The National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) welcomes Seven Directions, A Center for Indigenous Public Health (Seven Directions) as a new, Provisional/Developmental member of NNPHI. Seven Directions is the first national public health institute (PHI) in the United States focused solely on Indigenous health and wellness. Seven Direction’s membership marks a historic advancement in the development of public health institutes across the nation. “Public health institutes across the country support innovative public health systems improvement that results in healthier communities. This capacity has not extended fully to American Indians and Alaskan Natives. NNPHI has been a collaborative partner throughout the feasibility study and the launch of Seven Directions. I am honored that Seven Directions is now part of our growing network.” said Vincent Lafronza, President and CEO, NNPHI.
The journey for the development of Seven Directions has been very unique in the history of public health institute development. Seven Directions began with the tribal public health institute feasibility study, a process that engaged a diverse group of indigenous leaders to serve as Advisory Board members, several national partners including NNPHI and NIHB and engaged tribes across the country in roundtable discussions about improving Indigenous health and wellness. The feasibility study engaged partners from across the tribal public health system and engaged in several activities that modeled the roles of public health institutes across the country. For example, Seven Directions facilitated the National Tribal Leaders Forum in March of 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona and the National Tribal Forum in Spokane, WA in August of 2016 which brought together diverse leaders and partners across the country to engage in conversation about strategies and priorities for improving the health and wellness of American Indian and Alaskan Native communities. As a result of the feasibility study process, Seven Directions is launching with an excellent blueprint for the strategic priorities of the organization as well as kicking off with two exciting projects, supporting health systems transformation as well as tribal accreditation readiness.
Throughout the process, NNPHI has provided ongoing technical assistance and support, including site visits with several established public health institutes as well as partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Board of NNPHI was very impressed with the membership application prepared by Seven Directions, which demonstrated excellent stakeholder engagement, a clear population health mission for the organization as well as a beginning track record of activities that match the competencies of public health institutes across the country.
As part of Developmental membership with NNPHI, Seven Directions has received a tailored plan to support their next developmental steps. NNPHI will continue to provide support for the development of Seven Directions, both through tailored technical assistance and in serving as the organizations’ administrative home. Visit sdciph.org to connect with Seven Directions.