The TEC-C Data Access Working Group (DAWG)
is a subcommittee that operates at the request of, and under the guidance of the Tribal Epidemiology Center Consortium (TEC-C). The DAWG is charged with addressing the challenges associated with data access for all Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs) across the country. The causes behind the data access issues will vary, but typically it will involve intermittent, partial, or no access to state and federal datasets as well as unreliable collection of race data, specifically for American Indian and Alaska Natives.
While the access issues may not be identical across all regions, the DAWG focuses on problems from a global approach. For the TECs to effectively improve the health of their Tribes and communities, access to data is essential. These data are used by TECs to assist with funding, implementing, and evaluating programs and policies affecting the health of all the people they serve. The efforts put forth by the DAWG will seek to improve data access through several methods including access to national and state data sets, collaboration on data collection by TECs and other agencies, as well as sharing best practices between workgroup members and external partners.
The process will be slow, but it is the hope of the DAWG to create an environment where all TECs and Tribes have access to the data they need to make informed and timely decisions for the health and well-being of all American Indian and Alaska Natives.
The TEC-C Indigenous Evaluation Methodologies Standing Committee was established to examine how Indigenous evaluation and research methodologies can be applied to public health practice in American Indian/Alaska Native communities by TECs as well as other public health practitioners. The standing committee has begun to compile and review existing Indigenous evaluation and research methodologies literature to identify how to put theories into practice and to contribute to the development of more appropriate evaluation frameworks for public health that honor Tribal sovereignty and self-determination. The standing committee is examining typical western evaluation assumptions and practices to reveal how these approaches perpetrate colonialism and historical trauma, and move towards approaches that better align with the long-term health goals of sovereign Tribal nations by using approaches that are tribally chosen and culturally based.