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Contact: April Hale at or 202-812-2055


**CORRECTION: The CDC representative who addressed this morning's plenary session is Judith Monroe, not Judith Moore. NIHB extends its apologies.**


NIHB Tribal Public Health Summit Focuses on Building Capacity and Partnerships on First Day


BILLINGS, Mont.--April 1, 2014--The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) opened its 5th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit in Billings, Mont. with a powerful, passionate keynote address from one of Indian Country's most renowned physician and a leading resource on Indian health.


Dr. Donald Warne addresses the NIHB Tribal Public Health Summit on April 1, 2014.

Dr. Donald Warne, Director of the Master of Public Health Program at North Dakota State University, impressed upon nearly 400 Summit attendees that to build effective public health capacity in Indian Country the investments, resources and mind-sets need to change.


"Where do we put our resources? We spend more money on end-of-life care then preventative care. The newest, nicest building on our reservation is often the dialysis center. We are telling our children that we will not invest in their health today, but when you get diabetes, we'll pay for your medicine," Dr. Warne said. "We need to reset the priority. It's much better to invest in physical activity programs and healthy food programs for our communities. We need to be investing in the health of our people not just in treating disease. We need to change the tribal investments and put more resources into prevention."


Dr. Warne referenced the four aspects of the American Indian Medicine Wheel as a way to embrace the traditional way of healthy living - mental, spiritual, emotional and physical. He also used the Medicine Wheel to describe the four areas of instilling cultural competence in Indian health - educational, cultural, social and environmental.


"In this country, there's more expertise on global international health than American Indian health - this needs to change, and Tribes need to actively engage in creating this change," added Dr. Warne.


Judith Monroe, Director of the Office for State, Tribal, Local and Territorial Support at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reinforced the Agency's commitment to working with Tribes to address the health disparities in tribal communities.


"The CDC's overall goal is to improve the health of all populations, but we are very passionate about eliminating health disparities among American Indians and Alaska Natives. We want to collaborate with tribal governments to target the needs of their communities. We honor the government-to-government relationship and tribal sovereignty," Monroe said. "We are currently working with NIHB to improve CDC's communications with all Tribes, and we look forward to continuing this work."


Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, Acting Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS), echoed a theme of partnership to address health issues in Indian Country and highlighted ongoing collaboration efforts to bring more resources to IHS facilities and service units.


"I'm really pleased to be a part of the NIHB National Tribal Public Health Summit," said Dr. Roubideaux. "We appreciate all the assistance of the NIHB over the years as we've worked together to advance health care services in Indian Country and to protect and honor tribal sovereignty. At the IHS, we're working hard, in partnership with Tribes and tribal organizations, to improve our ability to provide quality health care services to American Indian and Alaska Native people."


Dr. Roubideaux also congratulated NIHB and other organizations on the one-year funding renewal passage of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) on Monday, March 31, 2014.


NIHB also hosted a SDPI luncheon today highlighting four grantee's success stories on educating and caring for their diabetic patients using the funding and resources provided by SDPI. The four tribal SDPI programs are: Toiyabe Indian Health Project, Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation, Northern Cheyenne Wellness Center and the Gila River Health Care Center.


NIHB's National Tribal Public Health Summit continues Wednesday with workshops in the morning and a closing plenary session in the afternoon.


Visit for more information about NIHB's Public Health program.




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