What is Epidemiology?

Epidemiology is the study of the trends, causes, and distribution of health and disease conditions in defined populations. Epidemiologists assist with research study design, data collection, survey instruments design, statistical analyses of data, and interpretation of study results. In order to do this, epidemiologists use techniques from a combination of scientific disciplines including biology, social sciences, and statistics.

About the California Tribal Epidemiology Center

The California Tribal Epidemiology Center (CTEC) was established in 2005 to assist in collecting and interpreting health information for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) in California. CTEC is 1 of 12 Indian Health Service (IHS) Division of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention-funded Tribal Epidemiology Centers that provide epidemiologic support to each IHS region and often partner with local IHS area offices to provide these services. CTEC receives core funding from IHS along with supplemental grants. Our mission is to work directly with Tribes and Indian Health Programs (Tribal Health Programs and Urban Indian Health Organizations) to monitor the health status of AIAN in California and develop effective public health services that respect the cultural values and traditions of our communities. CTEC aims to align its activities with the strategic plan of its parent organization, the California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB).

CTEC Mission

Our mission is to improve AIAN health in California to the highest level by engaging American Indian communities in collecting and interpreting health information to establish health priorities, monitoring health status, and developing effective public health services that respect cultural values and traditions of the communities. CTEC services are available to all tribes and Indian Health Programs in California through Data Sharing Agreements. For more information about Data Sharing Agreements, visit CTEC Services.

CTEC Core Objectives

  1. Maintain communication and obtain input from the CTEC Advisory Council, CRIHB Board of Directors, IHS California Area Office, California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and AIAN populations.
  2. Obtain access to data and assist Indian Health Programs in public health activities that are needed to address the AIAN public health priorities.
  3. Produce Community Health Profiles for AIAN populations that address public health priorities.
  4. Conduct a California Tribal Behavioral Risk Factor Community Surveillance Survey.
  5. Participate in data, research, epidemiology, and public health forums and committees.
  6. Develop and maintain outbreak response capacity, which is coordinated with the response efforts by Local Health Departments, CDPH, and IHS.
  7. Align CTEC activities to reflect and support IHS Priorities as delineated by the Office of the IHS Director.