Ivana Castellanos

Today’s guest blogger is Ivana Castellanos, a policy analyst with APHA's Center for Public Health Policy.

November is National Native American Heritage Month, and we’re inviting you to learn about the health challenges faced by tribal communities, as well as innovative work being done to protect health. 

During APHA’s 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo in Philadelphia, a Nov. 5 scientific session will examine opportunities in tribal public and environmental health. Session speakers will highlight the work of the Tribal Public and Environmental Health Think Tank, a group of professionals with diverse backgrounds in tribal public and environmental health convened by APHA’s Center for Public Health Policy.

With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Environmental Health and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the think tank elevates the voices of tribal communities that confront unique environmental and public health challenges. The think tank’s work focuses on six priority environmental health issues that tribal communities face: food, infrastructure and system development, climate and health, resource extraction, air quality and water quality.

Participants at the APHA 2019 session will learn about the impact of changing environments on tribal health and culture, discuss how cross-sector partnerships are creating positive change and hear lessons learned from ongoing efforts in tribal communities.

Presenters will also highlight CDC’s work in tribal communities, pinpoint opportunities for improvement and stress the importance of community engagement. For example, one of the session’s presentations will highlight the impacts of resource extraction in Alaska’s North Slope and how community organizers are using traditional knowledge and storytelling to guide local response and protect people’s health.

We look forward to engaging with you during the Annual Meeting and beyond as we work to support positive change for health.