Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
Past Director - Robert McSwain
Director, Indian Health Service 2007 to 2009
Robert G. McSwain, a member of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, is a former Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS). The IHS, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is the principal federal health care advocate and provider for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Mr. McSwain was appointed as Acting IHS Director in September 2007. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as IHS Director on April 29, 2008 and sworn in on May 7, 2008.
As the IHS Director, Mr. McSwain administered a $4 billion nationwide health care delivery program composed of 12 administrative Area Offices. Mr. McSwain served as IHS Deputy Director from February 2005 until his appointment as the Acting IHS Director. As Deputy Director, he participated in setting overall agency priorities, policies, and strategic direction. Mr. McSwain provided significant input in managing the formulation, presentation, justification, and execution of the Agency budget. His participation influenced program and resource allocation decisions that impacted the total agency budget. He was responsible for the development of and justification for testimony presented to congressional appropriation and legislative committees and was a principal witness before such committees. Mr. McSwain also supervised the 12 IHS Area Directors.
Prior to beginning his federal service, Mr. McSwain served as Program Director of Central Valley Indian Health, Inc., a tribal health program in Clovis, California. From 1974 to 1976 he served as the Executive Director of the California Rural Indian Health Board. Mr. McSwain began his federal career with the Indian Health Service in 1976 as Director for the IHS California Area Office. In 1984 he was named Special Assistant to the Director, IHS, and assigned to long-term training at the University of Southern California. In 1986, he was transferred to the IHS Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, where he held positions of increasing responsibility and diversity, including Director of the Division of Health Manpower and Training for the Office of Health Programs, Deputy Associate Director for the Office of Administration and Management, and Management Analysis Officer for the Office of the Director. From 1992 to 1997 he served as the Acting Associate Director for the Office of Human Resources. Mr. McSwain was selected as the Director of the Office of Management Support in March 1997. From August 2004 until February 2005, he served as the Acting Deputy Director for Management Operations.
After receiving an associate of science degree in accounting from Fresno City College in Fresno, California, Mr. McSwain obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from California State University - Fresno in 1969. In 1986 he earned a master’s degree in public administration and pursued doctoral studies in public administration from the University of Southern California.
Mr. McSwain has received numerous honors, including the President’s Rank Award for Meritorious Service in 2002 and the President’s Rank Award for Distinguished Service in 2006.