The Great Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center (GPTEC – formerly the Northern Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center, or NPTEC) was founded in 2003 as a core component of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board (GPTCHB). GPTEC’s mission is to provide leadership, technical assistance, support and advocacy for the 18 tribal nations and communities serviced by the Great Plains Area IHS in order to eliminate the disparities in health that currently exist for tribal peoples within the four-state region of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.
Download the GPTEC Program Profile Infographic (see below, right)
GPTEC has five interrelated goals:
- Provide Great Plains Area tribes with reports of timely, accurate, and useful data based upon priorities and existing data sources, and contribute to their effective use;
- Improve the ability of surveillance systems of measure/monitor the health status of American Indian populations through existing and new surveillance activities and systems;
- Support evidence-based, culturally-rooted health promotion/disease prevention initiatives in clinical and community contexts;
- Build capacity and collaborations to maximize the benefits of well-designed, culturally appropriate, and ethical health research in Great Plains Area tribal communities; and,
- Build and leverage effective partnerships and respond to emergent needs with training and technical assistance to contribute to the growth of public health and epidemiologic capacity within the Great Plains Area.
GPTEC is just one of 12 partner tribal epidemiology centers funded by the Indian Health Service’s Division of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention to assist in improving the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives throughout the United States. For more information about the tribal epidemiology centers, please see our website here.
Purpose of Tribal Epidemiology Centers
The 2010 Affordable Care Act was signed by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The bill permanently authorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) which includes the reestablishment of Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs) to function within their respective service areas and to be designated as Public Health Authorities.
In consultation with and on the request of Indian tribes, tribal organizations and urban Indian organizations, TECs are charged with:
- Collecting data;
- Evaluating data and programs;
- Identifying health priorities along with tribes;
- Making recommendations for health service needs;
- Making recommendations for improving health care delivery systems;
- Providing epidemiologic technical assistance to tribes and tribal organizations; and
- Providing disease surveillance to tribes.
2015-2016 Accomplishments and Activities
- Collaborated with GPTCHB’s Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Department to obtain funding from the Centers for Disease Control to conduct Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) assessments with four tribes in South Dakota;
- Hosted a successful Community Health Profile (CHP) training as part of the new Tribal Epidemiology Liaison Program, working with staff from five tribes to complete CHPs;
- Initiated a new Stakeholder Survey to assess tribal priorities and evaluate GPTEC;
- Initiated or enhanced partnerships with State Departments of Health and the University of South Dakota to support the disseminate of infectious disease data and the establishment of Hepatitis C iCare registries at the tribal level;
- Prepared health promotion messaging related to adult vaccinations, Hepatitis C testing and prevention, and injection drug use;
- Completed a CDC EPI-AID and pursued a variety of other projects related to tribal MCH and behavioral health priorities;
- Co-hosted the “Good Health and Community Wellness Symposium” with GPTCHB’s Community Health Department;
- Formed and completed the first meeting of the new Great Plains Area Data Workgroup; and,
- Held three Data Collection and Evaluation Workshops at the GPTCHB offices with Great Plains Area Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative (MSPI) and Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI) grantees.
Additionally, the Sexually-Transmitted Infections and Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (STITPPI) completed implementation within two partner communities – with a third approaching completion – and supported sustainability and replication through the completion of an implementation guide. The project has since been refunded to work with four new Great Plains Area communities.
In the coming year – the first in a new cycle – GPTEC looks forward to building on these accomplishments by continuing several ongoing projects, initiating exciting new opportunities and programs, and utilizing new funding streams to continue our provision of technical assistance and training in the areas of evaluation, chronic disease, behavioral health, and others.