Published On: Fri, Mar 8th, 2013

EBCI Health & Medical to kick off Tribal Health Assessment

What is the EBCI Tribal Health Assessment?  A community health assessment explores and describes the health of a community and changes needed to improve community health.  It is the basis for a community health improvement process that includes listing community health challenges in order of importance, making plans for how to address them, and putting solutions in place. EBCI Health and Medical Division (HMD) is starting a community health assessment specifically for EBCI:  a Tribal Health Assessment (THA).

The EBCI THA will include putting together information on the health of the community, asking the community for input, and listing community health resources. Though health assessments have been done by North Carolina counties for years, this is the first time for EBCI as a Tribe.  It is being done by the Tribe, for the Tribe, with the support of other EBCI partners, and will be used to define community health challenges in order of importance and help make sure our health resources work together well to meet them.

Who is doing the EBCI THA?  EBCI HMD is sponsoring the THA and working with partners across HMD and the Tribe, Cherokee Indian Hospital Authority (CIHA), WNC Healthy Impact, Indian Health Service (IHS) Tribal Epidemiology Center (TEC) in Nashville, and Local Health Departments of counties that include Tribal lands.  To do this work, HMD received a grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

When will the EBCI THA be donePlanning for the THA has already started, and the target date to complete it is summer 2013.  Then, HMD will bring partners together to put health challenges in order of importance, decide on actions to take, and begin them as part of a Tribal Health improvement plan (THIP).

How will the EBCI THA work?  A THA team led by HMD will collect information in a way that makes sure to address EBCI needs, respect each person’s privacy, include community voices, and be as complete as possible.  The THA will include a list of health resources EBCI has now, health information from a variety of sources, and input directly from the community through interviews and a survey.  This is a community process, not a research project.

Where is the THA being done?  The THA centers on the Qualla Boundary.  In addition to information from many sources, THA staff will ask Tribal members across the entire Boundary to assure that the whole EBCI community can give thoughts and opinions about health and health challenges in EBCI.

Why a THA?  Why a THIP?  Why now? EBCI always works hard to protect the health of the Tribal community while giving the best possible health care and helping people make healthy choices.  HMD is starting this process with all our partners to help make sure that all Tribal health programs use their resources to meet the most important health care needs, are worthy of trust by the EBCI community, and have the vision to meet health challenges in the best possible way.  Also, the THA and THIP will help HMD become accredited as a Tribal Public Health provider through the Public Health Accreditation Board and National Indian Health Board.  This will help show HMD’s ongoing commitment to excellence.

How can YOU be part of the process?  Between March 15 and March 31, HMD will survey the community on how you see your health, the Tribe’s health and health challenges, and how you think the community’s health can improve.  HMD’s goal is to get at least 500 responses.  Look for the survey starting March 15 in the One Feather, on Facebook, and all over the community, and please take part!  Let your voice be heard!

For more information, please contact Vickie Bradley, Deputy Health Officer, EBCI Health & Medical Division, vickbrad@nc-cherokee.com.

– EBCI Health & Medical 

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