The overall goal of Oklahoma Tribal Engagement Partners (OKTEP) is to partner with Tribal Nations, organizations and agencies to extend culturally relevant programming to youth and families. OKTEP team members have more than 100 years of combined experience developing responsive, action-oriented research-based programs in line with community needs as recognized by community members.
In October of 2017, OKTEP became the fourth SNAP-Ed implementing agency in Oklahoma. The OKTEP team, formerly SHINE Partners in Indian Country at Oklahoma State University, has developed award winning programs in coordination with the Chickasaw Nation SNAP-Ed program. The Eagle Adventure and Not Our Destiny are examples of nationally recognized approaches to prevent type 2 diabetes among Native American families.
OKTEP is dedicated to improving the lives of Native American youth and families by promoting health equity and social justice.
OKTEP has received national and state recognition.
The team continues to work to develop culturally relevant and meaningful programs alongside tribal partners with new programs on the horizon. Native American parents and elders have shared a number of ideas for programs that will positively influence the health of families in Indian country.
The OKTEP team has a demonstrated record in working with Tribes to promote health equity. OKTEP will contract with Tribes, agencies and organizations to provide technical assistance to help build capacity in coordinated public health approaches. The team is available for contracting in the areas of qualitative and quantitative assessment strategies, health message development, curriculum development and design, tailored recipe development and analysis, strategic nutrition education program planning, and outcomes evaluation. OKTEP team partners are committed to tailoring technical assistance plans based on the needs of the partner.
Delineating reasons for the disparate occurrence of chronic diseases among diverse limited resource populations is critical to the improved health and well-being of Oklahoma’s population. Our research team is currently focused on addressing the nutritional needs of Native American families and aims to co-develop, implement and evaluate strategies for communicating nutrition and health information based on local knowledge.
The approach to programming is “living” in that programs are expanded and revised based on information gained from multi-level evaluation strategies. Input from teachers, parents and Tribal Nations are consistently incorporated to improve educational processes and extend programming to address policy, systems and environmental changes identified as feasible in various settings.
Transdiciplinarity is necessary to bring about a unity of knowledge to support holistic coordinated and public health approaches. The OKTEP team is transdisciplinary in scope and composition. Our team members are trained in, draw from and collaborate with a variety of disciplines including but not limited to anthropology, communications, dietetics, human environmental sciences, international health, marketing, nutritional sciences, and public health.
The kids choose a vegetable or a fruit from the garden, and I describe the health benefits of each one. It’s a very educational and health promoting activity and the students retain information from the lessons well.
Listening to Dr. Parker speak to the teachers and hearing their ideas about how to create a healthier community is really inspiring.”
I’d like to work in a Native American community where educated minds are needed to make a difference so I can give back to my culture.
My future plans became more solidified after working in the Eagle Adventure program because I got to see the impact the program has on a community. It opened my eyes to the possibility of things I could do in the future.
Students can participate in a variety of OKTEP activities ranging from data entry and analysis to preparation and organization of community events such as health fairs and fun runs. Students learn reciprocity in community-based research and understand meaningful relationships with communities are necessary to promote responsible, community-centered research. They learn that showing up and participating at community events is important to demonstrate shared interest and commitment to community health. A number of students have worked with the OKTEP team over the years. If you are a student interested in an internship or apprenticeship, contact a team member for more information.