Cherokee Nation becomes host site for CDC program to assist with COVID response

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation 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. The Public Health Associate Program is a competitive, two-year, paid training program that allows associates to gain hands-on experience to serve as their foundation for a successful public health career.

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

Cherokee Nation Health Services welcomed Alfred Koroma as the CDC’s associate on Oct. 13.

“Early into the pandemic, we engaged with the CDC to help develop our response. 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,” said Brian Hail, CNHS deputy executive director of external operations. “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 Cherokee Nation, Koroma served as lead support professional at the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes in Maryland. He also interned with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services while completing his Master of Public Health degree. Throughout his career, Koroma has gained experience in emergency management, health care service and public health.

“I am looking forward to working with Cherokee Nation Health Services professionals on the COVID-19 response,” said Koroma. “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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