Subject Matter Expert

Joel Begay is a member of the Navajo Nation, originally from Shiprock, NM. He earned his B.A. in Biochemistry at Colorado College and his MPH in Hospital & Molecular Epidemiology and a Certificate in Healthcare Infection Prevention & Control at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He is an Associate Member of the American College of Epidemiology and is a Data Manager & Analyst with the Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity & Diabetes (LEAD) Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. He oversees data management and analysis for an ongoing randomized control trial that aims to prevent obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in American Indian Youth through a culturally adapted diet and physical activity intervention and conducts longitudinal data analysis for a cohort study that aims to investigate the environmental exposures on child health and development.

While a graduate student, Begay was a Fellow with the Cancer Epidemiology Education in Special Populations (CEESP) Program where he investigated breast cancer screening adherence among American Indian women screened by a mobile mammography unit. Following graduate school, Begay served as an Epidemiologist and Program Coordinator with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center where he was instrumental in fostering collaborative partnerships with tribal, state, and federal stakeholders in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan to develop a regional opioid surveillance system.

As a native public health professional, Begay is an advocate for American Indian/Alaska Native health and is committed to building public health infrastructure. Recently, he has served on panels to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in American Indian/Alaska Native communities, while also highlighting their resilience. Begay has also spent some time educating native youth on personal, community, and environmental mitigation strategies to protect native communities from COVID-19.