fink

March 29, 2022

Episode #236

HIV Prevention and Epidemiology, With Courtney Allen, MPH

February 22, 2022

Episode #232

Holistic View Of Public Health And Tribal Communities, With Lucinda Cowboy, MS

January 25, 2022

Episode #224

Decolonizing Data With Dr. Rosalina James, Urban Indian Health Institute

November 30, 2021

Episode #219

Public Health Communication and Improving Data Access, with Joshua Smith

October 26, 2021

Episode #215

Administrative Support at Alaska Native Epidemiology Center, with Annie Okpealuk

September 28, 2021

Episode #211

Filling The Gap Between Clinical Health Care & Public Health, With Dr. Meghan O’Connell

August 31, 2021

Episode #206

Child Health and Wellness with Denny MedicineBird, Oklahoma Tribal Epidemiology Center

July 26, 2021

Episode #202

For the Community, By the Community, Interview with Alejandra Cabrera, MPH

June 29, 2021

Episode #184

United South and Eastern Tribes, Tribal Epidemiology Center, with Imani Ransby, MPH

February 23, 2021

Episode #180

Alaska Native Epidemiology Center, with Audrey Juliussen & Jordan Skan

January 25, 2021

Episode #176

Interview With Forrest Lester and Delores Becenti, Navajo Epidemiology Center

December 28, 2020

Episode #171

Interview With Dr. Amruta Dixit, Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center

November 23, 2020

Episode #167

Interview with Samantha Lucas-Pipkorn, Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center

October 27, 2020

Episode #163

Tribal Epidemiology Centers, Resources & COVID-19 Response

September 28, 2020

Episode #158

Interview with Chris TallBear, Oklahoma Tribal Epidemiology Center

August 24, 2020

Episode #154

Interview with Tommy Ghost Dog and Celena McCray, Northwest Tribal Epidemiology Center

July 27, 2020

Episode #150

Interview with Jonathan Davis, Arizona Tribal Epidemiology Center

June 29, 2020

Episode #145

Interview with Antoinette Medina, California Tribal Epidemiology Center

May 25, 2020

Episode #141

Interview with Wyatt Pickner and Crisandra Wilkie, Urban Indian Health Institute

April 27, 2020

Episode #137

Interview with Emily Good Weasel, MPH, Great Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center

March 30, 2020

ITCA-TEC Success Story: Regional Community Health Profile

Success Stories, TEC News
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One major project the ITCA TEC was able to complete was the Regional Community Health Profile (CHP). Additionally, increased training in statistical analysis along with enhanced coding software has allowed the TECPHI team an avenue to improve systems and efficiency in developing reports resulting in 43 Tribal-specific CHPS.

Using SAS software, the Tribal reports were all automated. While there is work to be done in terms of customization for each Tribe, formatting, and additional statistical analysis along with current counts, the TEC has made strides in being able to provide better information to those we serve. This is also impacted by the partnerships the TEC has been able to build and maintain and strong relationships with the Arizona, Nevada, and Utah health departments have allowed us to access updated data each year.

Over the last year the TEC has been able to update overall IHS data and get updated COVID information to be used in the future. In general, access to data has been greatly improved and will allow ITCA to provide more timely and relevant information to those in our service area.



CTEC Success Story: Investing in the future of public health

Success Stories, TEC News
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Each summer California Tribal Epidemiology Center (CTEC) invites college students and recent graduates to participate in the Summer Research Assistant Program (SRAP). Tribal and Urban Indian Health Programs can participate as host sites for Summer Research Assistants (SRA). The CTEC team serves as mentors for each SRA. This summer’s 2022 SRAP, seven SRAs are working on projects ranging from diabetes prevention, data collection, COVID-19 case data analysis, public health advisory, and accreditation processes.

We met with Chiagoziem Okonkwo, an SRA from the summer of 2021. Chiagoziem worked with the Indian Health Council (IHC) to create a multilevel prevention project to address commercial tobacco-related harms.


“I grew up in Nigeria. We are not taught anything at all about the Native American community or culture. It was so interesting to learn about research and the Native community as a whole. I felt like I was a big part of the IHC and what we were doing.”
– Chiagoziem Okonkwo


Builds Essential Skills

Chiagoziem reflected on the skills she gained during the SRAP. “I would say that the two big takeaways were how to conduct key informant interviews (KIIs) and the concept of community–based participatory research. I realized I would like to start an organization like CTEC in Nigeria. When it comes to communities that have been historically misrepresented in research, the Nigerian community definitely represents that. KIIs were interesting, learning how to conduct them and learning that I like to talk a lot.”

Guides Education and Career Choices

For Chiagoziem, the SRAP introduced the concept of presenting research in film formats. She recalls, “That was the first time I saw something like that, and it made me really interested in film, editing, and cinematography…CTEC played a role. I will
be graduating in June 2024 from UCLA with a Psychology Major with a minor in film.”

Makes a Difference

CTEC supported 22 SRAs from 2017 to 2022. Every SRA has a story about their experience and the difference that the SRAP made. For Chiagoziem, the difference was everything. “It did not happen on purpose, but I think back to the application process… it was the summer of my first year of my undergraduate. I felt unqualified. But being able to work toward it and actually get the SRA encouraged me that I could go after everything that I want. I would never know what the outcome would be… I should always try. That is one skill that I learned from my experience. Keep trying.”


Chiagoziem Okonkwo
Chiagoziem Okonkwo
Investing in the future of public health
Investing in the future of public health