Improving Tribal Data Sharing Capacity in Indian Country

The Improving Tribal Data Sharing Capacity in Indian Country project at SPTHB seeks to strengthen and support the sharing of public health data for Tribes and their unique health systems across the Southern Plains Region.

The sharing of public health data between Tribes and public health authorities outside of the Tribal health system greatly improves a Tribe’s capacity for disease detection and response. Further, strong public health infrastructure and comprehensive healthcare services are an affirmation of Tribal sovereignty. When public health data systems are fragmented, they impede Tribes from either implementing or engaging in their chosen public health surveillance systems.

The impact of  the COVID-19 pandemic affected Tribal communities and highlighted the necessity of public health data to ensure rapid detection and response. The collection of and sharing of public health data is critical to demonstrating the health status of Tribal communities.

SPTHB receives a 5-year cooperative agreement from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support (CSTLTS). In Fiscal Year (FY) 2022, SPTHB received supplemental funding through its Tribal Public Health Capacity Building and Quality Improvement Umbrella Cooperative Agreement for the purposes of Improving Tribal Data Sharing Capacity. Additionally, SPTHB works with the CDC  National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) to administer its grant, Improving Tribal Data Sharing Capacity in Indian Country.

Tribal Public Health: Tribes regularly engage in public health practices as part of their sovereign right to care for their people and ensure their Nation’s health. Tribal Public health professionals work closely with Tribal leaders and other community members to make decisions and create programs with the goal of improving the overall health of their community. Often, public health professionals use different types of information, or data, to assist them in making decisions which protect the health of the community.

Public Health: Generally speaking, public health usually refers to the overall health of an entire community. This differs from healthcare received by a provider, such a doctor or nurse, and refers to the health of an individual. Public health workers rely heavily upon information systems to support them in various public health related activities.

Why Data is Critical: Public health data and information collected in Tribal communities serves to tell a story about the health of the Tribal Nation. Tribal communities often use storytelling to communicate important cultural teachings and values. It is a traditional practice among many Tribes to pass down information and knowledge from one generation to the next for the purposes of protecting and strengthening their people. Tribal public health workers engage in storytelling through the sharing of public health data in the community and to advocate for changes that will improve the health of the Nation.

Data Sovereignty: Indigenous data sovereignty can be defined as the inherent right of the Tribal Nations to govern the collection of their data, its ownership, and the application of its own data . Often, Tribes may recognize or identify their responsibility to protect data quality and preserve its usability as an exercise of Tribal Data Sovereignty.

How is Public Health Data Used? Historical public health practice has developed into a system of collecting data in a certain way for the purposes of monitoring the health of the community. The systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of health-related data is called surveillance . Surveillance is essential to public health practice because it involves both the capture and management of data and information which support the premise of public health.

Funding opportunity for Tribes coming in 2023! Details TBA!

Exciting updates coming soon!

Sooner Davenport, Project Coordinator
Phone: (405) 543-8543
Fax: (405) 652-9205