TEC News

TEC News

OKTEC Success Story: Tribal Health Experiential Student Internship Seminar (THESIS)

Success Stories, TEC News
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The Southern Plains Tribal Health Board recently concluded its very first virtual internship cohort with 46 students who completed the virtual 8-week experience. The Tribal Health Experiential Student Internship Seminar (THESIS) program was one of seven organizations awarded, and the only program to focus solely on Tribal public health and Native American health.


The program gave undergraduate students nationwide a glimpse of working in Indian Country with first-hand accounts of staff actively employed in positions within Tribal nations, universities, TECs, health departments, and federal and other partnering Tribal organizations.


Funded by the CDC’s Office of Health Equity (OHE), students were led through a wide range of courses focusing on Tribal public health with a curriculum around evaluation, cultural competency, racial misclassification, data collection, epidemiology, and professional skills. Students also experienced being paired with a mentor, who guided them throughout the 8-weeks on a research poster project that would be presented at the CDC Lewis Ferguson Showcase in Atlanta, Georgia. Examples of research posters included topics over food deserts, culturally relevant Native youth curriculum, Native American oral health, mental health, and health disparities among Native American communities.

Through THESIS, students were not only exposed to tribal public health as a career but also to the diverse landscape that is public health. “We want students to be exposed to aspects of Native public health to gain different perspectives when choosing their profession. We often hear, ‘I wish I would have been taught that’ from working public health employees,” Gary Piercey, Program Coordinator, said. “This gives students a chance to really investigate some of the topics that are meaningful to them.”

Abby Mayes, a member of the Cherokee Nation stated, “I enjoyed the THESIS program greatly. I enjoyed the topics that were presented and was able to research how the COVID-19 pandemic directly impacted the Native American population within the state of Oklahoma in 2021. This internship gave me the opportunity to learn about Tribal Health, which I had yet to learn about from my previous public health courses in college.”

THESIS intern students at the CDC Showcase in Atlanta, GeorgiaTHESIS intern students at the CDC Showcase in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jordan Craig, a member of the Cherokee Nation, answers questions over her poster presentation, “Addressing Gaps in Prenatal Care for American Indian and Alaska Native People with Opioid Use Disorder.”Jordan Craig, a member of the Cherokee Nation, answers questions over her poster presentation, “Addressing Gaps in Prenatal Care for American Indian and Alaska Native People with Opioid Use Disorder.”


If you know of an undergraduate student interested in Tribal public health, applications for the 2024 year will be available on October 1, 2023, at the website https://thesis.spthb.org/.



Tribal Epidemiology Centers: At the Forefront of American Indian/Alaska Native Public Health

TEC News, TECs in the Media
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Sage Journals

In 2019, the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice published a supplement titled “Tribal Epidemiology Centers: Advancing Public Health in Indian Country for Over 20 Years,” which included articles from Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs) and contributions from other federal partners.

Laura D. Cassidy, PhD, MS, DenYelle Kenyon, PhD, Jamie Ritchey, PhD, MPH, Delores Becenti, BS, Aurimar Ayala, MPH, Tracy Prather, MHA, Kristen Mitchell-Box, DrPH, CPH
August 20, 2023

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Building a Roadmap to Health Equity: Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure in Indian Country

TEC News, TECs in the Media
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Sage Journals

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities draw strength from Tribal culture and traditional ways of life, but social determinants of health, such as poverty, racial discrimination, unemployment, poor housing, and inadequate access to health care, contribute to persistent health disparities.

Julianna Reece, MD, MPH, MBA, Syreeta Skelton-Wilson, PhD, Kristen Mitchell-Box, DrPH, Amy Groom, MPH, Craig Thomas, PhD

August 11, 2023

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ANEC Success Story: CDC STI Data Use Agreement

Success Stories, TEC News
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The Alaska Native Epidemiology Center (ANEC) established a new data use agreement with CDC’s National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. The agreement facilitates the transmission of data previously unavailable to the EpiCenter: line-level STI data for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis (by stage), and congenital syphilis.


These data will allow the EpiCenter to report on STI incidence rates among Alaska Native people for purposes of public health surveillance and program support for our Tribal Health Organization partners.


These activities were supported in part 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.


ANEC Health Data web page screenshot

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 #310

Tribal Health Through Student Internship, With Gary Piercey, PhD

Our guest is Gary Piercey, who joins us to discuss his career journey in public health and his commitment to serving tribal communities at the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB).

Previous Episodes

Episode #306

Epidemiology For Tribal Communities, With Erik Ohlrogge, MS

June 27, 2023

Episode #302

Critical Need For Access To Quality Public Health Data, With Dr. Kevin English

May 30, 2023

Episode #297

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

April 24, 2023

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