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NIHB Tribal Public Health Report Shows Indian Country Remains Inadequately Resourced During COVID-19 Pandemic

September 17, 2020

Contact: April Hale at ahale@nihb.org
NIHB Tribal Public Health Report Shows Indian Country Remains Inadequately Resourced During COVID-19 Pandemic
 Increased support for technical activities, adequate public health workforce needed to improve health and wellbeing of Tribal communities.

WASHINGTON, DC—September 17, 2020—The National Indian Health Board (NIHB), in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released the 2019 Public Health in Indian Country Capacity Scan (PHICCS) Report. This report is the culmination of a groundbreaking, multi-year project that gathered information on Tribal public health through a comprehensive scan completed by Tribes and Tribal health organizations across Indian Country between November 2018, and September 2019. The report includes information on the state of Tribal public health infrastructure, governance, activities, services, workforce, needs and priorities.

“The National Indian Health Board remains committed to advancing public health capacity in Tribal communities across Indian Country and the 2019 PHICCS Report represents the largest, most reliable source of data on Tribal health departments, Tribal public health departments and Tribal health consortia,” said NIHB CEO Stacy A. Bohlen. “This study confirms that Tribal health organizations are providing a wide range of public health activities within their own Tribal communities but need increased support for technical activities and an adequate public health workforce. This includes providing increased, stable funding, technical assistance and public health education to ensure Tribal health organizations within Indian Country have the capacity to improve the public health and wellbeing of Tribal communities.”

The 2019 PHICCS Report provides a comprehensive picture of Tribal public health infrastructure and activities. Specifically, immunization, screening, and prevention/education activities are widely occurring across Indian Country, and Tribal health organizations are by far the main provider of these activities. Less common public health activities are related to data collection, epidemiology, and surveillance, which is particularly concerning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The added burden the COVID-19 pandemic is putting on Tribal health departments, the Indian Health Service and Tribal communities as a whole, makes this report even more significant,” added Bohlen. “The data in this report is crucial as we move forward to protect our People from the health disparities they have faced for generations as well as the new challenges we now face in this pandemic.”

A majority of Tribal health organizations that contributed to the report rank diabetes, substance misuse, and heart disease within the top three public health issues in their communities while also ranking data and assessment, health education and promotion as their top three organizational priorities. The 2019 PHICCS Report is a valuable tool for Tribes, Tribal health organizations, and partners, as they explore the needs and strengths of Tribal public health, seek to measure progress over time, and allocate their own staff and resources where most needed.

For more information on the 2019 PHICCS, or to download a PDF of the complete report, visit the NIHB website at: www.nihb.org/phiccs.


Last modified: October 14, 2020