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Tribal Officials Learn A New Way To Track Health Data

Jordan Vandjelovic, Rocky Mountain Tribal Epidemiology Center

Health officials from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes have a new tool to help them improve the health of residents on the Wind River Reservation. Several health advocates recently attended a training to learn how to use software from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to better collect information about health care on the reservation.

The Epi Info program allows users to fill out surveys from any computer or mobile device, and then it analyzes the data while it is being collected. Trainees also learned to use Epi Info's mapping tool to visualize local patterns. 

Pharah Morgan of the Rocky Mountain epidemiology Center says training the tribes to use the software will help them learn to gather and analyze health care information and take ownership of health data in their own communities. 

"Putting this step forward, providing the Epi Info training, is one step toward building the capacity and building the sustainability to give the tribes the ability to analyze their own data."

According to Morgan, collecting local information is important to improving tribal health services, because each tribe has different needs.

"There might be a priority to diabetes data in one location, however if you go to another location, they might hold communicable disease as a priority," Morgan said.

The tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation may be able to use Epi Info to guide their efforts to address chronic disease like diabetes and heart disease. 

Morgan and the Rocky Mountain Tribal Epidemiology Center plan to hold more trainings to ensure that the program is sustainable. 

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