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News Release

Seven Directions, A Center for Indigenous Public Health

“Seven Directions, A Center for Indigenous Public Health” (7D, is the first national public health institute in the U.S. focused solely on Indigenous health and wellness. Its commitments are to cultivate and share knowledge, connect communities and resources and work together to achieve shared goals for future generations. 7D’s vision is “All Indigenous Peoples living long and healthy lives for generations to come.”

Myra Parker, JD-PhD (Mandan-Hidatsa), Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and affiliated faculty with IWRI, became the Director of 7D in mid-2018. In the short time since Myra assumed the Directorship, she has strengthened partnerships with the National Network of Public Health Institutes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and several tribes. She hit the ground running with seven major projects on her plate (as well as some smaller, technical assistance contracts):

  • Cherokee Nation Health Services (CNHS) strategic planning and public health re-accreditation, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). Serving a large swath of NE Oklahoma, Cherokee Nation Health Services is the first Native American health system to secure accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board; 7D is advising Cherokee Nation Health Services to ensure a smooth re-accreditation process in 2020.
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  • STARS in Public Health project to increase capacity at six Native American health systems, funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Six tribal grantees underwent self-assessment of their readiness for formal public health accreditation, and identified the prerequisite systems and evaluation structures that need to be in place.
  • Our Nations, Our Journeys, Indigenous Public Health Forum, held in St. Paul, Minnesota, August 29-30, 2018, funded by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Network of Public Health Institutes: The theme, “Transforming our Health Systems,” had four streams: (1) Indigenous Pathways to Health, (2) Data as Knowledge, (3) Governance for Health, and (4) Performance and Innovation. 
  • Opioid Overdose Prevention in Tribes: Technical Assistance through Public Health Institutes project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): This project seeks to support 25 tribal community grantees addressing opioid overdoses by: (1) Strengthening epidemiologic surveillance and public health data infrastructure, (2) Increasing implementation of evidence-based health interventions in health systems, and (3) Highlighting effective current opioid overdose prevention activities. 
  • Tribal Public Health Capacity Recipient Support project for 25 tribal grantees, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In this project, 7D will support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in convening webinars and an in-person meeting, as well as designing an evaluation plan. 
  • Indigenous Social Determinants of Health project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This project will seek to tap into Indigenous knowledge of the social determinants of health through a comprehensive environmental scan, creating a framework and community of practice that honors wellness traditions in tribal and urban Indian communities. 
  • Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This needs assessment study will survey 25 Indian Health Services, tribal, and urban out-patient clinics identifying common problems and best practices that can be a springboard for providing fall prevention training and support.