Cherokee Nation to host CDC program to aid COVID response

BY STAFF REPORTS
10/23/2020 04:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation’s Health Services has been selected as a host site for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Public Health Association Program to assist with the COVID-19 response. 

According to a CN press release, the Public Health Associate Program is a competitive, two-year, paid training program that allows associates to gain hands-on experience for successful public health careers. 

It also states the Health Service partnership with the CDC benefits the health system by funding well-rounded assignees who bring skills and insight to the organization. 

Health Services welcomed Alfred Koroma as the CDC’s associate on Oct. 13, the release states. 

“Early into the pandemic, we engaged with the CDC to help develop our response,” Brian Hail, Health Service deputy executive director of external operations, said. “Cherokee Nation Public Health has a history of working with the CDC and our senior director of Public Health, Lisa Pivec, serves on the CDC’s Tribal Advisory Committee as an alternate to Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. When we learned of the Public Health Associate Program via the National Indian Health Board’s Tribal Resource newsletter, we submitted an application to serve as a host site. Having Mr. Koroma join our team brings an additional public health resource to Cherokee Nation while helping to develop professional ties between the CDC and our tribe.” 

Prior to his assignment with the CN, Koroma served as lead support professional at the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes in Maryland, according to the press release. It also states he interned with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Throughout his career, Koroma has gained experience in emergency management, health care service and public health, the release states.

“I am looking forward to working with Cherokee Nation Health Services professionals on the COVID-19 response,” Koroma said. “I am excited to join the team in archiving their vision, while also gaining hands-on experience in the field of public health.” 

Koroma will initially work specifically with the tribe’s COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.

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