U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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National Public Health Week, April 2-6

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Margo Kerrigan, M.P.H., Area Director
Indian Health Service California Area Office

IHS Strategic Plan:

Did you know that Strategic Goal # 1 of the IHS Strategic Plan is to build and sustain healthy communities?

Our agency, departments, divisions, and staff will achieve this by involving and working in partnership with American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities to promote wellness and healing, develop public health infrastructures to sustain and support AI/ AN communities, assist those communities with access to data, and strengthen emergency preparedness.

Did you know that IHS Strategic Goal #2 is to provide accessible quality health care?
Our agency, departments, divisions, and staff will achieve this by providing safe, effective, and high-quality primary care services, maintaining an adequate workforce, maximizing alternative resources, providing accurate and timely clinical data, and providing quality health information for decision making to patients, providers, and communities through improved information systems.

Did you know that IHS Strategic Goal #3 is to foster collaboration and innovation across the Indian health network?
This goal can be achieved by you and your colleagues through expanding coalitions and partnerships, building a dynamic Indian health network, and developing new structures within the network to increase collaboration and innovation to improve and advocate for the health care of the AI/ AN population.

Oral Health:

The applications of topical fluoride and sealants to teeth by dental professionals are effective cavity prevention methods. In 2006, Indian Health Service oral health teams provided 246,645 sealants and 95,439 topical fluoride applications for our patients.

Environmental Health Services:

Environmental health staff members ensure the safety and health of Indian communities by controlling hazardous conditions and monitoring and inspecting more than 22,670 tribal and IHS items and facilities.

Services are provided to 93 types of facilities found in Indian communities that include:

  • 5475 food service establishments
  • 793 health care facilities
  • 742 Head Start facilities
  • 580 Schools
  • 170 jails and detention facilities
  • 2645 water, water distribution, and sanitation systems

Traumatic Brain Injury - Currently, there are at least 5.3 million Americans living with a disability because of a brain injury. The estimated lifetime costs of brain injury (including direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity) totaled $60 billion in 2000. Every 23 seconds a traumatic brain injury occurs, and in the next year, an average of 1.4 million Americans will sustain traumatic brain injuries.

To learn more about brain injury and its life-altering consequences, materials are available at the Brain Injury Association of American website. The materials are for the public, those who have experienced a brain injury, their family members/caregivers, professionals, and interested persons. A brain injury awareness packet and other materials are available at http://www.biausa.org/media.htm#MarchExit Disclaimer – You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

Fall Prevention - Among people 65 years and older, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. Each year in the United States, nearly one third of older adults experience a fall.

In 2003, more than 13,700 people 65 years or older died of fall-related injuries. Another 1.8 million were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries related to falls. The total direct cost for falls among older adults in 2000 was about $19 billion. Given the growing population of this age group, this cost is expected to reach $43.8 billion by 2020.

For American Indians and Alaska Natives, falls contribute to a leading cause of hospitalization. Several contributing factors can lead to a serious fall among the elderly. Home safety, medication management, family support systems, and improving physical stamina are some of the ways to preventing or lessen the number of falls by the elderly.

To learn more about preventing falls, visit the CDC Injury Center website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/preventadultfalls.htm Exit Disclaimer – You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

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