There are approximately 9.7 million American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) people in the United States (US).1 AIAN 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, AIAN 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, obesity, and physical inactivity.2 AIAN people also experience disparities across the social determinants of health such as poverty and educational attainment, contributing to health disparities.
Tribal public health has been chronically and significantly under-resourced. The CDC-RFA-DP22-2206 Tribal Epidemiology Centers Public Health Infrastructure (TECPHI) Program funding opportunity sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes the critical need to build Tribal public health capacity and infrastructure so Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs), Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and urban Indian organization (T/TO/UIOs) can more fully deliver the 10 essential public health services to their partners and 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 and reduce health disparities. This systems-based and collective effort is essential to address AIAN community health disparities and improve health outcomes with a data-driven and culturally-relevant approach.
The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s (ANTHC) Alaska Native Epidemiology Center (ANEC)—one of the 12 TECs in the nation—proposes to continue to serve as the Network Coordinating Center (NCC) under the funding announcement entitled CDC-RFA-DP22-2206 Tribal Epidemiology Centers Public Health Infrastructure (TECPHI) Component B. While based in the Indian Health Service (IHS) Alaska Area, ANTHC will serve all 12 IHS areas as this is a nation-wide role. In this role, ANEC will build on the strong foundational work achieved serving as the NCC for the current CDC TECPHI Program (CDC-RFA-DP17-1704PPHF17) funded 2017-2022. Using evaluation data and partner feedback from the current program, ANEC will provide opportunities for peer-to-peer sharing and learning, and provide training to support the Component A awardees (CAAs) in increasing their ability to deliver the 10 essential public health services to T/TO/UIO partners. ANEC will collaboratively develop and implement the overall evaluation approach of the program to monitor and report on progress and performance. Finally, ANEC will provide central project coordination, logistics, sustainability, and communication efforts on behalf of the CDC and the CAAs, as appropriate. As the TECPHI Program NCC, ANEC will draw and build upon past experiences, successes, lessons learned, and established relationships among partners to support the CAAs in meeting the specified outcomes of the funding opportunity.