Success Stories

Success Stories

CTEC Success Story: CRIHB Releases Strategic Plan to Address Tribal Opioid Use

Success Stories
Over the past year, the California Tribal Epidemiology Center (CTEC), housed within the California Rural Indian Health Board, Inc.’s (CRIHB) Research and Public Health Department, has been working on developing a response to the opioid epidemic in California’s Tribal communities.


In December 2019, they released Healing Our California Tribal Communities: A Strategic Plan to Address Tribal Opioid Use.


The 52-page strategic plan presents an overview of the opioid epidemic and the impact on Tribal communities, and it provides a summary of key findings and Tribal community-driven solutions.

“The Strategic Plan to Address Tribal Opioid Use will provide California Tribes, Tribal Health Programs, and Tribal Local Opioid Coalitions with recommendations of community-driven solutions to address opioid use and abuse in their communities,” said Vanesscia Cresci, CRIHB’s Research and Public Health Director.

A team comprised of a CTEC epidemiologist, project coordinator, and program evaluator traveled to Tribal communities throughout Northern, Central, and Southern California to gather community data, distribute the opioid response capacity assessment survey, and conduct key informant interviews and focus groups.

CRIHB’s CEO, Dr. Mark LeBeau said, “I appreciate the hard work and efforts of CRIHB’s Research and Public Health team who developed the Strategic Plan to Address Tribal Opioid Use. CRIHB would like to thank the Tribal Opioid Advisory Committee for their helpful feedback, guidance, and support in creating the strategic plan.”



OKTEC Success Story: Portraits of Good Health and Wellness In Indian Country

Success Stories
Southern Plains Tribal Health Board – Tribal Epidemiology Center (SPTHB-TEC) presents “Portraits of Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country” made possible through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SPTHB-TEC is proud to share the stories and impact of four Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country programs located in the urban area of Tulsa, Oklahoma and rural areas of Pawhuska, Oklahoma and Anadarko, Oklahoma. The community programs highlighted are the running/walking club of the Wichita & Affiliated Tribes (Anadarko), Delaware Nation’s “Native Living” nutrition program (Anadarko), Osage Nation’s “Grow, Gather, Hunt Camp” (Pawhuska), and the “Running Strong” & “Sit Less, Move More, Learn Better” programs from the Indian Health Care Resource Center (Tulsa).


These projects utilize indigenous methods to promote healthy living and activity with positive life-style changes in their communities through policy, systems, and environmental changes.



For more information on how to become involved or to learn more about these projects, please contact Southern Plains Tribal Health Board’s “Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country” program.

Phone: (405) 652-9200



ITCA-TEC Success Story: Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) Workshop

Success Stories, TEC News
On July 18, 2019, the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona Inc. Tribal Epidemiology Center (ITCA TEC) partnered with the Cocopah Indian Tribe to conduct a modified Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) workshop. This pilot workshop was the first of its kind for the Cocopah Tribe and the ITCA TEC. The workshop was conducted in a modified form to take into account the relevant aspects of responding to an emergency on the Cocopah Indian Tribe Reservation. The main themes addressed in the workshop were: community orientation and safety information, survey design in Epi Info and Excel, database construction and basic reports in Epi Info and Excel, interviewing techniques and sensitivity, interview and survey completion live practice and data entry, analysis, and report construction live practice.

This workshop provided a forum for the emergency response partners in Yuma County, such as San Luis Walk-In Clinic, Regional Center for Border Health, Cocopah Environmental Protection Office, Cocopah Tribal Health Maintenance program, Cocopah Police Department, Cocopah Office of Emergency Management, Indian Health Service Fort Yuma Service Unit, Yuma County Public Health Services District, Somerton/Cocopah Fire Department, and Arizona Complete Health. During this workshop, the emergency response partners collaborated, and shared experiences and points of view in order to effectively respond to public health emergencies. Using the modified CASPER questionnaire as a framework, various tips in designing a survey questionnaire and interviewing were discussed and shared among the workshop participants.


Eighty seven percent of the workshop participants found the workshop useful to their work responsibilities. Building on the workshop experiences, the emergency response partners are better prepared to collaborate and respond to public health emergencies.



ITCA-TEC-2019-Success-Story-01Figure 1. Cocopah Indian Tribe Office of Emergency Management Manager welcoming the workshop participants.

ITCA-TEC-2019-Success-Story-02Figure 2. An example of inventorying available resources and descriptions from emergency response partners related to a public health emergency in Yuma County.

ITCA-TEC-2019-Success-Story-03Figure 3. Workshop participants discussing necessary data collection and interviewing techniques and sensitivity within a public health emergency response setting.



CTEC Success Story: 2019 Data, Evaluation, and Grant Writing Training

Success Stories
On April 23-24, 2019, the California Tribal Epidemiology Center (CTEC) sponsored the 2nd Annual Data, Evaluation, and Grant Writing training in Cabazon, California at the Morongo Casino Resort.

This two-day training was open to all California Tribal Health Programs, Tribes, Tribal organizations, and Urban Indian Health Programs including subcontractors of the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (GHWIC), Advancing California Opportunities to Renew Native Health Systems (ACORNS)/California Indian Tobacco Education (CITE), Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI)/ Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI) grantees, Tribal Medication Assisted Treatment, Project PaTHwAY, and Tribal Comprehensive Cancer Control Programs.


In total, CTEC hosted 50 representatives from 30 unique tribes or organizations.


“Using Data to Tell Your Story” was the theme for the training this year with the goal of giving participants the opportunity to participate in informative sessions on how to search and apply for grant funding, improve program sustainability, improve the quality of data being collected through primary and secondary sources, and learn innovative and culturally sensitive ways to use data to tell a story.

CTEC was honored to have expert guest speakers including keynote speakers Abigail Echo-Hawk, Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute and Chief Research Officer for the Seattle Indian Health Board and Theresa Ambo, President’s Postdoctoral Fellow from the Department of Education Studies at the University of California, San Diego. These speakers shared their expertise and their stories pertaining to data, evaluation, program sustainability, and community engagement to support health promotion efforts serving American Indian/Alaska Native communities across California.



CTEC-2019-Success-Story-03Attendee responses from post event evaluation question: “What was your greatest takeaway from this training event?”

CTEC-2019-Success-Story-04Attendee responses from post event evaluation question: “How will you apply this training experience to your own program practices, evaluation, and/or sustainability?”



TEC staff from across Indian Country gather in Anchorage to learn essential grant management skills

Success Stories

On July 24th and 25th, 25 Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TEC) staff, representing 10 different nationwide organizations, gathered to participate in the Management Concept’s Cost Principles for Federal Grants training, held in Anchorage, Alaska.

Sponsored by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Tribal Epidemiology Center’s Public Health Infrastructure Program’s (TECPHI) Network Coordinating Center (NCC) and the ANTHC Alaska Native Epidemiology Center (EpiCenter), the training provided participants with knowledge and experience in federal cost principles and how they affect awards including oversight, budget development and review, spending decisions, site visits, and audits. The instructor, Mr. Patrick Smith, provided many examples and led exercises applying cost principles to on-the-job scenarios.

Following the training, TEC staff had the opportunity to attend a Q&A discussion with Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthy Tribes Budget and Grants Management Coordinator, Kelly Bishop, who shared some of her knowledge working on CDC grants.

In addition to the training, the Creative Team from the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board, Alex Smith and Chris Reed, were onsite gathering footage for the “What is a Tribal Epidemiology Center?” digital storytelling project. Chris and Alex interviewed 10 TEC staff from 8 TECs, toured the ANTHC EpiCenter and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium campus, and did a fantastic job of making the interviewees feel at ease.

The finished video will communicate the role of TECs in serving Alaska Native/American Indian (AN/AI) Tribes, Tribal organizations, and Urban Indian organizations to improve health and well-being. The information will be shared with a variety of stakeholders including funders, decision makers, and community members through the TEC website (, individual TEC websites, the CDC website, and TEC social media accounts.

During breaks and in the evening, TEC staff networked and learned from each other. It was a busy and productive week!