Tribal Epi Center (TEC) Newsletter Apr-Jun2016

Page 1









19 – 21, 2016




8th Annual



405) 964-7777



e Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board CAITHB) and the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology nter (OKTEC) are proud to present the 8th Annual lahoma Area TEC Public Health Conference. The me, “Create, Inspire, and Empower Healthy Native mmunities” was selected for this year’s conference since aptures the mission of OCAITHB and its partners. The nference will be held April 19 to April 21, 2016 at the ently-renovated Grand Casino Hotel Resort located in awnee, Oklahoma.

re-conference training will be offered on April 19th; generally includes workshops that provide intensive nings in areas of greatest tribal public health demand. ril 20th and 21st will be two days of conference sentations, during which attendees will have several cks to choose from on various health topics. Tracks this year’s conference will include chronic disease vention, men’s health, public health policy and advocacy, d many others. Break-out sessions will be conducted expert tribal, local, State, federal, and university public alth professionals across various disciplines. In addition, conference features the Color Guard, usually from host tribal nation, an address by the president of host tribe, a cultural event, and keynote addresses m distinguished health professionals. One of the w additions to this year’s conference will be a poster sentation. Registration for the conference will be online; istration details and calls for proposals for the poster sentation and presenters are forthcoming; be on the kout!

AITHB normally seeks partners to assist with sponsoring conference. Sponsorship assists with covering expenses t are not allowed by grant funding. There are three els of sponsorship: Bean- $1,000-$2,499.00; Squash500-$4,999.00; Corn- $5,000.00 or more. However, a


sponsorship of any amount is appreciated. Sponsors are publicly recognized and shown appreciation during the conference in different ways.


Wondering if or why you should attend this year’s conference? The OKTEC conference is unique in that it is tailored specifically to address public health issues affecting American Indians. Registration to attend the conference is free. It is also an ideal setting to network with tribal partners and public health professionals, gather health resources, and acquire new knowledge and skills related to tribal public health. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase Native goods and crafts from a wide array of Native vendors. If you are interested in setting up a vendor booth, would like to be a sponsor, or would like additional information on any aspect of the conference, please contact Patricia Yarholar at

The two-day conference attendance last year was well over 200, and there were 33 sessions and workshops. Evaluations from last year’s conference were extremely positive and provided the impetus for planning an even grander event. OCAITHB and OKTEC staff are excitedly preparing for this year’s conference with the goal of its being the best yet. Plan to be there; you won’t want to miss out!


PROGRESS & EVOLUTION FOR THE SOUTHERN PLAINS TRIBAL HEALTH BOARD For too long, people confused us with the Indian Health Service or would ask, “How are you different than IHS?” It is our mission to educate our communities, along with our tribal, state, and federal leaders, on who we are and what our mission and vision are for the Native Communities we advocate for and serve.

8TH ANNUAL TRIBAL PUBLIC HEALTH CONFERENCE The Southern Plains Tribal Health Board and the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center are proud to present the 8th Annual Tribal Public Health Conference. The theme for this year’s conference is “Create, Inspire, and Empower Healthy Native Communities”. Registration to attend is free.

STAFF SPOTLIGHT: AMBER ANDERSON IS BLENDING CHEROKEE BELIEFS WITH PASSION FOR SCIENCE Amber's interest in Native American health was sparked as a child by her dad’s work in the public health field. Her passion for research did not fully develop until she arrived

at OSU. In a story by OSU Vanguard Magazine, she talks

about weaving her culture into her passion for science.

are to make their own reservations, they must call the Hotel directly at 405-964-7777 and identify themselves as members of Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health. All reservations must be guaranteed with a major credit card. The Grand Casino Hotel Resort strongly suggests you not use your


bank debit card to guarantee, as your bank (not the hotel) will take a deposit and hold it until your departure. We do not take cash deposits however you

may pay with cash at check out. A valid credit card must be presented by the guest along with a valid ID at check in. CHECK IN TIME: 3:00pm | CHECK OUT DATE/TIME: 11:00am

April 6, 2016 is the cut-off date to get the room rate of $89.00 plus tax


FROM BOYS TO LEADERS: THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF SPORTS From the personal perspective of a parent, Phyllis Pratt shares how her boys have gained respect from their coaches and from the community. By being strong Native role models and sharing their knowledge of sports with the community, their experiences helped transformed them from boys into leaders.




In this issue: Contents 2–3 National Health Observances


Progress & Evolution for Southern Plains Tribal Health Board 6–7 8th Annual Tribal Public Health Conference


Staff Spotlight: Amber Anderson Is Blending Cherokee Beliefs With Passion for Science


Meet Our New Staff


From Boys to Leaders: The Transforming Power of Sports


University of Oklahoma Hosts Native American Heritage Night at OU Basketball Games


Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation:


Caring Van Events


Advocating for Mid-Level Dental Provider

In Memoriam: Dr. Rodney Stapp


First Cases of Zika Virus Confirmed


Staff Directory


FastStats Mobile App


in Oklahoma Travelers





April 2016 Alcohol Awareness Month Alcohol Awareness Month provides a focused opportunity across America to increase awareness and understanding of alcoholism, its causes, effective treatment and recovery. It is an opportunity to decrease stigma and misunderstandings in order to dismantle the barriers to treatment and recovery, and thus, make seeking help more readily available to those who suffer from this disease. For more information regarding

alcohol awareness, please visit:

National Child Abuse Prevention Month National Child Abuse Prevention Month is a time to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse and neglect, and to promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families. During the month of April and throughout the year, communities are encouraged to share child abuse and neglect prevention strategies and activities and promote prevention across the country. For more information regarding child abuse prevention, please visit: preventionmonth/

Join us in celebration for the 2016 National Autism Awareness Month! National Autism Awareness Month represents an excellent opportunity to promote autism awareness, autism acceptance and to draw attention to the tens of thousands facing an autism diagnosis each year. For more information regarding autism, please visit:

Sexual Assault Awareness Month In the United States, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it. Sexual violence is a major public health, human rights, and social justice issue. We need everyone’s help to end it. Thank you for getting involved and for supporting SAAM efforts. For more information regarding sexual assault, please visit:

National Stress Awareness Month April is National Stress Awareness Month! During this annual thirty-day period, health care professionals and health promotion experts across the country will join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic. For more information regarding stress awareness, please visit:

May 2016

National Autism Awareness Month

Hepatitis Awareness Month

Nearly a quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life. This year we want to go beyond simply promoting autism awareness to encouraging friends and collaborators to become partners in a movement toward acceptance and appreciation.

The month of May is designated as Hepatitis Awareness Month in the United States, and May 19th is Hepatitis Testing Day. During May, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its public health partners work to shed light on this hidden epidemic by raising awareness of viral hepatitis and encouraging priority populations to get tested.

Let’s embrace a new perspective. For over 50 years we have worked in communities (both large and small) to ensure our actions, through our services and programming, supported all individuals living with autism. Let’s expand this work to focus on the rest of us – ensuring acceptance and inclusion in schools and communities that results in true appreciation of the unique aspects of all people. We want to get one step closer to a society where those with ASDs are truly valued for their unique talents and gifts.


For more information regarding hepatitis, please visit:

National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month Each year, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declares May to be "National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month." It's a peak season for asthma and allergy sufferers, and a perfect time to educate your patients, family, friends, co-workers, and others about these diseases.

Asthma affects approximately 25.9 million Americans and more than 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies. Please join us in raising awareness for these common diseases.

June 2016

For more information regarding

Join the National Safety Council (NSC) and thousands of organizations across the country as we work to raise awareness of what it takes to stay SafeForLife. Observed annually in June, National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the roads and in our homes and communities.

asthma and allergies, please visit:

Mental Health Awareness Month

National Safety Month

This year’s theme for Mental Health Month is Life with a Mental Illness and will call on individuals to share what life with a mental illness feels like for them in words, pictures and video by tagging their social media posts with #mentalillnessfeelslike (or submitting to Mental Health America anonymously). Posts will be collected and displayed on a special page on MHA’s website.

Safety is no accident. It's a choice we need to make throughout our entire lives. Whether it's driving without passengers as a newly licensed teen, finding alternatives to prescription painkillers in middle-age or fall-proofing the bathroom as an older adult, we're all empowered to make safe decisions for ourselves and those we care about.

For more information regarding mental health, please visit:

national safety month, please visit:

For more information regarding

National Stroke Awareness Month

Men’s Health Month

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a stroke. In 2008 alone, more than 133,000 Americans died from stroke, or one person every four minutes, making it the fourth leading cause of death in the United States.

The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and to encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury. The response has been overwhelming with thousands of awareness activities in the USA and around the globe.

A stroke, sometimes called a brain attack, occurs when a blockage stops the flow of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. Although many people think of stroke as a condition that affects only older adults, strokes can and do occur in people of all ages. In fact, nearly a quarter of all strokes occur in people younger than age 65. For more information regarding stroke awareness, please visit:

Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma. The good news? Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it early on. Make a difference: Spread the word about strategies for preventing skin cancer and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved. For more information regarding skin cancer, please visit:

For more information regarding men's health, please visit:

National Cancer Survivor’s Day Sunday, June 5th National Cancer Survivors Day® is an annual, treasured Celebration of Life that is held in hundreds of communities nationwide, and around the world, on the first Sunday in June. It is a CELEBRATION for those who have survived, an INSPIRATION for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of SUPPORT for families, and an OUTREACH to the community. On National Cancer Survivors Day®, thousands gather across the globe to honor cancer survivors and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding, and even inspiring. For more information regarding cancer, please visit:


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A STRONG AND CONTEMPORARY FONT­— adopted for it's fresh and modern look and it's distinctive ability to stand out from other organizations who use the circle emblem design.



THE SYMBOL OF MEDICINE WITH EAGLE FEATHERS— the "T" shape is used to exemplify our commitment to tribal nations by improving health outcomes for American Indians.


A CLEAR AND CONCISE REPRESENTATION OF THE TRIBAL REGIONS WE SERVE— we've changed our name to "Southern Plains Tribal Health Board" and have included it in our logo for easy recognition.


NEW TAGLINE EMBODIES OUR PROMISE TO THE PEOPLE— for the tribal communities that we serve who need hope, life, and value; for the generations of those who haven't heard about our mission and vision; for our partners who will be inspired to launch us into new communities.

NEW MISSION STATEMENT The Southern Plains Tribal Health Board is dedicated to serving the tribal nations of the Southern Plains by improving health outcomes for American Indians through partnerships, advocacy, education, and training.

NEW VISION STATEMENT Promoting healthy communities, serving and strengthening all tribal nations. 6 | OKLAHOMA AREA TRIBAL EPIDEMIOLOGY CENTER NEWSLETTER





Today we are all living through a major culture shift in which innovation is constantly evolving. We each give and receive information uniquely, but we all communicate through technology, whether we like it or not. Because of the growth and maturation of the internet, the behavior through which we communicate is changing. The sooner we accept this simple fact, the sooner we can begin communicating and sharing information that is immediate, relevant, active, and in-demand in this current age of technology. Storytelling, educating, and advocating—although still personal and intentful— have forever changed. We must now face the realization that today’s generation gives and receives information through two primary means of technology— smart phones and social media. For this reason, a change in our branding and culture had to be made.

The Southern Plains Tribal Health Board is a direct result of this culture shift and rebranding evolution. The Health Board was established in 1972 and continues to evolve. Therefore it is time to define who we are, what we do, and who we do it for and share that information in a way that makes sense to our audience, partners, and stakeholders.

For too long, people confused us with the Indian Health Service or would ask, “How are you different than IHS?” It is our mission to educate our communities, along with our tribal, state, and federal leaders on who we are and what our mission and vision are for the Native communities we advocate for and serve. Our voice is not one, but many; a collective voice of all tribal nations in our tri-state area. Our rebranding marks the IT IS TIME TO DEFINE WHO WE ARE, WHAT genesis and the foundation WE DO, AND WHO WE DO IT FOR AND of our new creative vision.

Our name change and rebranding marks a monumental step toward our goal of becoming a premier tribal health SHARE THAT INFORMATION IN A WAY board. We remain engaged Our new name THAT MAKES SENSE TO OUR AUDIENCE, in Tribal Nations' needs provides ease of use for PARTNERS, AND STAKEHOLDERS. for advocacy, education, identification and provides partnerships, and training. a clearer representation We also remain committed of the tribal regions that to improving American the Southern Plains Tribal Indian Health through our service to the 49 federally Health Board serves. recognized tribes in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. With We are proud to say, that after 43 years of partnering the guidance and direction of the people we serve, with tribal nations and stakeholders to improve the along with our talented and dedicated staff, we are health of American Indians, the Southern Plains Tribal revitalizing our company image and repositioning our Health Board is standing resilient on the front lines, organization to align with who we are today and who we committed to excellence in tribal public health! strive to be in the future.


8th Annual T R I B A L P U B L I C H E A LT H

CONFERENCE APRIL 19 – 21, 2016



The Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB) and the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center (OKTEC) are proud to present the 8th Annual Tribal Public Health Conference. The theme for this year’s conference is “Create, Inspire, and Empower Healthy Native Communities”. It was chosen because it captures the mission of SPTHB and its partners. The conference will be held April 19 to April 21, 2016 at the recently-renovated Grand Casino Hotel Resort located in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Sponsorship Opportunities WRITTEN BY:


Why You Should Attend This Year’s Conference The OKTEC conference is unique in that it is tailored specifically to address public health issues affecting American Indians. Registration to attend the conference is free. It is also an ideal setting to network with tribal partners and public health professionals, gather health resources, and acquire new knowledge and skills related to tribal public health. Attendees will also have the opportunity to browse various booths. One of the new additions to this year’s conference will be a poster presentation. See below for registration details.

What You Can Expect A pre-conference training will be offered on April 19th. The pre-conference generally includes workshops that provide intensive trainings in areas of greatest demand in tribal public health. The pre-conference workshops will be either a full day, or half day. On April 20th and 21st, attendees will have several tracks to choose from on various health topics. Some of the topics for this year’s conference include vaping and indoor tanning among American Indian youth, health equity, maternal and child health, and factors which motivate health behavior. Break-out sessions will be conducted by expert tribal, local, state, federal, and university public health professionals across various disciplines. In addition, the conference will feature keynote addresses from distinguished health professionals and a cultural event on April 20th from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. A portion of the cultural event will feature the Comanche Nation’s IAMNDN Youth Council presenting “Culture is Prevention”.

SPTHB normally seeks partners to assist with sponsoring the conference. Sponsorship assists with covering expenses that are not allowed by grant funding. There are three levels of sponsorship: Bean- $1,000-$2,499.00; Squash$2,500-$4,999.00; Corn- $5,000.00 or more. However, a sponsorship of any amount is appreciated. Sponsors are publicly recognized and shown appreciation during the conference in different ways. If you would like to become a sponsor, please contact the Conference Coordinator, Patricia Yarholar. See below for contact details.

Feedback from Last Year’s Conference The conference attendance last year was well over 200. There were 33 sessions and workshops. Evaluations from last year’s conference were extremely positive and provided the impetus for planning an even grander event. SPTHB and OKTEC staff are excitedly preparing for this year’s conference with the goal of its being the best yet. Plan to be there. You won’t want to miss out!

Registration Information Register via the links below or visit Conference registration:

register/event?llr=7luwdydab&oeidk=a07ebxl6aydb6f17f7d Vendor registration: event?llr=7luwdydab&oeidk=a07ebxlc45p5adfe239

Registration for poster presentation: http://events.constantcontact.

com/register/event?llr=7luwdydab&oeidk=a07ec4ddhbb61cee74a Conference Coordinator Information:

Patricia Yarholar- email:








mber Suena Anderson’s full name means “golden beyond tomorrow,” and the Cherokee Nation citizen takes this meaning to heart.

importance of them becoming involved in research and extracurricular activities that will allow them to achieve things they never imagined they could before,” Anderson says.

“I’ve always felt like with my name, I have a responsibility to take care of those in the generations to come,” Anderson says.

Her interest in Native American health was sparked as a child by her dad’s work in the public health field. Her passion for research did not fully develop until she arrived at OSU, she says. As a Freshman Research Scholar, she was in Patricia Canaan’s research lab — and after her first semester, she was hooked.

It is a philosophy she refined and solidified during her years as a biochemistry and molecular biology student at Oklahoma State University. The recent alumna from Warr Acres, Oklahoma, says two things affected her the most as a student at OSU – undergraduate research and involvement with Native American communities. And combining the two has transformed her into the individual she is today, she says. Anderson is thankful to have found a unique way to weave her culture into her passion for science. It is a traditional Cherokee belief to keep seven generations, both ahead of you and behind you, in mind for everything you do. She says this belief encouraged her to serve as a mentor for other Native American students at OSU through various roles such as Miss American Indian OSU and Native American Student Association president. Her platform as the 2012-2013 Miss American Indian OSU was to challenge more Native American students to become involved in research. “I try to encourage Native American students, especially in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, to know not only what their potential is, but also the

Canaan, an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, calls Anderson’s enthusiasm contagious. “Amber is an excellent role model and ambassador for Native Americans and she has always represented the OSU Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology well throughout her multiple events and occasions,” Canaan says. “We are excited to see how she succeeds in her future pursuits in public health.” Anderson has experienced Harvard Medical School in Boston and Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York thanks to internships and summer research programs. But an experience closer to home at the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board confirmed her career path. “In this position, I was treated as a young professional in the field as opposed to an intern,” Anderson says. “I had the opportunity to help create a prescription drug abuse fact sheet that was distributed throughout the state, so in a sense, I felt like I was making an impact to many tribal communities and generations.”

During this internship, Anderson became involved in a research project about perceptions of Native Americans. The study, sponsored by the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center and AARP, included a tribal community survey to better understand the beliefs of American Indians/Alaska Natives living in Oklahoma. Anderson says the assessment provided information on the challenges and priorities in life, monthly expenses and consumerrelated issues. “This research is unique because, although there has been a lot of Native American research in the past, there has hardly ever been a focus on the perceptions of Native Americans,” Anderson says. “Stepping into the community and being submerged in the culture opened up great opportunities for gathering usable information.” Anderson presented this research at the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science National Conference in Los Angeles last year. SACNAS was founded more than 40 years ago by career academics and research scientists committed to unifying their voice and offering guidance to Hispanics, Chicanos and Native Americans in the STEM fields. The national conference is a gathering of nearly 4,000 students and professionals, and includes more than 1,000 poster presentations. Anderson has qualified to attend the conference since 2012. Her final conference as an OSU student will be the most memorable because she received an outstanding poster presentation award.

APRIL/MAY/JUNE 2016 | 11

Amber Anderson, who graduated from OSU as an undergraduate, studies biochemistry and molecular biology. She says undergraduate research had an important impact on her career direction.

“This award is the highlight of my research career because I have poured so much of my heart into my research,” Anderson says. “It was very rewarding to earn an award the last year I was able to go and to represent my university and academic college on a national platform.” She feels sharing her love for the topic felt like more of a conversation with the judges and participants instead of a formal poster presentation. “If you’re passionate about something, it is very easy and fun to talk about it,” Anderson says. “You long to share your knowledge with others.” Anderson says being a biochemistry and molecular biology student was often challenging, but she is thankful she stuck it out. “There were times when it was tempting to give up,” she says. “The faculty in my department have all helped me and encouraged me on. I’m really glad I never gave up on my dreams.”

John Gustafson, biochemistry and molecular biology department head, said having diverse leaders will be essential for the next generation of students, and he is confident Anderson will fulfill this responsibility.

together, and this project may be the most unforgettable for both of them.

“The diversity in science including women is very scarce, and we must work toward decreasing this lack,” he says. “How can we continue enhancing additional students that represent diversity if we do not have these people as role models? This is what makes Amber so unique. She is that role model.”

An eagle feather varies in meaning from person to person. For Anderson, it was symbolic of hard work, dedication and commitment to her people. As she earns future degrees, she says the collection of feathers will represent each of her experiences and collectively represent her journey to serve the Native American population.

Because of her academic success and involvement at OSU, Anderson also was named the first recipient of the Cherokee Nation Foundation OSU Scholarship.

During her commencement ceremony in May 2015, Anderson says she was flooded with emotion looking up at the beaded feather hanging next to her tassel.

To symbolize her time at OSU, Anderson ordered her graduation cap and gown months in advance so she and her mom, Tina, would have time to bead her cap. The two have always enjoyed beading and making jewelry

“I was thinking about how fortunate I am to have graduated from a university that is supportive of all displays of cultures as well as the many memories I have made here,” Anderson says.


She says the beading was done on a loom, using orange and black colors they selected together.

In 2015, Anderson was recognized for her research poster presentation at the national conference of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science in Los Angeles. Also recognized were OSU students (from left) Shane Morrison, a doctoral student studying zoology and interdisciplinary toxicology, and Grant Williams, a sophomore studying physics.

As she walked across the stage of Gallagher-Iba Arena to receive her diploma, she says even President Burns Hargis complimented her on her beaded feather.

“As soon as I received notification of my acceptance, I suddenly felt so at peace with everything in my life because I knew now that this is the direction I was destined to go,” Anderson says.

Anderson is pursuing a master’s degree in public health with an option in American Indian public health at North Dakota State University.

In the future, she hopes to continue her educational journey to earn a doctorate while continuing to study infectious diseases.

She chose NDSU for graduate school because it is the only public health school in the nation with this study option. She says she is extremely excited for her courses, such as research issues in tribal communities and American Indian health disparities, because she feels they were custom designed for her interests.

“With these degrees, I will work to improve the health of the Cherokee Nation and other tribal members by focusing on disease prevention and educational programs,” Anderson says. “Someday I hope to have my own research lab focusing on just that.”

For OSU commencement, Anderson and her mom beaded her cap in orange and black.

APRIL/MAY/JUNE 2016 | 13


Epidemiologist Southern Plains Tribal Health Board Erin Hodson is from Indianapolis, Indiana. Go Colts! Once she graduated high school, she went to Brigham Young University-Idaho. She graduated from her undergraduate program in 2012 with a bachelor’s in Health Science. After that, she went back to Indiana to get a Master of Public Health with an emphasis in epidemiology and graduated in 2015. Now she is in Oklahoma City working on the Community Health Profiles for all of the tribes that the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board serves. She enjoys reading, movies, and chocolate. Though she enjoys watching football, she would rather be playing any sport than watching it. Oklahoma has been a second home to her in the short time she has been here and she expresses love to all of those who have made her feel welcomed!


Creative Services Coordinator Southern Plains Tribal Health Board Born in Lawton, Oklahoma and now residing in Shawnee, Oklahoma, Chris Reed is currently employed as a Creative Services Coordinator for the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. Mr. Reed graduated from Shawnee High School in 1994 and attended Oklahoma City Community College where he received an associates degree in Computer Science/Multimedia with in an emphasis in Computer Aided Drafting (CAD). With six years marketing experience in the creative industry, Chris strongly believes he can make an impact in the public health realm for all Native American communities. Remaining current and developing unique content in the digital era where people make instant decisions is an area Chris feels he can put his stamp on for the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board.



Public Health Specialist Southern Plains Tribal Health Board Julie is a Registered Dental Hygienist from Checotah, OK and a member of the Cherokee Nation. She attended Oklahoma State University to receive her undergraduate degree in Career and Technical Education. In 2009, she moved to Katy, TX when a career change came available for her husband. While in Texas, she obtained her master’s degree in Allied Health Education and Administration from the University of Houston. She has practiced dental hygiene in general and periodontal practice settings as well as served as an adjunct professor at Houston Community College in their Dental Hygiene Department. She is married with a 10-month old little boy and a 13-year old Boston Terrier. Proud to be back in Oklahoma, she loves spending time with family, running, enjoying the outdoors, reading, and all things music.



After graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2011, I began my work in the graphic design field. I started out at MARCO Promotional Products, as a graphic artist, where I worked for two and a half years. At the end of 2014, an opportunity came to reconnect with my roots in Oklahoma. I took a position working with my tribe, the Comanche Nation, within the Prevention and Recovery Center. That’s where I began my work in the substance abuse prevention field.

I joined Southern Plains Tribal Health Board in January 2016 as the Finance Director. After graduating from Northeastern State University in 1989 with a business administration degree, I started my employment with various businesses including the hotel industry and youth ministries organization in the accounting field. I eventually worked the last 19 years in a clinical billing setting at an urban Indian clinic. During my time at the clinic I completed my master’s degree in business administration in 2005. It’s been rewarding to be able to work with the Health Board on a different side of the medical environment. I’m excited to have found a position in which I will be using my accounting knowledge and education as we bring the accounting department back in-house. The staff here is very progressive thinking and inspiring to work with and it will be fun to be a part of our Health Board's future as we continue to become a premier organization.

Community Specialist Southern Plains Tribal Health Board

I worked under the SPF-TIG (Strategic Prevention Framework Tribal Incentive Grant) creating graphic design and multi-media messaging geared towards preventing underage drinking and non-medical use of prescription drugs. That experience led me to a great opportunity to come on board and work with the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center within the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board. In my role as community specialist, I hope to work with many tribes creating resources to help promote substance abuse prevention.

Finance Director Southern Plains Tribal Health Board

I am a Choctaw and Pawnee. I’ve been married to my husband Mike for 21 years. We have three boys who stay active in football, basketball, and baseball which keeps us busy all year round. In my rare downtime, I enjoy reading.

NICHOLAS WAHPEPAH Health Disparities Program Coordinator Southern Plains Tribal Health Board Nicholas Wahpepah joined the Southern Plains Tribal Health Board in December of 2015 as the Program Coordinator for the organization's Health Disparities Program. The Health Disparities Program is a multifaceted program focused on reducing health disparities among American Indians through a number of objectives. The program seeks to increase the number of American Indians in health professions, improve on data collections and destination, increase cultural competency, and empower American Indians to be more proactive in their own health choices. "I'm so glad I was able to find a career where I get to help members of my community and all American Indians," Wahpepah said. "I'm excited to be on board with this organization that's already done so much and has such big plans." Wahpepah was born and raised in Shawnee, OK and is Kickapoo and Winnebago. He is married to Candice and has two boys; Benjamin and Brandon Wahpepah.


APRIL/MAY/JUNE 2016 | 15


#30 Peyton Pratt - Freshman shooting guard for Northeastern State University

#15 Jace Pratt - Sophomore shooting guard for Sperry High School

From Boys to Leaders




As I sit here watching my oldest son, Peyton, dribble the ball down the court, he passes it to his brother, Jace, who’s behind the three-point mark. He pulls up and scores as little brother, Seth, watching from

the bleachers, jumps up and yells…. These boys make it look like they’ve been playing together all of their life. It amazes me how basketball has helped them mature into fine young men. Before my sons could walk, they were playing with a ball of some kind- whether it was a basketball, baseball, or football. As they started organized ball, they learned how to become Christian student athletes. As parents, we have always made them understand that school work has to remain a top priority in order to continue to play. Having this understanding has helped them to recognize the importance of perseverance and hard work. In addition to helping them to stay in good physical health, sports has also taught them how to become leaders in life and on their teams. I know at times it was hard, especially when they lost, but we were there to comfort them and help them grow through it. In turn, they learned how to be humble through gratifying victories. As the two oldest have grown up, they have enriched their characters by learning and utilizing their leadership skills through helping their dad coach their younger brother’s teams. Over the years, the boys have gained respect from their coaches and from the community by being strong Native role models and sharing their knowledge of the sport with the community. This has also transformed them into leaders in their youth clubs at school and church.

He was one of the five starters for this past basketball season. Our middle child, Jace, is a sophomore at Sperry High School and is in his second year of being a starter on the Varsity basketball team. Our third child, Seth, is showing the same characteristics as his older brothers. We remind them in everything they do to keep focused on God and He will show them the path. I believe they are representing their tribes – Choctaw, Pawnee, Cherokee, and Sioux proudly. One of our family’s favorite Bible verses is Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It’s been a fulfilling journey- one through which we have witnessed how sports can transform boys into leaders.

At the tender age of 11, even our youngest, Seth, is being transformed into a leader. As I’m watching him dribble the ball down the court, he’s telling his teammates where they need to be on the court. All three boys have actually matured into leaders on the court and off the court. Our oldest, Peyton, has taken the next step after high school and is just completing his freshman year as a student athlete at Northeastern State University.

#22 Seth Pratt - Fifth grade point guard for Sperry Booster Club team

APRIL/MAY/JUNE 2016 | 17

Pictured from left: Charlie Eisenburger, Mike Roberts, "Boomer", Terry Tsotigh, and Nicholas Wahpepah.

University of Oklahoma Hosts Native American Heritage Night at OU Basketball Games STORY BY: NICK WAHPEPAH • HEALTH DISPARITIES PROGRAM COORDINATOR PHOTOS BY: T'ATA ROBERTS

The University of Oklahoma honored American Indian students and members of the community with a Native American Heritage Night at the men’s and women’s basketball games. Native American Heritage Night was spearheaded, coordinated, and carried out by OU student and member of the Taos Pueblo, Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations, Ms. T’ata Roberts. Roberts is very active in the Native American Community both at the University, having served in various

leadership capacities, and outside the University, having traveled globally to provide presentations on Native American art, history, and culture. Because of her background and leadership abilities, Ms. Roberts was approached by the University and asked for her input on how best to strengthen the relationship between the Native American Community and the University of Oklahoma through an events such as the Native American Heritage Night.


Roberts, a fancy-shawl and hoop dancer, took the opportunity to highlight multiple aspects of Native American Culture through song and dance. Roberts said dance helps Natives stay not only physically fit, but also mentally fit and culturally fit. “Dancing has always been part of Native lifestyle regardless of tribe or region, all Native people had dance in some way, shape or form. On the cultural aspect, dancing always had a meaning, whether it be for a good hunting season, celebration of victory

after battle, through stories of bravery, or simply as a gathering of people. In more contemporary terms, the meaning of some of the more known Native dances has changed to allow an individual dancer to express themselves through their own movements”, Roberts said. “It allows an individual to showcase him or herself in a way that no one else can but that individual. When you dance, it is just you and the music, no one telling you what to do or where to go. It's just you, your mind and your body. Complete control and it just makes you feel good.” Roberts chose to highlight a lesserknown dance style at the event: the Horsetail Dance. The Horsetail Dance honors the horse—an animal which has provided assistance to Native Americans for centuries. With the introduction of the horse, tribes were able to travel longer distances, provide more food and better shelter for their families and protect themselves from enemies. The introduction of the horse had a dramatic positive impact on Indian nations and many tribes honor this animal with song and dance. Southern Plains Tribal Health Board employee, Nicholas Wahpepah, participated in the event by providing his interpretation of the Horsetail Dance.

“Our Native Community's unity on campus has really changed a lot, allowing us to all come together to create a stronger voice to be heard, which it has been. Together we have changed ‘Columbus Day’ to Indigenous Peoples Day made through a resolution signed by OU President David Boren,” Roberts said. “We have also expanded to have our presence be even more known on campus by reaching out to a bigger audience than on just the organizational level and trying to be more involved and collaborative with campus-wide projects. Our Native students are actually seeming to be more encouraged and willing to step outside the Native Community and getting more involved campus wide.

T’ata Roberts is an OU student and member of the Taos Pueblo, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Nations.


“I was very honored to be asked to participate in this event,” Wahpepah said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to present an aspect of our culture and heritage to the OU fans. It felt good to get out there and dance.” Roberts said more events are planned to recognize OU’s diverse community including the Native American Community.

Nick Wahpepah and Mike Roberts performing the Horsetail Dance during halftime of the men's OU basketball game.

APRIL/MAY/JUNE 2016 | 19




IMAGINE YOU LIVE IN A RURAL AREA AND IT TAKES YOU OVER AN HOUR TO GET TO THE NEAREST TOWN. THIS TOWN HAS A POPULATION OF APPROXIMATELY 900 PEOPLE WITH A SMALL GROCERY STORE, A HEALTH DEPARTMENT, ONE PRIVATE PRACTICE PHYSICIAN, AND ONE PRIVATE PRACTICE DENTIST. It is a Saturday and you start to feel some pain in a tooth on the upper left side of your mouth. You take some ibuprofen and the pain goes away. The pain comes and goes for a couple weeks and you continue to self-treat your symptoms with ibuprofen because the one dentist in town stays booked weeks in advance, the health department has a dentist on site but she is only available on the two days that you can’t make the drive into town. The pain becomes more intense and it starts to radiate up into your sinuses and even to your lower jaw. You can’t chew so you have succumbed to eat only soups and soft foods. It’s becoming difficult to do your job as all you can focus on is the throbbing pain that drums on the left side of your face. You decide to call in sick from work and by that evening the pain becomes unbearable so you drive to an emergency room that is located two hours away. The dentist in the emergency room extracts your tooth and gives you antibiotics because of the amount of infection caused by the diseased tooth.

What you later find out is that if care was readily available and accessible at the time of initial symptoms: 1) The tooth could have been saved if the issue was addressed earlier 2) You would have saved a significant amount of money, including money spent and lost wages from missed work 3) You would not have had to experience the pain and suffering for the duration that you did. Unfortunately, this is real life for many people on a daily basis and arguably on a much larger scale. Especially in Kansas, it’s a dire issue. According to a 2012 report by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the University of Kansas Medical Center, at least 57,000 Kansans live in so-called dental deserts, where the closest dental office is at least a half-hour drive from the resident's home. The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation is a member of the Kansas Dental Project Coalition who are advocating to bring mid-level dental providers to the state of Kansas to address these access-to-care issues that affect their tribal citizens. A dental therapist, the proposed mid-level dental provider

in Kansas, would closely mimic the medical model exemplified by the nurse practitioner or the physician assistant in that the dental therapist would work under the supervision of a dentist. Some of the oral health care functions a dental therapist would be qualified to perform include: • All care performed by a dental hygienist • Basic restorations (fillings) • Non-surgical extractions of baby teeth • Non-surgical extractions of very loose adult teeth • Placement of temporary crowns February 10, 2016 was Advocacy Day for the Kansas Dental Project in Topeka, Kansas at the State Capitol. The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, as well as others that are a part of the Kansas Dental Project Coalition, spoke to legislators to help push the dental therapist initiative through. For more information about the Kansas Dental Project, or dental therapists, please visit

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Special Thanks... to Rachel Crawford, Director of Health Equity at the American Heart Association and Terrie Wright registered nurse with the Perkins Family Clinic for the Iowa Tribes of Oklahoma. Thank you to the Stillwater Meridian Technology practical nursing students that assisted on the van with the Iowa Tribe events. Without your support, we could not achieve our goal to improve the lives and health of the American Indian people in Oklahoma. SPTHB CARING VAN STAFF: JANICE BLACK • PUBLIC HEALTH TRAINING COORDINATOR AND YONAVEA HAWKINS • PUBLIC HEALTH TRAINING COORDINATOR



Go Red for Native Women THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2016 The Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB) Caring Van staff attended the 2016 American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Native Women” this health event took place at the Claude Cox Omniplex in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. The goal was to empower native women to take positive action to protect their health with knowledge and tools that reduce their risks of heart disease and stroke.


Wellness in the Workplace Summit WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2016 The SPTHB Caring Van took part in the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma’s “Wellness in the Workplace Summit” on February 17th at the Cimarron Casino, Perkins, Oklahoma. Glucose screenings were administered to 36 casino employees on the Caring Van. Pictured are the practical nursing students from the Meridian Technology, stillwater.


Wellness Summit FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2016

Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma’s “Wellness Summit” for the tribal employees took place at their tribal complex in the White Cloud building. The SPTHB Caring Van did 60 blood pressure and weight screenings. The Iowa tribal employees that participated in the screenings included the administrative staff, daycare workers, police department, and fire department.

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The Southern Plains Tribal Health Board (SPTHB) would like to pause for a moment to acknowledge the recent passing of CEO, Dr. Rodney Stapp of the Urban Inter-Tribal Center of Texas (UITCT). We also would like to take a moment to recognize and remember the contributions and immense impact he made for American Indians. Dr. Stapp’s contributions to American Indian Health and Healthcare will be felt for Seven Generations, as was his hope and desire. For more than a decade, Dr. Stapp, a podiatrist by trade and member of the Comanche Nation, served the Native American Community first as a volunteer doctor and eventual Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Inter-Tribal Center of Texas. Dr. Stapp’s journey to helping his American Indian people began with his mother’s battle with diabetes. While battling the disease, she lost both legs to amputation. This event had a tremendous effect on Dr. Stapp. He made the decision to leave his established career with AT&T, become a podiatrist and dedicate his life to helping others avoid the debilitating effects of diabetes. Dr. Stapp’s wife, Lauri, supported his vision and encouraged him. This allowed Dr. Stapp to graduate from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine.

In Memoriam DR. RODNEY STAPP Podiatrist, Chief Executive Officer,

Urban Inter-Tribal Center of Texas

Born: March 16, 1961 in Frederick, OK

Died: January 21, 2016 at 54 years old Enrolled Member of the Comanche Nation

Lauri Stapp said, “His purpose from Day One was, ‘How do you get native people to sustain their health, to sustain mobility and not lose their feet?’” After medical school in New York, Dr. Stapp made his way back to Texas where he began volunteering with the Urban Inter-Tribal Center of Texas. While working at UITCT, Dr. Stapp began working with Nike’s Manager of Native American Business, Sam McCracken. He explained to McCracken similarities among American Indians’ feet and suggested ways a shoe could be designed to reduce the instances of ulcers on diabetic wearer’s feet, thereby potentially reducing the number of complications and amputations. The cooperation between Sam and Dr. Stapp worked and led to the creation of the N7 shoe and line by Nike. Through N7, Nike has helped Native Americans become more active by promoting health and wellness and reduced foot stress to diabetic patients who have received the N7 shoes at reduced or no cost. The SPTHB, its employees, and its partners will truly miss Dr. Rodney Stapp and will endeavor to honor his legacy by continuing his initiative to consider the next Seven Generation’s health and wellbeing.



SPTHB Tribal Epidemiology Center Director, Mr. Tom Anderson stated, “Dr. Stapp served for many years as Advisory Board member for the Oklahoma Area Tribal Epidemiology Center, and wore many hats all resulting in something positive for American Indians. It was an honor and a privilege to work alongside Dr. Stapp. His voice will be missed…”

with health care providers statewide to determine if their patients meet the criteria for testing and arrange for testing to be conducted. There is no vaccine, preventative medication, or specific treatment drug available for Zika virus.

First Cases of Zika Virus Confirmed in Oklahoma Travelers The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has received confirmation that two state residents acquired the Zika virus during international travel. These are the first laboratory confirmed cases of the virus in Oklahoma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratory in Ft. Collins, CO notified OSDH of the results this week. Zika virus is transmitted to people primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito, though there also have been reports of transmission through sexual contact or from mother to unborn child. The disease can cause fever, rash, muscle and joint aches and red eyes. These symptoms typically last several days to a week, and hospitalizations are rare. Most people exposed to Zika virus won’t develop any symptoms at all. The most significant health threat is for pregnant women because Zika virus infections have been linked to the birth defect microcephaly, miscarriages, and

other poor birth outcomes in some women infected during their pregnancy. Local transmission of Zika virus is not currently occurring in the United States. “Recommending that individuals returning from travel to areas where Zika virus has been identified to consult with their physician if they exhibit any of the symptoms associated with the disease, particularly women who are pregnant” said Oklahoma State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley. “Fortunately for Oklahoma, the Aedes aegypti mosquito is not commonly found in the state.” Southern states with greater presence of this mosquito are at higher risk of seeing cases of Zika virus spread locally. However, a Zika virus epidemic is unlikely in the 48 contiguous states due to the widespread use of air conditioning, lower density of housing, and availability and use of mosquito repellents.

The CDC and OSDH advise pregnant women to delay travel to foreign countries and U.S. territories where Zika virus is being transmitted. Oklahomans traveling to Zika-affected areas over the upcoming Spring Break should take extra precautions to protect against mosquito bites. To prevent the spread of the disease, people traveling to those areas should carefully follow steps to avoid mosquito bites while there and for seven days after returning home. Mosquito exposure prevention tips while traveling to affected areas include: • Use air conditioning or window/door screens to keep mosquitoes outside. If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito bed net. • Use mosquito repellents according to instructions. • If weather permits, wear longsleeved shirts and long pants. • Help reduce the number of mosquitoes outside your home, hotel room or workplace by emptying standing water from containers, such as flowerpots or buckets. For more information on the Zika virus, visit for links to fact sheet information from the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) along with the most recent statistics on cases. Source: OSDH Office of Communications

This article was released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) on March 3, 2016. Please check the OSDH Web site for recent updates on the Zika virus.

OSDH Acute Disease Service epidemiologists are working directly

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Staff Directory





Jenifer ShieldChief Gover

Executive Director

(405) 652-9201

Tom Anderson, MPH

OK Tribal Epidemiology Center Director

(405) 652-9204

Cuyler Snider, MPH

Deputy Director OK Area Tribal Epi Center

(405) 652- 9205

Tracy Prather, R.T., CVT, MHA

Deputy Director OK Area Tribal Epi Center

(405) 652-9216

RD Dickens

Program Development Manager

(405) 652-9206

Alex E. Smith

Creative Director

(405) 652-9212

Loren Tonemah

Project Manager

(405) 652-9207

Chris Reed

Creative Services Coordinator

(405) 492-6050

Tracy Sexton, MBA

Grant Finance Director

(405) 652-9219

Phyllis Pratt, MPH

Finance Director

(405) 652-9210

Melanie Johnson, M.Ed.

SPF-TIG Grant Lead/ Project Manager

(405) 652-9211

Sucharat Tayarachakul, MPH


(405) 652-9215

Aron Wahkinney, B.S.

Community Health Specialist

(405) 652-9203

Shoshanna Johnson

Administrative Assistant

(405) 652-9200

Patricia Yarholar, MPH, CHES

TEC Grant Lead/ Public Health Coordinator

(405) 652-9214

Chris Tall Bear, MLS

Tobacco Program Coordinator

(405) 652-9208

Amber Anderson

OSCTR Grant Lead/Practice Enhancement Assistant

(405) 652-9213

Erin Hodson


(405) 492-6060

Susan Gay, M.A.Ed., CHES

Public Health Training Coordinator

(405) 652-9202

Janice Black

Caring Van Coordinator

(405) 652-9209

(405) 652-9218

(405) 492-6100

Yonavea Hawkins Nick Wahpepah

Public Health Training Coordinator Health Disparities Program Coordinator

Julie Seward, RDH, M.Ed.

Public Health Specialist

(405) 339-7225

Tyler Dougherty

Biostatistical Intern

(405) 652-9200

Amanda Janitz


(918) 407-0961

Tamara James

Men’s Health Consultant

(405) 492-6055


FastStats is an official application from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and puts access to topic-specific statistics at your fingertips. The app provides quick access to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Topics include diseases and conditions, injuries, life stages and populations, health care and insurance, births, and deaths. Content is updated automatically when the device is connected to the internet, giving the user the most up-to-date health statistics available. Download it free today for iOS or Android. SOURCE: WWW.CDC.GOV/NCHS/FASTATS/MOBILE-APPLICATION.HTM

APRIL/MAY/JUNE 2016 | 27

SOUTHERN PLAINS TRIBAL HEALTH BOARD ■ 9705 N. BROADWAY EXTENSION, STE. 150 ■ OKLAHOMA CITY, OK. 73114 PHONE (405) 652-9200 ■ FAX (405) 840-7052 ■ WEBSITE COMING SOON! For newsletter submissions, questions, or to be placed on the mailing list email: or • Subject NEWSLETTER