There are an estimated 163,835 American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people in Alaska as of 2021– over 20% percent of the state’s total population. AI/AN people experience higher rates of inequities across the social determinants of health which contribute to poor health outcomes and health disparities compared to other racial and ethnic groups in the nation. For example, AI/AN people experience lower life expectancy and higher rates of a number of leading causes of mortality including chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory disease, and unintentional injury, as well as chronic disease risk factors like smoking and physical inactivity. AI/AN people also experience disparities across the social determinants of health such as poverty and educational attainment, contributing to health disparities.
The Tribal Epidemiology Centers Public Health Infrastructure (TECPHI) Program funding opportunity sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes the critical need to strengthen Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TEC) infrastructure and capacity to: 1) more fully deliver the 10 essential public health services to their Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and urban Indian organization (T/TO/UIO) partners; and 2) strengthen the public health capacity of T/TO/UIOs to meet national public health accreditation standards. Ultimately, the TECPHI program will enhance both TEC and T/TO/UIO ability to address priority health issues. Despite improvements, there remains a critical need to build tribal public health capacity and infrastructure, which are significantly under-resourced and under-developed in Alaska, and increase core public health functions to and within Tribes/villages to address these disparities and social determinants of health (SDOH).
The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s (ANTHC) Alaska Native Epidemiology Center (ANEC), located in Anchorage, Alaska, proposes to continue to serve as the TECPHI Component A recipient for the Alaska IHS Area under the funding announcement entitled CDC-RFA-DP22-2206 Tribal Epidemiology Centers Public Health Infrastructure (TECPHI). In this role, ANEC—as one of the 12 currently funded TECs—will strengthen the public health infrastructure and capacity of both the TEC and Tribal Health Organizations (THOs) it supports to meet national public health accreditation standards, deliver the 10 essential public health services, and build on the outcomes achieved during the current CDC TECPHI Program period (CDC-RFA-DP17-1704PPHF17) funded 2017-2022. By supporting workforce development, conducting assessments of both the TEC and the Alaska Tribal Health System (ATHS), addressing gaps and opportunities, monitoring and assessing public health data, and further cultivating partnerships, ANEC will ultimately strengthen the delivery of public health services, among other outcomes.
ANEC has strong organizational capacity to implement this funding opportunity, including a highly skilled staff, strong relationships with Alaska THOs and other public health entities, as evidenced by the 19 Letters of Support received, and a history of proven success in providing epidemiologic and public health services. As the Alaska Area TECPHI Component A recipient, ANEC will draw and build upon past experiences, successes, lessons learned, and the foundational capacity and infrastructure work that has already been accomplished to meet the specified outcomes of the funding opportunity.