This episode is a massively inspiring one. We are lucky enough to welcome Aila Hoss, JD to the show to talk about the intersection of public health and the practice of law, as well as epidemiology, with a specific focus on how these subjects relate to tribal communities.
Professor Hoss is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law and teaches and researches Indian law and health law. She also practiced public health law as a staff attorney with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Law Program, and we get to hear about how her law practice shaped her entry and engagement with her current academic work.
This wide-ranging chat offers a great way to consider some of the opportunities to serve in the field of public health and the areas that desperately need more attention and labor. Professor Hoss highlights some of the glaring issues related to access to data and the complicated nature of legislation across different jurisdictions. Our guest also points out the lack of sovereignty, and what she views as the legacy of racist laws and attitudes in providing necessary data to tribes and the epidemiology centers that serve them. More than anything, she stands as a great example of someone who is passionate about their work, deeply involved and engaged, while staying mindful of the limitations of working in a community one was not born into. So, for all this great stuff and a whole more too, make sure to listen in.
Aila Hoss is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law where she teaches and researches Indian law and health law. Professor Hoss practiced public health law as a staff attorney with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Law Program, where she worked to improve public health through the development of legal tools and the provision of legal technical assistance to state, Tribal, local, and territorial governments. Her work at CDC included supporting the agency’s Ebola Emergency Operations Center and serving as a faculty member for the agency’s Working Effectively with Tribal Governments course. Prior to joining TU Law, she was a visiting assistant professor at Indiana University McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. Her research explores topics in health law and Indian law, particularly Tribal public health law and the impact of federal Indian law on health outcomes. She is an active member of the Indiana bar.
Listen to This Podcast Episode
Professor Hoss's background, training, research, and particular areas of focus in her work.
How she ended up living and working on a Native American reservation through her position.
The roots of her interest in public health during her years at law school.
The process that she went through learning about Native American law and the history of the subject.
Work that Professor Hoss is doing now and how this initially grew out of her law practice.
Learning and engaging with a community as an outsider; her experiences of acceptance and mistakes.
Unpacking some of the research that she does alongside her teaching responsibilities.
The challenges that face certain tribes and epidemiology centers with regards to data access.
How education comes into the discussion; spreading information and awareness about tribal rights.
Professor Hoss's opinion on the importance of epidemiology to the communities that she serves.
Tips and reflections from Professor Hoss about entering the field of public health and what to expect.
Professor Hoss's Career Advice to Public Health Students and Graduates
As my mentor, Montrece Ransom, always says "There is no public health without the law." Take a public health law course while you are school. Don't be intimidated by the policymaking process or policymakers. They need your expertise!