April 21, 2014  |  Issue 14-11




31st Annual Consumer Conference


September 8-11, 2014


Albuquerque, New Mexico 


In This Issue


RECAP: NIHB's 2014 Public Health Summit


NIHB Testifies before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on the FY 2015 Budget


NIHB's Public Health Congressional Briefing


ACA Elder Video



RECAP: NIHB'S 2014 Public Health Summit 

At the heart of public health work across Indian Country are dedicated individuals working collaboratively to strengthen the systems, infrastructure and data to provide better care for Tribal communities. In each of these distinct communities, distinct public health needs can be found. This is what NIHB's 5th Annual Tribal Public Health Summit was about - working together to find solutions that will succeed for the collective well-being of American Indians and Alaska Natives.   The Summit took place from March 31 to April 1 in Billings, Montana.

Group Fitness Activity

The theme for this year's summit was: "Building Healthy Native Communities: Knowledge, Tools and Know- How." NIHB's Tribal Public Health Summit brought together Tribal leaders, Tribal health directors, medical practitioners, mental health professionals, public health staff, advocates, epidemiologists and researchers alike to present the latest information and updates on the crucial and important work currently taking place in Indian Country.

SDPI Poster Session

NIHB extends sincere thanks to all who participated in this year's 5th National Tribal Public Health Summit. Over 400 individuals from across the country were in attendance, and were able to listen to experts on public health in Indian Country. The great work and collaboration achieved at the Summit allowed NIHB to continue to advance its mission of affirming and empowering American Indian and Alaska Native Peoples to protect and improve health and reduce health disparities.

NIHB Testifies Before the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on the FY 2015 Budget

On April 8, 2014 NIHB Chairperson Cathy Abramson delivered testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior. Abramson underscored health discrepancies faced by American Indians and Alaska Natives, sequestration in the FY 2013 AND 2014 budgets, the FY 2015 budget request as well as a number of NIHB's top legislative priorities.


In her conclusion Abramson remarked, "It is a matter of justice and equity - failure to prioritize an IHS budget that makes a meaningful investment in the health of AI/ANs is a violation of the federal trust responsibility and denial of the sacrifices that our people have made to this country."


To read the full testimony, click here. For more information on the changes in IHS's overall budget between FY 2012 through FY 2015, click here.  

NIHB's Public Health Congressional Briefing

On April 8, 2014, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) hosted a briefing on public health issues in Indian Country during National Public Health week on Capitol Hill to raise awareness, showcase success stories and highlight the urgent public health needs Tribal communities face. Panelists included Josie Raphaelito, a Program Associate from the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY); Cesareo Alvarez, a Fellow with the National Congress of American Indians; Liz Malerba, a Health Policy Analyst with the United South and Eastern Tribes; and Carolyn Hornbuckle, NIHB's Acting Deputy Director.


"Public health really works; it's a smart upstream approach" stated NIHB Chairperson Cathy Abramson. "Instead of waiting until people become ill, and then investing in expensive, sometimes unsuccessful treatments, a public health approach targets actions we can take now, to keep healthy." Public health initiatives in Indian Country account for a tiny fraction of current funding for Tribal health programs.


For more information on this briefing, click here.


ACA Elder Video

NIHB recently released a PSA featuring the following Native leaders:

  • Frank Ettawageshik, Executive Director of the United Tribes of Michigan
  • Arlen Melendez, Chairman of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony
  • Cecilia Fire Thunder, former President of the Oglala Lakota Nation
  • Rex Lee Jim, Vice President of the Navajo Nation
  • Mike Williams, Tribal Councilman of the Akiak Native Community

The video can be viewed on NIHB's YouTube channel here


"The Affordable Care Act brings many great benefits for all American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), but for our elders, it specifically improves their Medicare coverage with annual wellness checks and cheaper prescription drugs," said NIHB Chairperson Cathy Abramson. "Our elders are the keepers of our traditions, creation stories and language. It is so important to keep them healthy, to ensure they receive the care they need and to educate them on their benefits through the ACA - and that's what this media campaign aims to do."


The Native Elder ACA Outreach toolkit includes the video, posters, brochures, fact sheets and dedicated web-based information on NIHB's website, will be distributed to Indian Health Service, Tribal and urban Native health facilities to show in their clinic waiting rooms. It also will be sent to Tribal senior and community centers, chapter houses, assisted living and nursing homes.


"The elder's video and materials are resources for Tribes to utilize in educating their members about the Affordable Care Act and the positive ways it can improve our elder's health. Our elders often influence the decisions made by the Tribe and family, and we hope through this outreach effort, they will share this important information with their communities," Chairperson Abramson added. 



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