Skip to site content

Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

Share This Page:

Director's Blog

 

STAY CONNECTED

Use our RSS Feed to stay connected to the Director's Blog

Search

 
 

Posted on Jul 28, 2015

LGBT Communities Meet at IHS Headquarters

Yesterday, IHS Headquarters in Maryland hosted a public meeting on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) health issues. We had a dynamic and productive conversation. If you were able to attend-thank you for making time for this important discussion. I am grateful for your participation and for the great ideas that you so generously shared with us.

IHS is committed to achieving equal access to health care for all American Indian and Alaska Native people, including LGBT communities. The goal of yesterday's meeting was to gain a better understanding of the health care needs of American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT individuals so that IHS can implement changes in health policy and health care delivery, changes that will enhance the health care that these groups receive. We discussed recommendations and opportunities in the areas of clinical practice, behavioral health, services and eligibility, and organizational strategies.

Through Listening Sessions like this one, we seek to increase community access to and engagement with IHS leadership. We hope to secure a legacy of transparent, accountable, fair, and inclusive decision-making specific to American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT people. We took important steps towards that goal yesterday. In approximately 10 days, IHS will release a report of the meeting, so please keep a look out.

In addition to this meeting, IHS recently closed a formal public comment period on several key dimensions of the health needs of the American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT communities. Many of you responded to that request, and we are carefully considering those comments, as well.

We celebrate these important efforts to advance and promote the health of American Indian and Alaska Native LGBT communities.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  •  
    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - IHS Principal Deputy Director, Mr. Robert McSwain, addresses the meeting from a podium while other members of IHS leadership seated at the front of the room look on, including Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Susan V. Karol, M.D., Senior Advisor to the Director, Mr. Geoffrey Roth, and Director of the Office of Clinical and Preventive Services, Dr. Alec Thundercloud, M.D.
  •  
    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - A group of about 30 meeting attendees and IHS staff gathered for a group photo in the conference room during the IHS Meeting on American Indian and Alaska Native Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues.


Posted on Jun 26, 2015

Message from Dr. Roubideaux

Today is my last day at HHS and I again wanted to thank all of you for your hard work and dedication to the mission of IHS. I have enjoyed working with you, and am proud of all the great work we have done together to improve the IHS.

Here is a blog that was posted today that celebrates some of our accomplishments in the past 6 years: Progress Towards Better Healthcare for American Indians and Alaska Natives Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

Take care, and again, thank you for helping us change and improve the IHS!


Posted on Jun 24, 2015

Phoenix Indian Medical Center's POSH Team Wins Top HHS Innovates Award

Congratulations to the IHS Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC) Peri-Operative Surgical Home (POSH) program for winning the 2015 HHS Innovates "Employee's Choice" Award. This prestigious award is given once a year to HHS employees who develop creative solutions to complex issues. The awards bring the best employee-led solutions to the attention of colleagues, HHS leadership, and the public.

POSH Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov is improving the care of complex surgical patients by creating the processes, multi-disciplinary collaboration, and staff education necessary to safely deliver the highest standard of care to the most challenging patients in a cost effective way.

We are very proud of the outstanding work that PIMC is doing and encourage all of our employees to continue to develop creative and cost-saving ideas and participate in the annual HHS Innovates Awards program.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  •  
    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - POSH Team at PIMC
  •  
    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - PIMC POSH Team Wins HHS Innovates Award


Posted on Jun 9, 2015

Congratulations: Ben Smith Wins 2014 Arthur S. Flemming Award

I am pleased to announce that Ben Smith, Director of the Office of Tribal Self-Governance, was recently awarded a 2014 Arthur S. Flemming Award by the George Washington University's Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. He accepted his Flemming Award on June 8 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Established by the Downtown Jaycees in 1948, the Flemming Awards honor outstanding federal employees with three to 15 years of federal service for their exceptional contributions to the federal government. Recipients are nominated by their federal agency and then selected from a pool of nominees through a competitive judging process. Mr. Smith was selected from a large group of nominees for his exceptional leadership and management skills.

Under Mr. Smith's direction, the IHS Tribal Self-Governance program has had a significant and positive impact on the health and well-being of tribal communities. The IHS Tribal Self-Governance program is authorized by Title V of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, otherwise known as Public Law 93-638 (as amended). Under this authority, more than 60 percent of federally recognized Tribes exercise administratively their inherently sovereign powers utilizing federal resources to manage and operate health care programs formerly offered by the IHS, either directly or through tribal organizations and inter-tribal consortia.

Mr. Smith's commitment and dedication to the successful implementation of the Tribal Self-Governance program is helping more than 350 federally recognized Tribes develop innovative solutions tailored to the challenges of their communities. His leadership on policy helps expand the Indian health system, empower Tribes, and strengthen the nation-to-nation relationship between federal and tribal governments.

Congratulations to Ben Smith for being a 2014 recipient of an Arthur S. Flemming Award!

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  •  
    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Ben Smith, Director of the Office of Tribal Self-Governance wins 2014 Arthur S. Flemming Award
  •  
    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Ben Smith, Director of the Office of Tribal Self-Governance wins 2014 Arthur S. Flemming Award
  •  
    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - Ben Smith, Director of the Office of Tribal Self-Governance wins 2014 Arthur S. Flemming Award


Posted on Jun 8, 2015

IHS Update

Please see the email announcements from Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell [PDF - 43 KB] and Dr. Yvette Roubideaux [PDF - 53 KB]. Dr. Roubideaux, former IHS Director and currently Senior Advisor to the Secretary for American Indians and Alaska Natives departing HHS at the end of June.


Posted on Apr 2, 2015

SAMHSA's Suicide Prevention Mobile App to Help Health Care Providers Save Lives

A mobile app called Suicide Safe, created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), was released in March. Suicide Safe gives behavioral and primary health care providers tips on how to assess for suicidal risk, communicate effectively with patients and their families, determine appropriate next steps, and make referrals when needed. The app is available at no cost through SAMHSA's website.

Suicide is a significant problems in tribal communities, and we are working closely with tribal, federal, state, and community leadership to stop this preventable issue. Almost half of people who die by suicide have visited a primary care provider in the month prior to their death, and 20 percent have had contact with mental health services. Yet, many behavioral and primary health care providers have never received training on how to assess and manage suicidal patients.

Suicide Safe is a resource learning tool that provides examples of case studies, mock dialogue, and educational materials. One of the downloadable tribal publications accessible from the app is To Live to See the Great Day That Dawns: Preventing Suicide by American Indian and Alaska Native Youth and Young Adults. This guide lays the groundwork for comprehensive prevention planning, with prevention broadly defined to include programs that a community can use to promote the mental health of its youth. The guide also covers actions communities can take in response to a suicide to help heal and thereby prevent related suicidal behaviors.

SAMHSA's Suicide Safe app is available for download on Apple and Android mobile devices through http://store.samhsa.gov/apps/suicidesafe/ Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov. Please see the press release for more information.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  •  
    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - SAMHSA's Suicide Prevention Mobile App


Posted on Mar 16, 2015

American Indians and Alaska Natives: How to Use Your New Health Insurance

Repost from the White House blogExit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov
By Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Advisor to the Secretary for American Indians and Alaska Natives at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Since many American Indians and Alaska Natives have used the Indian Health Service all their lives for health care, using health insurance can be an unfamiliar challenge. You can still use it when you visit IHS, and you can use it to access health services with other providers and facilities.

If you now have access to health insurance, through the Affordable Care Act, your job or your Tribe, using your coverage for the first time can be confusing. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Department of Health and Human Services has developed a great brochure entitled "From Coverage to Care" and has even developed a Tribal version of this document that:

  • Contains information and tips on how to understand and use your health insurance
  • Serves as a very helpful roadmap with suggestions on how to choose providers and how to prepare for your health care appointment
  • And is also tailored to provide you information on special benefits and resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives

For more information, go to www.healthcare.gov Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov or https://marketplace.cms.gov/outreach-and-education/special-populations.html Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov.


Posted on Mar 6, 2015

CSC Update

Please see the Contract Support Costs Proposal in the FY 2016 President’s Budget [PDF-161KB] slides presented on today’s IHS All Tribes Call.


Posted on Feb 20, 2015

IHS Update

Please see email announcement [PDF - 84 KB]. Dr. Yvette Roubideaux is currently the Senior Advisor to the Secretary for American Indians and Alaska Natives, Department of Health and Human Services, and Mr. Robert McSwain is the Acting IHS Director.


Posted on Feb 10, 2015

NCAI 13th Annual State of Indian Nations Address

I attended the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) 13th Annual State of Indian Nations Address in Washington, D.C., last month. Here is a picture from the event. You can view more pictures on the NCAI Flickr site. Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

Click on the thumbnails for larger images

  •  
    Thumbnail - clicking will open full size image - NCAI 13th Annual State of Indian Nations Address in Washington, DC, January 2015