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.
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.
Purpose of Tribal Epidemiology Centers
GPTEC is just one of 12 partner Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs) 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.
The Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act – signed into law on March 23, 2010 – permanently authorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), which includes the reestablishment 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.