Gila River Health Care Corporation
Sandwich houses blend into the desert. An ancient observatory lies in ruins. The bright lights of Phoenix shimmer on the horizon. So near, yet so far from the steady march of time. The land of the Pima, Maricopa, and Tohono O'odham Indians, just southeast of Phoenix.
The Pima, Maricopa, and Tohono O'odham Indians
Living on the Gila River and Ak-Chin reservations, the tribes in this area are descendents of the ancient Hohokams. The original inhabitants of the Salt River Valley, they were known as River People. The Pima Indians are farmers to this day and are renowned for their high-quality Pima cotton.
Native crafts proudly flourish here and are sold at the Gila River Indian Arts and Crafts Center. The intricate baskets and hand- painted pottery are prized by collectors throughout the world. Other tourist attractions include an annual tribal fair and rodeo.
The majority of the tribal members lead a contemporary life and nearly all speak English. Although most rituals have faded into the past, some still exist, such as the ceremonial Buzzard Dance by the Maricopa Indians and the Chicken Scratch social dance of the Pima.
There is a high incidence of diabetes and its complications, as well as infectious diseases and alcoholism on the reservations. Your knowledge and educational skills are needed to help these people live healthier lives.
About 35 miles south of Phoenix, this Service Unit provides health care to about 11,000 people in seven districts.
Sacaton has a desert climate similar to Phoenix. This means beautiful weather most of the year with hot summers. Set sail and cool off at Firebird Lake, only a short drive away. Indulge in just about every water activity at the miles of lakes to the east of Mesa.
Shift into four-wheel drive and explore an old mine hidden in the hills. Visit the ancient four-story Indian structure at Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, and venture a guess about why it was built there. Stand at Picacho Peak, the only place in Arizona where a Civil War battle was fought. See the home of Ira H. Hayes, flag raiser on Iwo Jima. This is the time to live and learn about the great Southwest.
Hu Hu Kam Memorial Indian Hospital
Put your skills to work at our newest health facility. This 20-bed JCAHO-accredited hospital was built in 1988, and is staffed by nine physicians, one physician's assistant, a podiatrist, and three dentists.
Inpatient services include general medical care and pediatrics. Outpatient services consist of full diagnostic medical and treatment facilities, emergency services and specialty clinics for dental, prenatal care, gynecology, pediatrics, diabetes, family planning, behavioral health, optometry, and substance abuse. In addition, the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) operates a program at the Service Unit.
Community Health Services
We direct our health care services toward prevention, which are actively directed by tribal management. Our primary programs are public health nursing, nutritional services, social services, mental health services, substance abuse, health education and environmental health services. The stark beauty of the desert sets a rhythm and pace all its own. As you become accepted by the community, you will fit in with the flow, as well. Your skills will be appreciated as they are put to the best possible use.