American Indian and Alaska Native Reproductive Health
The Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program (MCHEP) resides in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Reproductive Health. MCHEP carries out activities in epidemiology, surveillance, capacity building, data use, and dissemination that lay the groundwork for improving reproductive and maternal and child health (MCH) among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities throughout the United States. MCHEP works to reduce long-standing and substantial MCH disparities between AI/AN and other United States populations.
MCHEP focuses on efforts to help overcome obstacles in AI/AN health by implementing and supporting activities that expand and improve AI/AN MCH through—
- Enhancing research and surveillance in reproductive MCH among AI/AN communities.
- Building the capacity of tribes and tribal organizations to carry out and promote reproductive and MCH epidemiology.
- Increasing the quality and use of reproductive and MCH data collected by the Indian Health Service (IHS) and tribes.
Examples of CDC's AI/AN MCH activities include the following:
- Responding to requests for technical assistance to address MCH issues: CDC responds to tribal requests for epidemiologic assistance. Our most recent assistance was to a tribe in the Northern Plains investigating a reported increase in infant deaths.
- Building MCH epidemiologic capacity in tribes and tribal organizations: A special supplement of the Maternal and Child Health Journal, Research for MCH practice in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities, was the first MCH Journal issue dedicated to AI/AN communities. Papers were solicited for submission from Tribal Epidemiology Centers and AI/AN communities.
- Ensuring CDC surveillance systems collect adequate AI/AN data: The Yankton Sioux Tribe and Northern Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center (NPTEC) led the South Dakota Tribal Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) point-in-time survey and succeeded in obtaining a >70% response rate among mothers who gave birth to AI infants. In 2010, the NPTEC produced a South Dakota Tribal PRAMS Statewide Surveillance Report [PDF-600KB].
- Conducting relevant and timely MCH research in collaboration with tribes and tribal organizations: A study conducted jointly with IHS and tribal health administrations and published in 2011 determined that electronic health records may prove to be beneficial in identifying pregnant women in near real-time surveillance of pandemic influenza: Validation of Algorithm to Identify American Indian/Alaska Native Pregnant Women at Risk from Pandemic H1N1 Influenza.
Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation Training Material Training curriculum and materials for investigators of infant deaths.