The THPS Tribal Epidemiology Center (TEC) monitors and reports on the health status of member Tribal Nations in an effort to reduce disease and improve wellness. The TEC strives to improve quality of life by evaluating Tribal health data, monitoring health trends, providing technical assistance about data collection, analyzing population health data, and supporting initiatives that promote health. USET’s TEC is one of twelve TECs established by Indian Health Service (IHS). As a designated Public Health Authority (P.L 94-437 through the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA]), the TEC supports USET member Tribal Nations in improving the health of American Indians and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities.
United South and Eastern Tribes celebrates the TECs’ 20 years of service to Indian Country December 2016
NarxCheck: A pilot project that USET is implementing among Tribal Nations located in CT, MS, LA, SC, and NY that will allow prescribing providers to access and interpret their state prescription drug registry from the ‘Resources’ tab in their Electronic Health Record.
The TEC routinely produces a number of Tribal Nation-specific and aggregate reports. The TEC also conducts special projects for individual Tribal Nations, Tribal Nations in a geographic region, or for all USET member Tribal Nations. Some areas of focus for specific projects include:
- Maternal and child health
- Tobacco use
- Prescription drug abuse
- Domestic violence
- Quality assurance reviews
- Community health profiles
- Diabetes reports
Population Health Data Portal
With support from the Office of Minority Health, the TEC has developed a population health data portal to assist our member Tribal Nations in better monitoring the health status of Tribal citizens. This tool better identifies health disparities in AI/AN communities. The project:
- Addresses issues with the quality of the data recorded;
- Identifies gaps in knowledge about the best practices for health improvement;
- Evaluates the percentage of health indicators meeting benchmarks suggested by IHS and Healthy People 2020; and
- Encourages data-driven decision making.
By having health data readily available in a secure location for Tribal Health Directors, the Data Portal assists Health Directors in identifying high priority objectives and services needed to achieve those objectives. The Data Portal allows Health Directors to generate customized reports specific to their Tribal service populations, as well as standardized community highlight reports in order to better understand and plan for their Tribal community needs. Health Directors may access the Data Portal at https://dataportal.usetinc.org.
Native American Research Center for Health
Through the National Institute for Health’s grant program, Native American Research Center for Health (NARCH), USET partners with external research partners and Universities to develop projects to improve the health status of member Tribal Nations. Currently, USET is working with Vanderbilt University, Western Carolina University, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to study the relationship between diabetes and depression in the elderly. This 3-year project will strive to uncover some possible successful interventions in this area, which USET will then share with all 27 member Tribal Nations.
USET Joins with Vanderbilt University Bringing Summer Internship Programs in the Sciences to Native Teens
Through a unique grant-funded opportunity from the National Institutes for Health, USET partners with Vanderbilt University for the Aspirnaut Summer Research Internship. The program provides hands-on mentored laboratory experiences for high school students and undergraduate students interested in careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The goal of the Aspirnaut program is to provide students with a laboratory experience in which they can play an active role in ongoing biomedical research. At the end of the program, students prepare written reports and give oral presentations to their peers and mentors. Students are provided room and board at Vanderbilt University during the 6-week program and receive a stipend upon completion.
Each summer USET and Vanderbilt strive to recruit at least six students from member Tribal Nations. For more information about the Aspirnaut program or to access an application, go to www.aspirnaut.org.