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TEPOC is going to Scotland!

Chase Kornacki headshot
Chase Kornacki, TEPOC Project Coordinator


Chase Kornacki, Indian Health Council’s TEPOC Project Coordinator, selected as one of five 2024 New Investigator Award Winners for Best Abstract and will present at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco Annual Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland 

Valley Center, CA. March 12, 2024 – Indian Health Council, Inc. through the TEPOC (Tobacco Education Prevention Outreach Cessation) program is proud to announce its participation in the upcoming Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) Annual Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 20-23, 2024. The SRNT Annual Meeting is a global gathering of professionals dedicated to advancing research and practice in nicotine and tobacco research. 

The team’s abstract has been selected for presentation and recognized as one of the five 2024 New Investigator Award Winners for Best Abstract. Chase Kornacki (Navajo), and Joseph Rodriguez (Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians & Haliwa-Saponi), will be in attendance, representing American Indian/Alaska Native youth on an international stage. 

SRNT 2024 Header Image

IHC’s TEPOC program is run out of the Research and Student Development (RSD) department under the supervision of RSD Director, Lisa Brucks. The Research and Student Development Department leads all grant funded ‘research’ projects at Indian Health Council, partnering with local academic institutions, tribal communities, and other research organizations to conduct community-based research projects that “Empower Native Wellness,” prevent disease, and improve the understanding of health information. On the selection of IHC’s TEPOC team Brucks states, “It is inspiring to see these two young Native American researchers presenting on the pertinent topic of commercial tobacco that they directly see impacting their community.” 

Chase Kornacki, TEPOC Project Coordinator shares, “I am honored to increase American Indian visibility at an international level, particularly in the field of commercial tobacco research. A conference of this caliber serves as a powerful platform to inspire others within the AI/AN community.” Kornacki is quickly making a name for herself having been previously selected to present in May 2023 at the National Indian Health Board’s National Tribal Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. She has also been selected as a 2024 NIDA Diversity Scholars Travel Awardee which awarded her a scholarship and a chance to meet with the Deputy Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Director of NIDA Tobacco Regulatory Science Program. 

Kornacki’s research assistant Joseph Rodriguez will be joining her in Scotland. Rodriguez reflected on this unique opportunity, “It is a true privilege to represent my tribes and IHC on an international scale. I believe this occasion will inspire youth locally and nationally to push themselves towards opportunities that benefit their personal growth and their communities.” 

TEPOC Principal Investigator Roland Moore states, “Our entire research team is excited to share insights gained from our work to keep commercial tobacco out of the hands and lungs of tribal youth.  This important research is funded by California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program; the information we share will reach an audience far beyond the state’s borders.” 

IHC's Student Development Program works in partnership with the California Native American Research Center for Health (CA-NARCH). The Student Development Program helps native students achieve careers in healthcare and STEM sciences. The program provides mentorship and the opportunity for students to engage in research projects and shadow clinical professionals. IHC, in partnership with academic institutions California State University San Marcos, Palomar Community College, San Diego State University and University of California San Diego, is funded as a Native American Research Center for Health (CA-NARCH) by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and Indian Health Services (IHS). It is one of 14 NARCH organizations in the United States. 

Under the leadership of Dan Calac, MD (Indian Health Council) and Stephanie Brodine, MD (SDSU), CA-NARCH began as an exciting concept funded by seed money in 2001. A NARCH grant of $1.3 million in 2003 enabled CA-NARCH to begin fully pursuing its goals to strengthen tribal sovereignty over the healthcare of the community and to recruit and support students pursuing science and health fields. 

CA-NARCH is a partnership of Tribal/Urban Indian Organizations and academic institutions committed to working together to increase the number of American Indian/Alaska Native scientists and health professionals; and to reduce health disparities in Native American populations. 

Goals of CA-NARCH: 

  • Develop a team of Native American scientists and health professionals engaged in biomedical, clinical, and behavioral research. 

  • To promote community based participatory research in Native American communities. 

  • Encourage competitive research to reduce health disparities. 

Founded in 1970, Indian Health Council is a healthcare institution serving nine federally recognized consortium tribes of the Native American reservations in San Diego’s north county region. This non-profit 501(c)(3) entity occupies two health centers in Rincon and Santa Ysabel; headquartered in an expansive Rincon facility. 

Indian Health Council is collectively representative of several divisions including Medical, Dental, Behavioral Health, Pharmacy, Administration, and Support Services. Within these departments, many programs and services are performed including Health Promotions, Research and Student Development, and Tribal Family Services. Nine tribes and associated reservation populations are served by and participate in the IHC healthcare consortium: La Jolla Band of Luiseño Mission Indians, Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla & Cupeño Indians, Pala Band of Mission Indians, Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians, Mesa Grande Band of Mission Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel, and Inaja-Cosmit Band of Indians. 

Indian Health Council partners with numerous grant funded programs and local institutions to implement culturally aware programs and events promoting good health and mental wellness through a combination of modern medicine and traditional, cultural medicine practices. 

Indian Health Council works to encourage, train, and promote native people into positions in healthcare. The organization also works to enhance the work-experience for natives currently in courses of collegiate studies, research and development. 

For further information on this announcement or any other programs or services at Indian Health Council please contact:  

Orvin Hanson, CEO 

(760) 749-1410 ext. 5228 

TEPOC SRNT Edinburgh Press Release Official
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