RMTEC Report: 2018 Substance Abuse, Poor Mental Health, and the Social Determinants of Health
Social Determinants of Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, are the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These social, physical, and economic conditions can significantly affect an individual’s health outcomes and overall quality of life. Health inequities arise in environments where challenging social conditions exist, impacting an individual’s likeliness of developing mental health disorders and initiating substance abuse. This report explores the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) and Substance Use and Mental Health (SUMH) in Montana and Wyoming counties with a focus on American Indian populations.
The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council – Tribal Epidemiology Center partnered with Tribal Prevention Initiative to explore substance abuse and poor mental health in Montana and Wyoming using the social determinants of health framework.
RMTEC Report: Public Health Workforce Development
The public health workforce is shrinking. There are 50,000 fewer public health workers in the United States today compared to 20 years ago—tribes have been impacted by the shortage of tribal public health workers. Tribal public health professionals are in charge of hospitals and health care, they initiate and maintain data surveillance systems. Others provide critical services in the way of environmental engineering, environmental health, epidemiology, infection control, social work occupational safety, nursing, nutrition, and more. The tribal public health workforce is impacted by funding shortfalls within the Indian Health Service and limited training opportunities for tribal public health workforce professionals.
The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council – Tribal Epidemiology Center in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Public Health Training Center at the University of Colorado Denver, are assessing tribal public health workforce needs throughout Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. In December 2016, Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council – Tribal Epidemiology Center sent a tribal public health workforce assessment to all tribal public health workforce professionals. Results from this assessment will be used to develop training opportunities that strengthen the tribal public health workforce. A summary version of the report is available here.
RMTEC Report: Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Surveillance
Substance abuse is an emerging public health issue. Alcohol consumption alone in the United States contributes to 75,000 deaths each year and costs more than $184 billion. American Indian populations are disproportionately impacted by substance abuse and behavioral health disorders. Limited funding, emerging surveillance infrastructure, and the lack of data make it difficult to document the health effects of substance abuse.
In September 2016, the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council – Tribal Epidemiology Center received a 1-year, $30,000 grant from the Center for State and Territorial Epidemiologists to assess tribal substance use and behavioral health surveillance capacity across tribal jurisdictions of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho. Since then, the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council – Tribal Epidemiology Center met with tribal stakeholders and convened a work group of tribal chemical dependency and behavioral health professionals. The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council – Tribal Epidemiology Center then developed a report with recommendations and surveillance strategies for improved surveillance systems that address emerging drug use, distribution patterns, and related behavioral health disorders. For more information on the project, click here.
To learn more about work on substance abuse, visit the Center for State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ website.