Bemidji Area Tribal Environmental Health Assessment
Over the summer I spent most of my time at Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center (GLITEC) working on an assessment of environmental health priorities and resources among the 34 Tribes in the Bemidji area, an Indian Health Service area that covers Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. This is part of a larger effort by GLITEC to start addressing environmental health in addition to the established focus areas of behavioral health, maternal and child health, and chronic disease.
The assessment had three parts: a review of Tribal websites to see if there were any environmental services or resources identified, a survey completed by Tribal health directors and environmental staff, and key informant interviews. Raymond Allen, a NARCH intern and student at Ripon College, and Alex Cirillo, an MPH student at the University of Michigan, were both extremely helpful in conducting the assessment. We received 28 surveys from health directors and environmental staff and conducted 17 key informant interviews with staff from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), and staff from the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Health in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
I shared the assessment results with staff at the IHS Bemidji office in September and am wrapping up the final report, which will be reviewed by a sample of health directors and Tribal environmental staff, then shared at Tribal health director meetings and posted on the GLITEC website.