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Public Health Epidemiology Conversations Podcast

Episode #297 Enhancing Health Outcomes For Tribal Communities In The Northwest, With Victoria Warren



On This Episode Of The Public Health Epidemiology Conversations (PHEC) Podcast


Our guest on this episode is Dr. Victoria Warren-Mears, who has been the director of the Northwest Tribal Epidemiology Center for 16 years. She develops programs and initiatives to enhance the health system and promote better health outcomes for tribes in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. During the conversation, Victoria shares how she realized her desire to help people, how this led her to pursue a career in public health, and what her role entails at the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board. She provides insights into the population that the center serves and the common health issues they face. Additionally, Dr. Warren-Mears sheds light on the political status of American Indian Alaska Native people in the USA, the trust relationships between the federal government and these tribes, and what tribal sovereignty means in practice. Lastly, she provides guidance on how to engage in this kind of work. Join us to explore these topics and more!


Meet Dr. Warren-Mears


For over 16 years Victoria Warren-Mears has served as Northwest Tribal Epidemiology Center Director; she has responsibility for managing the staff of NWTEC and developing programs and projects at the direction of tribal leaders to strengthen the health system and better health outcomes for tribes in Idaho, Oregon and Washington States. Victoria also worked for 10 years at a local health jurisdiction, as a WIC Supervisor and Nutritionist. She holds a PhD in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Washington and a Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Dietetics, with an emphasis on adult education, from Washington State University. Victoria has been deeply involved in developing tribally driven best practices for data sharing, use and stewardship. Victoria is energized by the possibility of moving data access, use and sharing forward across Indian Country, including principles of excellent data stewardship by all partners. She is deeply committed to being a servant leader for the tribes in the Pacific Northwest.


Listen To This Episode Of The Public Health Epidemiology Conversations (PHEC) Podcast



Conversation Highlights


  • An introduction to Dr. Victoria Warren-Mears and her career so far

  • How Victoria first became interested in public health as a career and her academic journey

  • Early experiences in her life where she felt called to help others

  • Her role as director at Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and how she has grown the program

  • The population that Victoria serves

  • Key issues of substance abuse and mental health in the communities she serves

  • Center surveys to understand the health needs of the communities they serve

  • Insight into the trust relationships between the federal government and the American Indian or Alaska Native people

  • The political status of American Indian or Alaska Native people in the USA

  • What tribal sovereignty means and entails

  • Where you can find more resources if you’d like to learn more

  • How epidemiology is important in the work Victoria does

  • Victoria’s advice to anyone interested in working with tribal communities


“The practicality of it is that you have data and you have diseases that happen, but you can put those two together and form a good picture for advocacy.” — Dr. Warren-Mears

Other Links Mentioned In This Episode



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Public Health Consulting To Support You


DrCHHuntley LLC is a public health consulting firm that specializes in epidemiology consulting, supporting large nonprofit organizations in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida that serve Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We also provide nationwide public health consulting and epidemiology consulting support to BIPOC organizations across the United States.

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