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Dr. Yvette Roubideaux Confirmed as Indian Health Service Director
Yvette D. Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H., a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, South Dakota, was confirmed as the director of the Indian Health Service (IHS) on May 6 by a unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate. Dr. Roubideaux will be the first woman to serve as director of the IHS in its 54-year history. The IHS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the principal federal health care advocate and provider for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
“With President Obama’s strong support for needed improvements in Indian health, I look forward to developing strategies to deliver better health care,” said Dr. Roubideaux. “The Obama administration has announced a 13 percent increase in the IHS budget, which will provide much-needed support for healthier American Indian and Alaska Native communities.”
As the IHS director, Dr. Roubideaux will administer a $4.3 billion national health care delivery program composed of 12 administrative area (regional) offices. The IHS is responsible for providing preventive, curative, and community health care to approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in hospitals, clinics, and other settings throughout the United States.
Dr. Roubideaux worked for IHS for three years as a clinical director and medical officer at the San Carlos Service Unit on the San Carlos Apache Indian reservation in Arizona, and she worked for one year as a medical officer at the Hu Hu Kam Memorial Indian Hospital on the Gila River Indian reservation in Arizona.
Dr. Roubideaux serves as assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She has conducted extensive research on American Indian health issues, with a focus on diabetes in American Indians/Alaska Natives and American Indian health policy. Dr. Roubideaux served as codirector of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians Demonstration Projects that has implemented diabetes prevention and cardiovascular disease prevention activities in 66 American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
Dr. Roubideaux received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1989 and completed a residency program in primary care internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in 1992. She completed her Master of Public Health degree at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1997. She then completed the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy.
She is a past president of the Association of American Indian Physicians and co-editor of the American Public Health Association’s book “Promises to Keep: Public Health Policy for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the 21st Century.” She has authored several monographs and peer-reviewed publications on American Indian/Alaska Native health issues, research, and policy.