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April 25, 2020

The New York Times’ Nicholas Kristof Names Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health a Key Global Responder to Coronavirus Pandemic

Kristof highlights Center based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as marshaling a “heroic” national effort to provide public health leadership, supplies, and relief for COVID-19 in Indian Country

New York Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Nicholas Kristof today named the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health as a key organization fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines, as part of his efforts to raise awareness and support for this work. In a New York Times column published online today, Kristof included the Center in his C-19 Impact Initiative, a fundraising effort to support organizations working around the clock to fight COVID-19 and save lives.

Based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Center for American Indian Health works in partnership with tribal communities across the country to improve the health, self-sufficiency, and health leadership of Native peoples.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be selected by Nicholas Kristof as part of his C-19 Impact Initiative, since Native Americans are at very high risk during this COVID-19 pandemic due to systemic health disparities,” said Allison Barlow, PhD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. “Our Center will be able to leverage this designation to support a robust team of much-needed infectious disease, mental health, behavioral health, training, and communications experts, as well as more than 200 boots on the ground—Native health workers in their own communities serving courageously during this time—in the battle against COVID-19 and its devastating impacts.”

The Center for American Indian Health’s COVID-19 response involves providing a wide array of resources including technical assistance and direct services to tribal leaders for contact tracing, surveillance, testing and mitigation; delivery of critical protective gear and medical supplies; and emergency food, water, cleaning, and other household supplies. The Center is also disseminating COVID-19 prevention information and resources to tribal communities and coordinating its efforts with the federal Indian Health Service and tribal health and human service departments.

To support broad-based relief efforts across Indian Country, including many of the U.S.’s 574 federally recognized tribes and 37 urban health centers for Native American peoples, the Center is collaborating with three Native-run organizations: the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Health Board, and the National Council for Urban Indian Health.

Native Americans are at high risk during the COVID-19 pandemic due to existing health disparities, high rates of poverty, poor access to health services, and overcrowded, multi-generational housing conditions. Donations to the Center generated by the C-19 Impact Initiative will be deployed to support a comprehensive, state-of-the-science public health response to protect and support Native Americans.

“For years, Nicholas Kristof has taken the time to highlight the importance of public health initiatives and interventions in the U.S. and around the world,” said Bloomberg School Dean Ellen MacKenzie, PhD, ScM. “We are so honored by his recognition of the Center for American Indian Health at this time. This designation will help grow the Center’s COVID-19 response efforts to dramatically aid Native American communities and address broad-based needs during the pandemic.”

In addition to the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health based at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Kristof’s column highlights four other organizations for their pandemic response efforts: the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children USA, Water for People, and Catalyst Kitchens by FareStart.

Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health

Founded in 1991 and based in the Department of International Health of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health supports public health interventions designed for and by Native peoples. The Center has offices in tribal communities across Arizona and New Mexico as well as a Great Lakes Hub serving tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and along the shared border with Canada. The Center also supports public health interventions in more than 140 tribal communities in over 21 states. These partnerships have achieved landmark public health breakthroughs credited with saving millions of children’s lives in the U.S. and worldwide.

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Media contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Rose Weeks at rweeks@jhu.edu or 347-804-6526 and Barbara Benham at bbenham1@jhu.edu or 410-416-6029.