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Public Health Epidemiology Conversations Podcast

Episode #215 Administrative Support At Alaska Native Epidemiology Center, With Annie Okpealuk


Today’s guest has learned a great deal about public health through her administrative support role within a public health organization. She joins us to share more about her role as well as her perspective of public health and the impact of the tribal epidemiology centers on the tribal community in Alaska. Tune in to hear about her entry into the world of public health after having worked in medical billing, substance abuse, and mental health, what her current role involves, and an example of a recent grant that has come in. She shares some powerful advice for people interested in public health and assures listeners that you don’t have to be an epidemiologist to work in public health, but your knowledge of epidemiology can enrich any support role you may take on. We hope you join us to hear all this and more!

Meet Annie

Annie is Athabaskan and Inupiaq her mother's side of the family is from Steven's Village, Alaska, and her father's side of the family is from Teller, Alaska. She is a single mother of three children. She has two daughters, who will be turning 9 and 8 in October and November, and a son who turns 3 in November. Their newest member of their family is a rescued 3-year-old female Husky/Chihuahua mix from St. Michael, Alaska, and her name is Blueberry. Annie is currently working on her accounting degree.

Key Takeaways

  • An introduction to today’s guest, Annie Okpealuk, her heritage, three children and dog.

  • Her entry into public health from medical billing, substance abuse, and mental health.

  • What her current role involves as senior office specialist for CDC infrastructure A and B.

  • What one of the most recent grants has been awarded for: Colon Cancer Rectal screening.

  • Why she believes that epidemiology is important: Alaska native people need to understand it is scientific, systematic and data driven.

  • A word of advice from Annie: you don’t have to be an epidemiologist to work in public health.

  • What she has brought to her administrative role through her understanding of epidemiology.

Listen To This Podcast Episode

Career Advice to Public Health Students and Graduates

You don't have to be an Epidemiologist, Statistician, Biostatistician, or Public Health Specialist to work in the public health career. As the admin support for public health grants, its beneficial for the administrative support to have the general background knowledge and understanding of epidemiology and grants.

Alaska Native Epidemiology Center

The Alaska Native Epidemiology Center (ANEC) was established by the Indian Health Service to assist the National IHS Epidemiology Program in improving the health of Alaska Natives and American Indians. The ANEC has four core functions: Data Sharing; Technical Assistance; Disease Prevention; and Surveillance.

Meet Audrey Juliussen and Jordan Skan, with the Alaska Native Epidemiology Center.

Tribal Epidemiology Centers

Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TEC) are Indian Health Service (IHS), division funded organizations who serve American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Tribal and urban communities by managing public health information systems, investigating diseases of concern, managing disease prevention and control programs, responding to public health emergencies, and coordinating these activities with other public health authorities.

Tribal Epidemiology Centers provide various types of support and services due to the variation of the TECs organization structure, divisions, Tribal populations, and their mission and goals. There are currently 12 Tribal Epidemiology Centers in the United States.


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