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Episode #176: Interview With Forrest Lester and Delores Becenti, Navajo Epidemiology Center


You’re about to meet Forrest Lester and Delores Becenti, with the Navajo Epidemiology Center. The Navajo Epidemiology Center (NEC) was established in 2005 to manage Navajo Nation’s public health information systems, investigate diseases and injuries of concern, provide data and reports to effectively manage health programs, respond to public health emergencies, and coordinate these activities with other public health authorities. Navajo Epidemiology Center, is just one of 12 partner Tribal Epidemiology.


The Navajo Epidemiology Center


The Navajo Epidemiology Center (NEC) was established in 2005 to manage Navajo Nation’s public health information systems, investigate diseases, respond to public health emergencies, and coordinate these activities with other public health authorities.


Navajo Epidemiology Center, is just one of 12 partner Tribal Epidemiology Centers.


This episode is part of a special sponsored series of episodes that I bring to you once a month. You’ll learn about the Tribal Epidemiology Centers, through my interviews with public health professionals working with the community at each of the centers.


Interview With Forrest Lester


My first guest from the Navajo Epidemiology Center is Forrest Lester. Forrest is an IT specialist who has been working in the public health sector for 10 years, and performs information systems tasks supporting Tribal Epidemiology efforts.


Interview With Delores Becenti


Delores Becenti works at the Navajo Epidemiology Center as a Senior Programs and Projects Specialist. She leads the effort in building the Public Health capacity and infrastructure of the Center under a cooperative agreement with the CDC.


She was also an Injury Prevention Specialist with the Indian Health Service for the Fort Defiance District (26 Navajo Nation Chapters or local governments) for 9 years before returning to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to improve and increase her skills with GIS.


After two years with the City of Gallup in New Mexico as a GIS Technician, she returned to the Navajo Nation in hopes of assisting in the technological capacity and infrastructure of the Navajo Epidemiology Center.


She holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Arizona.


Listen to the episode


Public Health Career Tips From Forrest

  1. Be open to differing challenges.

  2. Rome was not build in a day.

  3. Put in time and honest effort getting acquainted with the community you're serving.


Public Health Career Tips From Delores


"Public Health is a very broad field, try to find a focus or passion within public health so you can make the most impact with your personal drive and dedication. The only way to find your passion is to explore all avenues and roads and this means volunteering to be on a project or activity. At the same time, it wouldn't hurt to try to delve into other areas to be well-rounded. Communication skills, both oral and written, are very important. These skills will help when presenting, which is almost all the time in Public Health, and writing effective reports or proposals."



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