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CDC Establishes First-Ever Tribal Support Section to Respond to Impact of COVID-19 – MeriTalk


While health care disparities are not new, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted persistent and systemic health care inequalities in this country, especially for indigenous communities.

The virus has wreaked disproportionate havoc on many indigenous communities and seeing this critical need and starting with a deep understanding of tribal lands and the special responsibility of each federal entity to tribal nations, Dr Seh Welch, Senior Health Advisor Public Health Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created the CDC’s first-ever tribal support section for public health emergencies.

“Historically, tribes and their services have been underfunded to meet the health needs of the Aboriginal population, which spans the 574 federally recognized tribes,” Welch said in a statement. NextGov virtual event on December 7th. “Indigenous communities face significant inequalities in health care and health status compared to other American populations, primarily due to inadequate access to funding. “

An important part of the CDC’s tribal support section was connecting tribal nations to CDC information and resources. But to do this, Welch explained, it would be crucial to educate the workforce behind this effort about tribal cultures and the different and unique needs of each community.

“We have trained our consultants to translate scientific and public health information into plain language, build trust, and coordinate federal resources to the unique needs of each community,” Welch said.

Additionally, in addition to educating CDC staff on how to communicate and help tribal nations, CDC has also developed resources to help tribal communities plan, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. Including:

  • CDC COVID-19 Funding for Tribes;
  • COVID-19 Resources for Tribal Communities; and
  • CDC Blueprint – Partnering with Tribes to Respond to COVID-19.