Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Past Director - Everett Rhoades
Assistant Surgeon General
Director Indian Health Service 1982-1993
In 1982, after an intensive search of more than six 6 months for a Director of Indian Health Service, Dr. Rhoades became the fifth Director. Dr. Rhoades’, “Everett”, medical specialty is in the field of infectious disease. Thus, he is no stranger to the need for a total comprehensive health care and services program, which covers prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services, along with a major emphasis in today’s world of health promotion and disease prevention.
Dr. Rhoades is the first Native American Director of the Indian Health Service and an enrolled member of the Kiowa Nation of Oklahoma. He had also been professionally associated and involved with the Indian Health Service for several years before becoming Director. He served in a variety of consultant capacities and was virtually responsible for the development and establishment of the Association of American Indian Physicians in 1970.
Dr. Rhoades came to the Indian Health Service from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, where he had served as a Professor in the Disease Department of the Oklahoma City Veterans Administration Hospital.
Dr. Rhoades has led the Indian Health Service through some difficult years in the budgeting and operational aspects of the program. He has provided a great deal of the direction and guidance in the reorganization of the headquarters operations plus a change and reassignment of a number of Area Directors and other top management staff. He has been instrumental in making the total Indian Health Service program more responsive to the health care services and needs of American Indian and Alaskan Native people at the grassroots (service unit) level.
Dr. Rhoades had the honor of being the last Director of the Bureau of Indian Health Service under the Health Resources and Services Administration and becoming the first Agency Director when the Indian Health Service became an agency of the Public Health Service in January 1988.
This biography has not been altered from the time it was last issued by the Indian Health Service.