NCUIH Newsletter | November 4, 2019 

NCUIH Testifies before Congress on “Native Veterans’ Access to Healthcare”

On Wednesday, October 30, 2019, the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Subcommittee on Health held the first hearing in 30 years on “Native Veterans’ Access to Healthcare.” This oversight hearing examined the unique barriers American Indian and Alaska Native veterans continue to face when seeking access to quality, culturally competent care from VA and the ITU health system. NCUIH Board Vice President and CEO of the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley Sonya Tetnowski (Makah) testified before the Subcommittee with Rep. Brownley presiding.

We serve, we protect and yet we struggle to have parity in the system. I'm sad to report that American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest poverty rate and the highest uninsured rate of any veterans,” said Sonya Tetnowski in her testimony.

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PRESS RELEASE: Senate Passes First FY 2020 Appropriations Minibus with Interior Spending Package

The Senate passed its first fiscal 2020 spending package on Thursday, as lawmakers have only a few weeks left to prevent a government shutdown. This approximately $332 billion package, cleared the full Senate by a final vote of 84-9, and included spending bills for the departments of Interior, Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Transportation-HUD.

The National Council of Urban Indian Health has tirelessly advocated both the House and the Senate to increase the urban Indian health line item. In May, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2020 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill that included an approximated $30 million increase for urban Indian health care in the Indian Health Service budget- bringing funding to $81 million for Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs). Shortly after, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced a $35 billion Interior spending package to include a recommendation of $53 million for the Urban Indian Health program, an approximate increase of almost $2 million above the current enacted level.

NCUIH Contact: Carla Lott (

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Policy Center Highlights 

Regulations Tracker Update: CMS Redesigns Medicare Plan Finder for the First Time in a Decade

In 2020, Medicare beneficiaries will have access to more high-quality Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. In response to feedback received from partners and stakeholders over the last decade, CMS has launched a modernized and redesigned Medicare Plan Finder, available at Medicare Plan Finder users are now able to view Star ratings for 2020 plans and sort plans by the total cost of estimated annual drug costs plus premiums. The Star Ratings system helps beneficiaries compare the quality of health and drug plans being offered. Approximately 81 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees with prescription drug coverage will be in plans with four and five stars, an increase from 69 percent in 2017. On the CMS National Training Program page, you can access training materials, videos, job aids, a current Medicare Top Q&A document, and learn about implementation updates and enhancements for the Medicare Plan Finder​. 

NCUIH Contact: Julia Dreyer (
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Legislative Tracker Update: Bill to Exempt AI/AN Veterans from Copays Introduced

Last week, Representative Gallego introduced the Native American Parity in Access to Care Today (PACT) Act, which would exempt American Indian and Alaska Native veterans from owing a copayment for services received at the Veterans Health Administration.  The bill seeks to end the practice of subjecting AI/AN veterans from copays in light of the federal trust obligation for the provision of health care to AI/ANs.  Original cosponsors of the bill are Representatives Paul Cook, Deb Haaland, Tom Cole, and Ro Khanna.  By including the definitions of Indian and Urban Indian as found in the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, the bill seeks to exempt IHS-eligible AI/ANs from the copayment requirement. 

NCUIH Contact: Carla Lott (
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IHS Announces Appointment of Director of Billings Area IHS

On October 28, IHS issued a Dear Urban Indian Organization Leader Letter (DULL) to formally announce the appointment of Mr. Bryce Redgrave to Director of the Billings Area IHS. Mr. Redgrave will be responsible for providing leadership in the IHS Billings Area, which provides health care services to more than 70,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives. Mr. Redgrave has previously worked at four separate IHS areas -- Navajo, Tucson, Bemidji, and Billings -- and has served as chief executive officer, executive officer, and acting Area Director. More information on Mr. Redgrave can be found in the DULL.
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National Institutes of Health to Host 2019 Traditional Medicine Summit

From Wednesday, November 20 through Friday, November 22, the National Institutes of Health Tribal Health Research Office in conjunction with the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will host a Traditional Medicine Summit at the University of Colorado: Nighthorse Campbell Native Health Building.  The Summit seeks to accomplish the following two goals: (1) reinforce the efficacy of traditional medicine through research and (2) connect younger generations to traditional practices in health research.  

NCUIH Contact: Julia Dreyer (
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Tribal Consultation on NIH All of Us Program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Tribal Consultation on the All of Us Research Program will close November 30, 2019. After the completion of Tribal Consultation, All of Us will
publish a report summarizing the comments and concerns the program has received and outlining initial plans for addressing the issues raised by Tribal leaders. 

Through Consultation, NIH and the All of Us Program seeks to respectfully engage with Tribal Nations to develop meaningful, culturally appropriate collaborations with AI/AN populations.

The goal of this Tribal Consultation is to provide an opportunity for Tribal and Urban Indian organization leadership to have meaningful input, to implement the appropriate protections to comply with Tribal research oversight and laws, and to facilitate information exchange.

Input and comments are welcome at:

NCUIH Contact: Julia Dreyer (
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IHS Urban Confer on the FY 2021 Distribution of SDPI Funds

On October 2, the Indian Health Service (IHS) published a Dear Urban Indian Organization Leader Letter (DULL) to initiate Urban Confer on the distribution of funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) in FY 2021. The current authorization will expire on November 21, 2019, after a partial extension under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020, and Health Extenders Act of 2019 (H.R. 4378). Although it is not yet known if or when Congress will address the full reauthorization of SDPI, IHS is initiating confer now to ensure UIO leaders have the opportunity to provide comments.

IHS seeks comments on all issues related to SDPI and also provides the follow two questions on which it seeks comments:

  •  If SDPI is funded at $150M, should there be changes in the funding distribution? If so, what changes should be made?
  • If the SDPI receives an increase in funding above the current $150M, how should those funds be utilized?

Comments can be submitted to by Monday, December 2, 2019.

IHS enclosed a detailed SDPI FY 2019 budget, which you may view here

NCUIH Contact: Julia Dreyer (

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Upcoming Events Highlights 

Training: Substance Use Disorder ECHO Training for DATA Waiver 

The Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board will be holding a Substance Use Disorder ECHO Training on November 6th in Seattle, Washington. The training will be put on by Project ECHO, at no cost to you. This is a wonderful opportunity if you or your providers are interested in obtaining a DATA Waiver, as well as connecting with their staff and Substance Use Disorder subject matter experts in person.


Webinar: NCUIH - GPRA Series - Session 2: Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Measures Coding

  • Erica Gourneau, National Forensic Nurse Coordinator, IHS Office of Clinical and Preventative Services
  • Introduction to the IPV GPRAMA clinical measure
  • IPV Screening Best Practices
  • Review of some available screening tools
  • Documentation of IPV/DV Screening Results and Interventions
  • Quality Assessment Performance Improvement Oversight
  • Resources for staff training, patient resources, and links to clinical guidelines
NCUIH Contact: Kimberly Fowler,
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Webinar: IHS FY 2022 Tribal Budget Formulation and Area Instructions 

The Indian Health Service (IHS) announced 3 webinars that cover the same information on the Tribal Budget Consultation Process and Area Instructions Presentation. The budget formulation and consultation process informs the annual budget request of IHS. Priorities identified during the consultation process are instrumental in creating the annual IHS budget justifications.


View slides for the webinars.

Questions can be submitted via e-mail to


Webinar: NCUIH - Navigating Urban Environmental Health Data

NCUIH is proud to announce a new webinar on using environmental health data in collaboration with the Urban Indian Health Institute. Epidemiologists Amy Poel and Lyle Chrzaszcz will present on the scope of environmental health data and how to understand and use these metrics for different health topics of interest. Presenters will examine how to supplement this data with state and local data sources, using King County, WA as an example.

  NCUIH Contact: Andrew Kalweit (
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Webinar - National Council for Behavioral Health - "Financial Focus: Eligibility, Authorization & Credentialing Best Practices"

The National Council for Behavioral Health (The Council) will host a 50 minute webinar on 'Eligibility, Authorization & Credentialing Best Practices', to conclude a 2 part series on Financial Focus on November 18th at 3pm ET. In this webinar, the Council will share five ways you can immediately maximize reimbursement in your organization, while teaching your staff how to become more efficient, effective and improved billers, resulting in increased net collections in the continuously changing ecosystem of behavioral health billing.


Webinar: Supporting American Indian Commercial Tobacco Cessation: An Introduction to Resources of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health

  • Corinne Graffunder, DrPH, MPH, Director of the Office on Smoking and Health within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. 
  • Deborah Houston McCall, MSPH, Partnership Lead for Office on Smoking and Health within the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
NCUIH Contact: Marc Clark,

Webinar Training: Tribal Forensic Healthcare- The Danger Assessment Tool

The Tribal Forensic Healthcare Project will offer a free live webinar on Thursday, November 21st,2019 by Dr. Campbell (Professor and Researcher, John’s Hopkins University) on the Danger Assessment (DA) tool.  This presentation is for healthcare professionals who may encounter AI/AN individuals experiencing intimate partner violence.  Topics covered will be on the use, recommendation, and follow-up strategies for using the DA instrument.  Certification will be available to participants at the conclusion.  The archived webinar and registration details will be available here. Please see the flyer for more information. 

Listening Session - NCUIH and IHS - Eliminating Hepatitis C and HIV in Indian Country: A Focus on Urban Indian Health

The National Council of Urban Indian Health will provide a forum and a platform for the Urban Indian Health Programs across the United States to express their community’s circumstances, needs, perspective and interests before the Indian Health Service corresponding officials diligently working to support the Eliminating Hepatitis C and HIV in Indian Country Initiative.

NCUIH Contacts: Kimberly Fowler ( or Julia Dreyer (

Training: CMS ITU

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) provides training to Indian Health Service/Tribal Health Program/ Urban Indian Organization (I/T/U) patient benefits advocates on the programs and benefits available through Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Health Insurance Marketplace in order to maximize their ability to access third party resources. CMS partners with the Indian Health Service (IHS), Veterans Administration, Social Security Administration, as well as with states, on this training.The target audience for this training includes I/T/U benefits coordinators, billers, coders, and business office, patient registration, medical records, and health information management staff. The topics covered include: CMS Tribal Affairs updates; Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP and the Health Insurance Marketplace; State-Administered Programs; Clinical Documentation Improvement; revenue cycle overview; Social Security; Veterans Affairs; and more. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are offered for this training. The CMS Division of Tribal Affairs and IHS are holding one more CMS Outreach & Education Event in 2019. This event will take place December 17-18, 2019 in the Great Plains Area.


Webinars: IHS FY 2022 Tribal Budget Formulation and Area Reports 

There will be 2 webinars for Tribal Representatives to present a longer version of their Area Reports before the National Tribal Budget Work session. Each Area will have 15 minutes to present, with 6 areas presenting at each Webinar. Those sessions will occur at the following times:
Questions can be submitted via e-mail to

FY 2022 National Tribal Budget Work Session

The FY 2022 National Tribal Budget Work Session is scheduled for February 13-14, 2020 in Crystal City, VA.  Information will be posted on
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Technical Assistance & Research Highlights 

Program Spotlight: Oklahoma City Indian Center (OKCIC) Receives $100K Grant for Cancer Screening

Congratulations to Oklahoma City Indian Center (OKCIC) on receiving a two-year, $100,000 grant from the American Cancer Society (ACS) to expand access to high-quality breast cancer screening and timely follow-up care for American Indian and Alaska Native women. This grant is one of five in the nation, and will allow OKCIC to purchase a new mammogram machine & software. In-house mammograms are slated to begin in January 2020.

Call for Participation: 2019 National Survey on Health and Disability

The Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) at the University of Kansas is looking for adults with disabilities to complete a 20-minute online survey about health insurance and health care services. CHRIL would like to ensure that they include American Indian and Alaska Natives living in urban settings, so please pass this information along. Applicants can be compensated for their time. Any adult 18 and over who is living with any type of disability, chronic illness/disease, mental or physical health condition is encouraged to participate. Responses are fully anonymous, and can be completed online or via a toll-free call at 1-855-556-6328. Questions can be directed to this phone number, or via email to

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Call for Participation: We R Native Youth Text Messaging Study

We R Native, a comprehensive health resource for Native youth, by Native youth, is enrolling 1,500 AI/AN teens and young adults to participate in a study that will evaluate the impact of its text messaging service. The deadline to enroll is November 9th. Participants will receive different text messages designed to improve mental health & help-seeking skills, promote cultural pride and resilience, and elevate and re-affirm Native voices in STEM. This study is run by NPAIHB, and open to youth who are:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native
  • 15-24 years old
  • Living in the United States
  • Able to receive text messages on their phone

Eligible youth can join by texting “BRAVE” to 97779 and will be compensated. Interested organizations can also enroll youth using this video. NPHAIHB will send print materials and swag prizes to organizations who will be holding events with young adults in early November. For materials please send Stephanie ( your mailing address with the number of youth ASAP.

Resource: NCUIH Webinar Video: GPRA 101

  • GPRA/GPRAMA Law and Clinical Measures
  • National Data Warehouse (NDW)
  • Integrated Data Collection Sy
  • stem (IDCS)
  • Explanation of NDW Data Exports
  • Tips to Monitor and Improve GPRA results
  • Data Examples from IDCS

NCUIH Contact: Kimberly Fowler (
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Resource: SAMHSA - How to Use Instagram and Facebook Livestreams 

See SAMHSA’s new tip sheet on using social media tools like Instagram and Livestreaming. Social media has expanded to a world of livestreaming videos, and your organization should be using them! Studies show that 80 percent of participants would rather watch a live video than read a blog. Our newest tip sheet provides a how-to guide for Facebook and Instagram livestreams, as well as best practices for you to keep in mind. 
View Tip Sheet

Resource: SAMHSA - Publication Guide on Communicating in a Crisis

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration released a publication guide that provides public officials and others involved in disaster and emergency communications with information about effective communication, working with the media, using social media, and addressing errors and controlling rumors. 
View Publication Guide

Resource: SAMHSA - Publication Guide on First-episode Psychosis and Co-occurring Substance Use Disorders

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration released a publication guide that provides support for health care providers, systems, and communities to address first-episode psychosis and co-occurring substance use disorders. The publication guide also describes relevant research, examines emerging and best practices, identifies knowledge gaps and implementation challenges, and offers resources.
View Publication Guide

Resource: CDC - Improving Lung Cancer Screening Strategies across Indian Country

AI/AN people have low rates of obtaining screening for cancer. The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) began in 2002 and now shows that patients who underwent annual Low-dose CT (LDCT) screening had a 20 percent lower lung cancer mortality rate compared to those screened with chest X-rays. In 2015, CMS announced a national coverage determination for LDCT scans for Medicare beneficiaries who meet certain eligibility criteria.  Across the country health care providers and lung cancer advocacy organizations are committed to getting eligible individuals screened annually with LDCT scans. A few key strategies to implement LDCT screening and to combat lung cancer include:
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Resource: The Center on the Developing Child: A Guide to Serve and Return - How Interaction with Children Can Build Brains

The Center on the Developing Child has released a practical guide to help program planners and caretakers of young children to better understand and practice “serve and return” skills. The guide includes videos, issue briefs, and step-by-step tips on the science and practice of “serve and return” with children aged 0-3, a key set of caretaking skills that can be integrated into family and child programming to reduce toxic stress and build healthy brain development
View Guide

Resource: SAMHSA- Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs): Leveraging the Best Available Evidence

Take a look at this new document from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that features six strategies focusing on changing norms, environments, and behaviors in ways that can prevent ACEs from happening, as well as to lessen their harms when they do occur. The strategies are intended to work in combination and reinforce one another to achieve the greatest impact.
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Campaign: Resources from Liver Cancer Awareness Month 

October was liver cancer awareness month and there is an increasing level of liver cancer among AI/AN people. Studies show that AI/AN persons have higher liver cancer incidence rates than whites—nearly 2 ½ times higher! A recent 10-year longitudinal study using data from 51 cancer registries shows that this is especially true in the Northern Plains and Alaska overall.

A liver cancer-specific community forum was launched to provide resources for patients and caregivers called the Blue Faery Liver Cancer Community. It’s a private, HIPAA-compliant interactive community where patients and caregivers can get support, moderated by community ambassadors.For more information on Liver Cancer among AI/AN people visit CURE Today at and see the infographic. 
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Resource: NCUIH Webinar Video: Introduction to Urban Environmental Health and Community Partnerships

Thank you for all who attended the inaugural webinar in NCUIH’s new webinar series “Intersections of Urban Indian Health and Environmental Health: Data, Programming, and Partnerships".


NCUIH Contact: Andrew Kalweit (
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Call for Abstracts and Sessions: Preventive Medicine 2020 

The American College of Preventive Medicine invites you to submit a proposal for an educational session and/or scientific abstract for Preventive Medicine 2020 to be held May 14 – 17, 2020 in Denver, Colorado at the Grand Hyatt Denver.

In order to submit your proposal, you will need:

  • Presentation Title
  • Presentation Description (up to 300 words)
  • Presentation outline and interaction plan
  • Contact information for all speakers (name, credentials, title, organization, address, email, phone, fax)
  • Speaker bio(s) (500 words or less)

Additional information is available for:

Session Track Descriptions
Call for Abstracts
Call for Sessions

  • Deadline: November 8, 2019
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Funding: Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University 

The Commonwealth Fund Fellowship in Minority Health Policy at Harvard University (CFF) is pleased to announce their call for applications for the 2020-2021 year. At the Harvard Medical School, Boston, applications are now being accepted for a one-year, degree-granting, full-time fellowship beginning July 2020. 

The CFF Fellowship prepares physicians, particularly physicians from groups underrepresented in medicine, to become leaders who improve the health of disadvantaged and vulnerable populations through transforming healthcare delivery systems and promoting innovation in policies, practices and programs that address health equity and the social determinants of health.

Applications deadline is 5:00 pm Eastern Time on December 2, 2019. All applications materials must be submitted in the online application system by the deadline.


  • Deadline: December 2, 2019
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Medicare Open Enrollment: October 15 to December 7

Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period is now. From October 15 to December 7, you can enroll in health and drug plans for 2020. There is a lot of new information for this Medicare Open Enrollment Period that can be viewed on CMS' Get ready for Medicare’s Open Enrollment” blog.

Beneficiaries can start looking at new 2020 health & prescription plans online now with the new and improved Medicare Plan Finder tool.
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New Funding: SAMHSA - Native Connections 

SAMHSA is accepting applications for the Tribal Behavioral Health Grant Program (i.e. Native Connections). The purpose of this program is to prevent suicide and substance misuse, reduce the impact of trauma, and promote mental health among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth through the age of 24 years. Eligibility is limited to federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes, tribal organizations, Urban Indian Organizations, or consortia of tribes or tribal organizations. Up to $250,000/yr is anticipated for 39 awardees over 5 years.
  • Deadline: December 10, 2019
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New Funding: SAMHSA - Promoting Integration of Primary and Behavioral Health Care (PIPBHC) Grants 

SAMHSA is accepting applications for Promoting Integration of Primary and Behavioral Health Care (PIPBHC) grants. The purpose of this program is to:
  1. Promote full integration and collaboration in clinical practice between primary and behavioral healthcare.
  2. Support the improvement of integrated care models for primary care and behavioral health care to improve the overall wellness and physical health status of adults with a serious mental illness (SMI) or children with a serious emotional disturbance (SED).
  3. Promote and offer integrated care services related to screening, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental and substance use disorders, and co-occurring physical health conditions and chronic diseases.
SAMHSA plans to issue 4 grants of up to $2,000,000 per year for up to 5 years.
  • Deadline: December 10, 2019
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 New Funding: SAMHSA - Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) recently released a new funding called 'Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals' (GBHI). The purpose of this tribal program is to support the development and/or expansion of local implementation of a community infrastructure that integrates substance use disorder treatment, housing services and other critical services for individuals (including youth) and families experiencing homelessness. Up to 13 awards at $400,000 per year for 5 years are expected to be awarded. Federally recognized American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) tribes, tribal organizations, Urban Indian Organizations (UIO), and consortia of tribes or tribal organizations are eligible. The deadline to apply is December 16, 2019.
  • Deadline: December 16, 2019
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 New Funding: SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and HIV Prevention Navigator Program for Racial/Ethnic Minorities Ages 13-24

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) has released a new grant opportunity called the 'Substance Abuse and HIV Prevention Navigator Program for Racial/ Ethnic Minorities' (Short Title: Prevention Navigator) to provide services for those most at risk for HIV and substance use disorders.  Applications are accepted for programs using navigation approaches, such as Community Health Workers, Neighborhood Navigators, and Peer Support Specialists to provide education and training around these topics.  At least 82 awards are expected at up to $200,000 per year for 5 years.  Urban Indian Organizations and Tribes are eligible to apply.
  • Deadline: December 27, 2019
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Copyright © 2019 National Council of Urban Indian Health (NCUIH), All rights reserved.

National Council of Urban Indian Health
924 Pennsylvania Ave., SE | Washington, DC 20003 | Phone: 202 544 0344 |

This publication was made possible by Award Number H723IHS0003 from the Indian Health Service (IHS). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the IHS or HHS.

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