News Releases

NIHB to host public health webinar on STD testing in Indian Country Feb. 4

I WANT THE KIT: Increasing access to STD testing through Web-based at-home testing

When: Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 beginning at 3 p.m. CST

At the end of this presentation, participants will be able to:
1. Understand the history of the I WANT THE KIT (IWTK) program and the rationale for its use in Indian Country
2. Understand the logistics of setting up an at-home testing program like IWTK
3. Understand Alaska’s experience of implementing the IWTK program

Target Audience
Educators, Health & Educational Administrators, Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Counselors, Pharmacists, Pharmacy Technicians, Psychologists, Dentists, Physicians, Physicians Assistants, Social Workers, Allied Health Professionals.

Presented by:

Brenna Simons, PhD; Connie Jessen, MA; & Lisa Rea RN from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium; and Charlotte Gaydos, DrPH, MPH, MS from Johns Hopkins University

This presentation is open to everyone and no registration is required. Simply follow the instructions under “Connection Information” on the day of the presentation to be connected.

Connection Information
1. Go to:
2. Select the “Enter as a Guest” option
3. Input your name (first and last) in the Name box
4. There is no passcode
5. Press the “Enter Room Button”

For technical assistance or questions regarding the webinar and content, please contact Jessica Leston at (907) 244-3888 or

NIHB addresses Senate Committee on Indian Affairs during Jan. 28 hearing

NIHB highlights Native American priorities for the 114th Congress

NIHB Executive Director Testifies before Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
NIHB Executive Director Stacy Bohlen testifies before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Jan. 28, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, Jan. 28, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held its first hearing during the 114th Congress to gain an overview of American Indian and Alaska Native priority issues.

National Indian Health Board (NIHB) Executive Director Stacy A. Bohlen (Sault Ste. Marie Chippewa) testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in an oversight hearing to explore “Indian Country Priorities for the 114th Congress.”

In his first hearing as Committee Chair, Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) noted in his introductory remarks that: “As chairman, my top priorities are jobs, energy and natural resource development, healthcare, education, juvenile justice, and tribal self-governance.”

New Committee Vice Chairman John Tester (D-MT) said: “I look forward to working with…everybody…on this committee to move Indian Country forward.”

The hearing clearly demonstrated the continuing bi-partisan, collaborative commitment to continue being the legislative nexus for the advancement of issues important to American Indians and Alaska Natives.

“Our Peoples continue to live sicker and die younger than other Americans,” said Bohlen.  “Our lifespan is 4.2 years less than other Americans and on some reservations, like Wind River – home of the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming – where life expectancy is only 49 years. …It’s more than time that we must stand together to change these realities.”  Affirming the federal government’s trust responsibility for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, the NIHB set forth an agenda for change.  NIHB will diligently work with the Committee to advance these Tribal objectives.

Ms. Bohlen set forth the Tribal Health agenda, including such issues as:

  • Mandatory and increased Appropriations for the Indian Health Service
  • Advance appropriations for Indian Health Service (like the Veteran’s Administration)
  • Exemption for Tribes from all sequestration and rescission cuts
  • Medicare-Like Rates for Purchased Referred Care for non-hospital providers
  • Exemption for Tribes from the Employer Mandate in the affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • Correcting the Definition of Indian in the ACA
  • 5-year renewal of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians at $200 million per year
  • Oversight on implementation of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA)
  • Long-term, sustainable methods to fully fund Contract Support Costs
  • Investment into Indian Country’s public health infrastructure

Located in Washington DC on Capitol Hill, the NIHB, a non-profit organization, provides a variety of services to tribes, Area Health Boards, Tribal organizations, federal agencies, and private foundations.  The NIHB continually presents the Tribal perspective while monitoring federal legislation, and opening opportunities to network with other national health care organizations to engage their support on Indian health care issues.  Please visit for more information.

To read NIHB’s full written statement, please click here.

To view a video of the hearing, please click here.

NHNA teams with Treatment Diaries for #TreatDiariesChat Feb. 3

Native Health News Alliance and American Indian Cancer Foundation will join Treatment Diaries for evening Twitter chat Feb. 3 

Who: Native Health News Alliance and Treatment Diaries

What: #TreatDiariesChat

When: Tuesday, Feb. 3 from 7-8 p.m., CDT (chat will last one hour)

Where: Twitter

The Native Health News Alliance is partnering with Treatment Diaries for a Twitter chat in recognition of American Heart Month month during February. The American Indian Cancer Foundation will also be participating as a partner.

This chat will explore how heart disease affects Native communities – we’ll share stories, challenges and highlights of covering this topic, whether that has been on a tribal, local or national level.

Please join the chat by tweeting and using the #treatdiarieschat hashtag to share your insight on Native health in Indian County, whether it’s through a blog, coverage or your work in the health care field as a provider or a communications pro.

Participants are welcome to promote their media outlets and organizations through resources or connections. If there are others you’d think would benefit from the conversation, please share this invitation with them.

About Treatment Diaries is a unique healthcare platform and online patient community built at the intersection of personal health, privacy, and social communication. td-logoIndividual patients, caregivers and health advocates from around the world connect on Treatment Diaries to share their journey and bring personal insight to resources, treatment options and outcomes. The platform now serves as a way to bring personalized adherence, compliance and disease awareness materials to patients in a way that brings each individual closer to the center of their care.  Treatment Diaries believes sharing health experiences can help lead to improved adherence and better health.

This virtual support group is free and always available; offering a safe place to anonymously keep multiplediaries of your daily journey, across more than one condition – either privately or shared out with others, allowing for shared coping strategies, support for others and the exchange of information. is dedicated to the needs of ALL types of users including; individual patients, caregivers, family members and advocates. We promote the importance of keeping a diary of life changing experiences and the significance of engaging in behaviors and activities, which promote health, mental wellness and the self-management of chronic conditions.

There’s a new landing page specifically for Native Americans with chronic illnesses or those caring for loved ones living with these conditions.

Where can you go to learn from individuals who really understand what you’re facing as a Native American while remaining private about life’s circumstances? Treatment Diaries meets Native Americans at the crossroads of social and health; providing a safe and completely private experience, with the support you need most from the people who understand you best!

 About American Indian Cancer Foundation 

The mission of AICAF is to eliminate the cancer burdens on American Indian families through education, prevention, early detection, treatment and survivor support.americanIndianCancer_logo

AICAF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that was established to address the tremendous cancer inequities faced by American Indian and Alaska Native communities. AICAF’s board members and employees are American Indian, with an array of experience serving the health needs of our people.

About Native Health News Alliance 

The Native Health News Alliance (NHNA) is non-profit news organization in partnership with the Native American Journalists Association. nhna_logo_2clrWe serve media outlets with multimedia news and feature stories specific to the health and wellness needs, issues and concerns of the American Indian Alaskan Native governments and communities.

NHNA editors and journalists focus on health news from the ground up, featuring the voices of those most affected and those at the forefront of health and wellness.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports NCAI President Cladoosby’s statement on equal opportunities for Native children

W.K. Kellogg Foundation President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron Responds to NCAI President Brian Cladoosby’s State of Indian Nations Address

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. Brian Cladoosby, president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), articulated in his State of Indian Nations address that progress is being made in implementing policies that are strengthening tribal economies and justice systems, improving the quality of life of American Indian and Alaska Native peoples and modernizing the trust relationship between tribal nations and the federal government. Yet, Cladoosby emphasizes that much more must be done.

WKKFThe W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) fully endorses his declaration that “we must tear down barriers to growth” that are hindering opportunities for Native Americans.

Most importantly, we must address the obstacles and realities faced by American Indian and Alaska Native children – many of which are frequently overlooked, or even ignored. Twenty-five percent of Native children live in poverty; approximately half graduate from high school; suicide is the leading cause of death for native children and youths; and they are twice as likely as any other race to die before the age of 24. Many of the inequities and barriers native children face are the result of racism, poverty, under-resourced schools and unhealthy living environments.

The Kellogg Foundation applauds this commitment and all efforts that make the challenges and successes of native children a visible and central part of our public discourse. WKKF believes every child, regardless of race or income, deserves an equal opportunity to thrive. By modernizing the trust relationship and empowering tribes, as PresidentCladoosby advocates, tribal-led solutions can be developed to ensure that native children can succeed in school, work and life. A critical component of these efforts is and will be emphasizing cultural relevance, with parents, families and native communities playing essential roles in their children’s development and care.

The Wakanyeja “Sacred Little Ones” Early Childhood Education Initiative of the American Indian College Fund is an example of a program that is strengthening and improving the quality of early childhood education in native communities. Funded by WKKF and others, the program empowers parents and families to become strong advocates for their preschool-aged children, while incorporating native languages and culture into its curriculum. It exemplifies a tribal-led solution that creates space for authentic participation and tribal sovereignty.

WKKF applauds Cladoosby for citing the success of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, which helped create the nation’s first dental health therapist workforce more than a decade ago, which has expanded access to dental care to more than 40,000 children and families. By age 2, nearly 80 percent of native children will have tooth decay. Gone untreated, decay can affect a child’s general health and cause her to lose valuable time in school. These effective mid-level dental providers have first-hand knowledge of their communities’ needs and provide affordable, high-quality, culturally competent and responsive care to those who need it. Building on this successful model, WKKF has been a leader in supporting the broader use of dental therapists to increase access to dental care where it’s needed most.

Every child has promise and potential.  Federal, tribal, state and local governments along with nonprofits and the private sector must build trust and work in partnership to ensure that Native American children have equal opportunities to succeed.  For too long the challenges and accomplishments of native children have been invisible to most Americans. WKKF hopes that this year will see a national bipartisan focus on all children and their families, and growing support for more tribal-led solutions to help each and every native child thrive.


About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

San Manuel gives $6 million gift to continue FNX Native media programming

First Nations Experience Television Network commemorates $6 million gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

SAN BERNADINO, Calif.— KVCR- CH 24, the public television station of the San Bernardino Community College District, is proud to be receiving the second $6 million gift from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The gift supports FNX | First Nations Experience, the country’s first and only public television network dedicated to Native American and World Indigenous content.

KVCR-TV, the PBS affiliate for Inland Southern California, created and launched the FNX Channel in 2011 with the support of Founding Partners, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. FNX has grown into a fulltime, self-contained, 24/7 turnkey, national public television network with affiliates broadcasting into 12 states. FNX is now available to public and community TV stations across America via satellite over the Public Television Interconnect System. FNX is one of the most unique and innovative developments in Public Media, and this second gift to FNX from San Manuel marks one of the largest commitments in history to public television and underserved audiences. Arising from a need for Native Americans to tell their own stories; to help preserve our culture, to promote awareness and appreciation for Native culture and history among the general public, FNX is the most exciting new programming development in public media today.

CDC releases report on disease incidence in Native communities

According to new data published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations experienced higher rates of new infections than non-Hispanic white (NHW) populations in 14 of 26 reportable infectious diseases during 2007-2011. Although incidence rates of some infectious diseases have declined in AI/AN populations, disparities between groups remain.

CDC analyzed data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System that collects reports on nationally notifiable diseases in the United States and its territories. Interventions are needed to reduce disparities in chlamydia, gonorrhea, West Nile virus, spotted fever rickettsiosis, and other infections among AI/AN and NHW populations.

View the full report here:


Complete the NHNA Native media survey by Jan. 27 for a chance to win a $50 Target gift card

Share your experience working with a Native media outlet

Complete the NHNA Native media survey by Jan. 27 for a chance to win a $50 Target gift card

The Native Health News Alliance aims to serve a diverse group of media outlets. This 15-minute survey aims to give NHNA a better understanding of reporting practices across Native media outlets in the U.S.

Take the survey online by clicking the link here:

All Native and non-Native reporters, journalists, editors and producers working for tribal media outlets are encouraged to take the survey, which should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. All responses will remain confidential. After completing the survey, participants may enter their email addresses for a chance to win a $50 Target gift card.

Only surveys completed by Jan. 27 will be entered in the drawing for the gift card.

National Drug Facts Week set for Jan. 26 – Feb. 1

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) invite all to participate in National Drug Facts Week (NDFW), a national health observance Jan. 26 -Feb. 1, 2015. Now in its fifth year, NIDA developed NDFW to get the science out to teens about the effects of drug use on the brain, body, and behavior through community-based events and activities to help shatter their myths about drug abuse and addiction.

As part of its efforts to address substance abuse in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, NIHB encourages you to work with local youth, schools, Tribal health departments, and prevention coalitions to organize an educational event or activity for teens that delivers real, factual information about drugs and drug abuse.

Here’s how to get involved:

For more information, contact Brian Marquis at

NPF hosts free webinar Jan. 7: Covering Ebola

NPFNational Press Foundation to host free webinar on covering Ebola Jan. 7 at 12:30 p.m. EST

Are health officials, governments and the media better prepared for the next disease outbreak?

Over the past year, the Ebola disaster has been a humbling series of lessons – for health officials at all levels in the U.S., and abroad, for local governments, the military and the media. We learned that our global health infrastructure needs shoring up, and that national borders are no protection from an epidemic. A US hospital fumbled, the CDC made promises they couldn’t keep and news outlets across the board incited panic.

Join a discussion of these issues and more, in this free, one-hour webinar.


Amy Maxmen, Ph.D., Science Journalist

Gregg Zoroya, Journalist, USA Today



Alaska dental health aide therapists mark 10 years in practice; Provided expanded access to 40,000 Alaska Native people


From the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Other states considering the Alaska midlevel dental model 

2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the first group of Alaska students returning from education in New Zealand to become Alaska’s, and the nation’s, first Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs). Those DHATs, along with the faculty, dentists, Tribal leaders and rural communities who support this program, were pioneers, the first to bring midlevel dental providers to the United States. Over the past 10 years, they have expanded much-needed access to dental care and prevention services for more than 40,000 Alaska Native people living in 81 rural, mostly remote communities across the state.

The success of Alaska’s DHATs demonstrates the benefits of adding midlevel providers to a dental team and the importance of providing care in the community in order to expand access. Today, 27 DHATs provide professional and culturally competent dental care in Alaska and 60 percent of the services they provided are preventive. A 2013 report released by Community Catalyst found that midlevel dental providers were economically viable and sustainable, costing less than 30 cents for every dollar of revenue they generated.

Candidates with strong ties to rural communities are selected for the DHAT program. They are trained to clean and fill teeth, perform simple extractions, and provide a range of prevention and education services. DHATs must meet the rigorous standards set by the federal Community Health Aide Program Certification (CHAP) Board. Nearly 80 percent of DHATs return to their home regions to practice and the program has an 81 percent retention rate.

Their accomplishments are a big step forward in combatting the decades-long epidemic of oral suffering and disease around rural Alaska and improving access to dental care for Alaska Native people. Prior to the DHAT innovation, 87 percent of 4-and 5-year–old children and 91 percent of 12-15 year olds had tooth decay.

“More than 40,000 rural Alaskans now have regular access to dental care from a DHAT – access and continuity of care that few had before,” said Andy Teuber, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Chairman and President. “For the first time, we have “cavity-free” clubs in our elementary schools. This is not just change – it is a dramatic transformation from the days when teenagers graduated from high school with full sets of dentures.”

DHATs no longer have to travel across the world for training. Since 2007, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s (ANTHC) DHAT Educational Program has prepared DHAT students with a two-year program led by award-winning staff at state-of-the-art facilities in Anchorage and Bethel. Alaska’s DHATs are trained in the DENTEX program, a partnership between the University of Washington and ANTHC. Students study for one year in Anchorage followed by a second year in Bethel.

The DHAT model has started a movement to authorize midlevel providers to operate in other states and Tribal communities. Alaska’s DHATs and ANTHC’s Educational Program are recognized as models of success for improving oral health and access to care for rural populations around the world. Providers like DHATs are now legally allowed to practice in Minnesota and Maine, and 15 other state are pursuing similar models.

ANTHC and the Federal CHAP Certification Board created   Alaska’s DHAT program, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Rasmuson Foundation and the Bethel Community Services Foundation, to boost the number of dental providers in rural Alaska and the level of dental services available to Alaska Native people.

“Alaska’s Tribes exercised their sovereign rights to create a community-based solution to foster a better health future for their children and improve the health and well-being of their communities.  It is working so well that the rest of the nation is looking to Alaska as they work to solve the oral health crisis in their own communities,” said Dr. Alice Warner, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “The Kellogg Foundation is honored to have been able to support their great work and will continue to stay committed to expanding access to oral health care for the millions of people, particularly children of color and low-income children, who suffer without it.”

On June 6, the Alaska DHAT program’s 2014 graduating class will receive certificates indicating successful completion of the DHAT training program. These five graduates will go on to a 400 hour preceptorship with a sponsoring Tribal health organization prior to certification as a DHAT. ANTHC will also present white coats to six first-year DHAT students transitioning to their second year of education in Bethel.

Why: Celebrating 10 years of DHATs improving access to oral health care in Alaska and the graduation of the 2014 class of DHATs.

When: 2 p.m. Friday, June 6

Where: ANTHC Consortium Office Building, 4000 Ambassador Drive, first floor, Conference Room One

Who: Five graduates will receive certificates of completion from the DHAT Educational Program.

  • Angelica Afcan, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
  • Renee Cheemuk, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
  • Lauren Reed, Maniilaq Association
  • Samantha Brown, Maniilaq Association
  • Shawn Martin, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation

Six first-year students transitioning to their second year of training will receive their white coats.

  • Sadie Green, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
  • Sabrina Manacio, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Corporation
  • Amanda Miles, Kodiak Area Native Association
  • Sharon Johnson, Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation
  • Charles Redfox, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
  • Carrie Tikiun, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation

About the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium is a not-for-profit Tribal health organization managed by Alaska Native Tribal governments and their regional health organizations. We provide statewide services in specialty medical care; construction of water, sanitation and health facilities; community health and research; information technology and professional recruiting. For more information, please visit


About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States.  Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes.  Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success.  WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit