The sovereign Navajo Nation is federally recognized and located in the U.S. southwest region, extending across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah with a land-base of 27,425 square miles and three satellite communities in New Mexico.(1) According to the U.S. Census 2010, the Navajo Nation has a total population of approximately 332,129 with 47% and 53% residing on and off the Navajo Nation, respectfully.(2) The 2016-2020 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates population for Navajo Nation Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land describes the total population at 173,558.3 The purpose of the Navajo Department of Health (NDOH) is to ensure that quality comprehensive and culturally relevant health care and public health services are provided on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Epidemiology Center (NEC) was established in 2005 and operates under the auspices of NDOH. NEC’s vision is, “Empowering Dine’ People to achieve Hozho through Naalniih Naalkaah “Epidemiology”. NEC, in the conduct of public health authority and activities, may collect or receive protected health information for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, injury or disability, including, but not limited to, reporting of disease, injury, vital events such as birth or death, and public health surveillance, investigations, and interventions for the tribal communities NEC serves. NEC is an integral part of the tribal governance and system leadership, authorized to assist the Navajo Nation establish and operate an information system to collect, manage, control and protect data related to the health care, public health, epidemiological surveillance, research and disease investigation. NEC proposes long-term outcomes to improve public health surveillance and data collection to characterize Navajo Nation’s social determinants of health and address health disparities, build workforce capacity and through the implementation of building capacity and infrastructure to NDOH’s 10 Essential
Public Health Services. The ultimate outcome would be to recognize NDOH as an accredited Public Health organization through the Public Health Accreditation Board. NEC is a Tribal Epidemiology Center serving the Navajo Area Indian Health Service and will be applying for Component A only.
2 Antone-Nez, R. et al. Navajo Population Profile 2010 U.S. Census. 2013.
3 My Tribal Area. U.S. Census. 2016-2020 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. https://www.census.gov/tribal/?aianihh=2430