Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs) work in partnership with the local or area Tribes to improve the health and well-being of their Tribal community members by offering culturally-competent approaches that work toward eliminating health disparities that are faced by AI/AN populations. Accomplishing this often requires the TECs to work with a coordinated approach with the Tribes, the Indian Health Service (IHS), other federal agencies, state agencies, and often academic institutions throughout the country.
Tribal Epidemiology Centers provide various types of support and services due to the variation of the TECs organization structure, divisions, Tribal populations, and their mission and goals. There are currently 12 Tribal Epidemiology Centers in the United States.
The TECs recently celebrated their 20th year working to improve public health capacity and the availability of valid and reliable data in AI/AN populations. Currently, the TECs serve all 12 IHS Areas and the Urban Indian population.
To improve the health of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) by:
- Identifying and understanding health problems and disease risks
- Strengthening public health capacity
- Developing solutions for disease prevention and control
- Increased awareness about public health needs in Indian Country
- Strengthening capacity & the practice of public health in Indian Country
- High level, responsive expertise on public health subject matter & methods
- Integrating public health practice into IHS/Tribal clinical & health services
- Continuous public health strategy & innovation
- Expanded & enhanced strategic partnerships
- Network of proactive, responsive to TECs or Tribes & regions
Test Your KnowledgeThe leading cause of death for American Indian/Alaska Natives is the same as for the U.S. nationwide is heart disease. Many factors affect whether or not a person develops heart disease. Important factors that increase a person’s risk is older age and family history – these things are beyond a person’s control. Some are related to a person’s behavior, such as if they smoke, what they eat, or how much they exercise. However, there are many factors beyond a person’s control that affect their ability to choose healthy behaviors. If a person is not able to afford healthy food – or if it’s difficult to find a store where fresh produce is sold, it’s difficult to eat a healthy, varied diet. If a neighborhood is dangerous, without sidewalks or street lights, or if there is violence in the neighborhood, it can be difficult to be physically active. Therefore, health-related behaviors are not just an individual decision that a person can choose to take part in.
Heron M. Deaths: Leading causes for 2013. National vital statistics reports; vol 65 no 2. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2016.
Heart Disease: Heart Disease Risk Factors, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Heart Disease: Heart Disease Behavior, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.