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Council Members

Chair (2015-2017) - CAPT Sandra M. Lahi, M.B.A., RHIA

Chief Executive Officer, Jicarilla Service Unit

To serve a 2 year term (effective 1/2015)

CAPT Sandra Lahi is a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. She has worked with Indian Health Service for over 23 years and began her career in the Medical Record Department at the Chickasaw Indian Hospital. She continued her education and earned a Bachelor's Degree in Medical Record Administration from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma and ultimately her Masters of Business Administration at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

During her career, she has worked in the Health Information Management, Business Office and Information Technology systems. She is accredited by AHIMA as a Registered Health Information Administrator and as a Certified Coder through AAPC. She has been stationed at the Mescalero Indian Hospital, Santa Fe Indian Hospital, Headquarters Office of Information Technology, Headquarters Office of Resource Access and Partnerships and the Oklahoma City Area Office. CAPT Lahi transferred to the position of Chief Executive Officer at the Jicarilla Service Unit in Dulce, New Mexico in October of 2010.

Throughout her tenure with IHS, she has served on multiple Area and national workgroups and committees within Indian Health Service and has participated in many initiatives to strengthen the Agency's capacity for increasing third party revenue. Her passion while working in all of these locations has been to improve health care systems with the ultimate goal of improving patient care to the Native American population. She is honored and proud to be working for her own tribe on health care issues and working in collaboration with the local tribally managed programs to improve patient care.

Vice Chair (2015-2017) - CAPT Laura Herbison, RN, BS, BSN

Chief Executive Officer, Chemawa Indian Health Center

CAPT Laura Herbison, RN, BS, BSN is a graduate from the University of Oregon and Oregon Health Sciences University. She has worked for the Indian Health Service since 2002 beginning at the Northern Cheyenne Service Unit as an ER nurse, Director of Nursing, Clinical Director, and Acting CEO. She was then detailed to Rockville as the QILN Collaborative Director for the IPC Program. Throughout her journey, CAPT Herbison has provided consultation and presentations to both federal and tribal service units, at IPC conferences, and at numerous Direct Service Tribes meetings on improving patient care. She has been with the Portland Area as the Director of Ambulatory Services for the Western Oregon Service Unit since 2012. Currently, CAPT Herbison is the Chief Executive Officer at Chemawa Indian Health Center.

Secretary (2015-2016) - Rita (Pocknett) Gonsalves, RN, ASN, MM

Chief Executive Officer, Mashpee Wampanoag Health Service Unit Service Unit

Rita (Pocknett) Gonsalves is a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Nation of Massachusetts. Rita received her ASN in 1992 from Cape Cod Community College, and worked as a Registered Nurse for over 18 years. Her career began at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and led her across country to UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles where she continued as a critical care nurse. Both facilities are leaders in Medicine. These teaching arenas set the pace, high quality and standards which she brings to her position. She completed administrative training offered to her in 2009 at Brigham and Women's hospital. In 2010 she was hired by the Nashville Area Office as CEO to build the Mashpee Wampanoag Health Service Unit. Rita continues to guide the development of health systems for the service unit at Mashpee, it is the first IHS facility in the State of Massachusetts. It's been a huge undertaking. Rita acted as the regional Federal Liaison for Direct Service Tribes and assumed these duties for 2 years. Rita continued her education to earn a Master’s Degree in Management from Cambridge College in Boston, MA in 2014.

Council Members by Area


Dorlynn Simmons, CEO
Mescalero Indian Hospital
Phone: 505-464-4441

Sandra Lahi, CEO
Jicarilla Service Unit
Phone: 575-759-7200

Leslie Dye, CEO
Santa Fe Service Unit
Phone: 505-946-9204


Norine Smith, CEO
Red Lake Service Unit
Phone: 218-679-3316


Debby Bends, CEO
Northern Cheyenne Service Unit
Phone: 406-477-4400

Alan Barlow, CEO
Ft Yates Hospital
Phone: 406-353-3191

Darren Crowe, CEO
Crow Service Unit
Phone: 406-638-3461


Scott Black, Exec Director
American Indian Health & Services
Phone: 805-681-7356

Sonya Tetnowski, CEO
Indian Health Center of Santa Clara County
Phone: 408-445-3400

Great Plains

Bernie Long, CEO
Crow Creek Health Center
Phone: 605-245-1617

Charles Fischer, CEO
Cheyenne River Service Unit
Phone: 605-964-7724


Tonya Cornwell, CEO
Catawba Health Center
Phone: 803-366-9098

Rita Gonsalves, CEO
Mashpee Wampanoag Health Service Unit
Phone: 508-477-69163


Fannessa Comer, CEO
Northern Navajo Medical Center
Phone: 505-368-6005

Vida Khow, CEO
Gallup Indian Medical Center
Phone: 505-722-1400

Oklahoma City

Kelly Battese, CEO
Haskell Indian Health Center
Phone: 785-843-3750

Carmelita Skeeter, CEO
Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa
Phone: 918-588-1900

Angela Young, (A) CEO
Dallas Inter-Tribal Center of Tx
Phone: 214-941-1050


Michelle Martinez, CEO
White River Service Unit
Phone: 928-338-4911

Michael Weahkee, CEO
Phoenix Indian Medical Center
Phone: 602-263-1200


Marcus Martinez, CEO
Wellpinit Indian Health Center
Phone: 509-258-4517

Laura Herbison, CEO
Western Oregon Service Unit
Phone: 503-304-7600