Success Stories

Success Stories

UIHI Success Story: December 2017

Success Stories, TEC News
Creating Culturally Adapted Resources on PrEP
American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) are disproportionately affected by HIV. The CDC reported that HIV diagnoses increased in AI/AN from 2010-2014, while diagnoses most other race groups decreased (1). Despite this disparity, AI/AN communities are often left out of conversations on HIV prevention, which has directly resulted in a lack of patient education materials that are culturally appropriate for AI/AN people.

In particular, there are few AI/AN-specific patient education materials on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the pill that can prevent HIV. To address the need for AI/AN-specific PrEP education materials, Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) established a partnership with Project Inform, a national HIV and hepatitis C education and advocacy group to culturally adapt pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) education materials. These new materials were based off of information previously created by Project Inform.


To create these materials, UIHI conducted a survey on HIV knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs in self-identifying AI/ANs at local events. Results showed that 62% of respondents (195/317) had never heard of PrEP. In addition to the survey, UIHI worked on creating a brief educational postcard by adding appropriate AI/AN imagery, including an HIV awareness ribbon in the shape of a feather, and information regarding PrEP access at Indian health facilities.


Project Inform and other stakeholders (e.g. Urban Indian Health Program leaders, community members, etc.) reviewed the postcard and provided feedback on both the design and content. In addition, 10 AI/AN current or former PrEP users participated in key informant interviews to provide feedback on the postcard. The postcards will be distributed to all Urban Indian Health Programs and launched in 2018. In the future, UIHI will work with Project Inform to fulfill the need for materials targeted at AI/AN sub-populations, including Two Spirit people and heterosexual women.

1. CDC. (2015). HIV surveillance report: Diagnoses of HIV infections in the US and dependent areas, 2015.

PrEP Pamphlet Final Electronic

View/Download Electronic PrEP Pamphlet (PDF 989KB)

For more information on the HIV, STI, and Hepatitis C work being done at UIHI visit our website.


Call for Tribal Success Stories

Press Release, Success Stories, TEC News

Tribal nations are active and important contributors to public health, and tribal cultures have long fostered health and wellness among American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) invites you to share stories that show how you do just that, so they can be a part of an exciting new exhibit at the David J. Sencer CDC Museum in Atlanta.
Will you please widely share this call for stories with your tribal partners?
The exhibition — to be held from Sept 22, 2019, through May 1, 2020, in Atlanta—will recognize the public health contributions of the AI/AN community in a visually compelling, culturally appropriate manner. CDC’s exhibition will showcase how native traditions and wisdom have affected public health in the past and present, and how AI/AN people have made a difference in the health of their people.
Compared with other Americans, AI/AN people have higher rates of some diseases, disorders, and deaths. This call for stories offers an opportunity for individuals, tribes, tribal organizations, and others to showcase the strengths and resilience of tribal communities, their heritage and traditions, and how their culture addresses risk factors unique to tribes and promotes their health and well-being.
What Types of Stories Are Needed?
Please send stories that highlight how native traditions and wisdom have affected health, or show contributions of specific AI/AN individuals to health and wellness among AI/AN people. CDC will consider stories that represent the diverse array of tribes, tribal organizations, health issues, and people of Indian Country and AI/AN culture, such as:

  • Locations—reservation and non-reservation, urban, rural, all geographic areas across the United States
  • Health issues—environmental health, chronic diseases, infectious diseases, emergency preparedness and response, injury, behavioral health
  • People—individuals, tribes, organizations

How To Submit A Story?
Story submissions, which should be no more than two pages, single spaced, and size 12 font, can be emailed to by January 15, 2018. Please include website links to photos and pictures of objects that could be included in the exhibit, when available. 
All submissions must include the following:

  • Brief historical background information that puts the story in context. For example, what is the traditional or cultural practice? How did it contribute to health and wellness in AI/AN people in the past?
  • A description of how this tradition or culture affects people’s lives today. The impact could be lives saved, suffering reduced, fewer visits to health care facilities, adoption of a healthier lifestyle, or other similar benefits. This section should also describe how the practice is promoted among tribes and AI/AN people.
  • A list of potential photographs, pictures, documents, media, and objects that can be used to illustrate the story. Is there artwork or children’s drawings that represents the practice? Are there radio recordings, letters, posters, or other communications from public health efforts? Are there traditional objects that have evolved to become used in modern day? Are there objects that are still in use today? Please include images and files with the submission, if available.

CDC values the privacy and ownership rights of those in stories. As such, each agency, organization, or individual that contributes a story is responsible for obtaining any necessary permissions or releases from any parties involved in the story. 
How Will Submissions Be Evaluated?  
Submissions will be assessed based on the following criteria in the initial review:

  • Impact. Is the story educational, inspiring, and persuasive? Does it clearly convey how the culture or tradition being practiced promotes health and wellness? 
  • Visual components. Are there compelling, high-resolution photographs that illustrate the story? Are there physical objects that are available for use in a museum exhibit? Are there opportunities for interactive displays or actions that could be part of an exhibit?
  • Quality, clarity, and historical accuracy. Is the information presented accurately and clearly?

CDC intends to showcase a broad array of public health success stories from across Indian Country, so even if a story isn’t a part of the museum exhibit, it could still be showcased on other CDC channels, such as social media, websites, print materials, and presentations. We can’t wait to read your story!

USET TEC Success Story: November 2017

Success Stories, TEC News
Starting to Quit By: Angela Snell


Poarch Band of Creek Indians (PBCI) Tribal Nation was able to focus on their tobacco cessation program due to the CDC Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (GHWIC) grant. PBCI utilized the funding from the GHWIC to conduct a community health assessment. Through this assessment, Tribal Council could hear from Tribal citizens their desire for smoke-free buildings and protection from secondhand smoke. Policies were approved and changes made to prohibit smoking within 100 feet of the Health Center.


Every year, about 3,000 adult nonsmokers die from lung cancer and 35,000 from coronary heart disease nationwide. People exposed to secondhand smoke (the smoke that comes from the burning end of tobacco and exhaled smoke from smokers) greatly increase their risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, asthma, bronchitis, ear infections, pneumonia, croup, and sore throats. People can be protected from the harms of secondhand smoke by having smoke-free buildings and not allow smoking within 100 feet of the buildings.


Because Tribal Council knew they had the support of their Tribal citizens, Tribal Council passed a resolution to not allow smoking within 100 feet of the Health Center. The Health Center has designated smoking areas by the placement of picnic tables on each side of the building that are 100 feet away from the building. The picnic tables have been secured in place so that they cannot be moved. The GHWIC staff are now working to expand the smoke-free policies to the entire reservation.

The Health Department is also working on their Tobacco Cessation program. Approximately ten patients a month are being referred to the tobacco cessation program.


Thanks to the CDC’s GHWIC funding, the PBCI health department conducted a community health assessment in 2016. A key component of the assessment was the development of surveys that asked if their Tribal citizens were in favor of having smoke-free buildings and not allowing smoking within 100 feet of those buildings. 82% of the respondents were in favor of smoke-free buildings and not allowing smoking around those buildings. This illustrated to the Tribal Council and Tribal leaders that their citizens did not want to be exposed to secondhand smoke and were in favor of policies that would protect them.


The PBCI health department’s goal is to continue the work in making more buildings with a 100 feet perimeter that is smoke-free. The success of policy change is encouraging and the dream is to one day have a smoke-free reservation. The PBCI health department will continue to educate the community about the harmful nature of commercial tobacco and assist smokers in quitting.

Toria Reaves, Epidemiologist
711 Stewarts Ferry Pike
Suite 100
Nashville, TN 37214

Smoke Free Zone – Thank You for Not Smoking

Poarch Creek Indians

Kay Thomas

“Through our Community Health Assessment that was sent out to the Tribal community, 82% said they would like to see a smoke-free facility on the Tribal reservation. I hope that one day we can have a smoke-free campus.”
– Kay Thomas, Health Educator
Poarch Band of Creek Indians Health Dept.

Say Yes, Say No




ANEC Success Story: October 2017

Success Stories, TEC News
Improving Patient-Provider Communication

Clear and effective communication is important in the health care setting. The “Teach-back” method is an evidence-based strategy health care providers can use to ensure information is explained clearly and to gauge patient understanding. Through the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (GHWIC) grant the Alaska Native Epidemiology Center (ANEC) is promoting use of the “Always Use Teach-back” online training module.


The module is part of the “Always Use Teach-back” toolkit, a free, interactive, web-based training resource for health care providers.


In October, 2016, ANEC staff received permission from the creators of “Teach-back” and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) leadership to add the training to HealthStream, ANTHC’s employee training system. Four organizations in addition to ANTHC use HealthStream as their employee training platform, and can now offer or assign the “Teach-back” training to staff.

One of the ANEC GHWIC Tribal Health Organization (THO) subawardees is using the HealthStream training as part of a larger organizational effort to incorporate the “Teach Back” method into clinical practice. The THO added the training module to their new hire orientation and also required all clinical staff to complete it during the annual staff training period.

ANEC Teach Back

More information on the “Always Use Teach-back” training toolkit is available here:

10 Elements of Competence for Using Teach-back Effectively (PDF)