|As part of her Health Resources and Services Administration 2016 internship, SHSP graduate Katarina Chapman, M.P.H. ’16, worked as an epidemiology intern with the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council for three months. She secured the prestigious assignment, one of 28 awarded each year to deserving candidates, before graduating from NYMC in May. Ms. Chapman, who earned an M.P.H. in behavioral sciences and health promotion, worked under Bethany Fatupaito, program director for the Tribal Prevention Initiative (TiPI). TiPI aims to combat substance abuse by youth ages 12-20 on six reservations in Montana and Wyoming and is funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Partnership for Success grant.
Ms. Chapman’s role on the project was to collect survey data from youth and participants in the TiPI program— both qualitative and quantitative — and create progress reports for tribal leaders and SAMHSA on program impact at the reservations, including outcomes, implications and recommendations. Ms. Chapman also used the survey data to evaluate the effectiveness of TiPI’s prevention programs, using spreadsheets and statistical software to organize the information. Additionally, she created a Tribal Best Practices Manual to aid in justifying the use of culturally-based programs as opposed to evidence-based ones for Native American populations. The manual includes detailed information on all of the prevention programs being implemented at the reservations.
For Ms. Chapman, the experience was both interesting and rewarding. “I enjoyed working at the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council immensely and especially enjoyed traveling to all six of the reservations and experiencing cultures entirely different than my own,” she said. “This internship also made me acutely aware of many of the difficulties that reservations, Native Americans and organizations targeting this specific population face,” she said. “But they are definitely doing great work and hopefully their efforts will begin to facilitate change at the local, community and state level.”