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

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Agency Overview

 

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The Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. The provision of health services to members of federally-recognized Tribes grew out of the special government-to-government relationship between the federal government and Indian Tribes. This relationship, established in 1787, is based on Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, and has been given form and substance by numerous treaties, laws, Supreme Court decisions, and Executive Orders. The IHS is the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for Indian people, and its goal is to raise their health status to the highest possible level. The IHS provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Our Mission... to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.

Our Goal... to ensure that comprehensive, culturally acceptable personal and public health services are available and accessible to American Indian and Alaska Native people.

Our Foundation... to uphold the Federal Government's obligation to promote healthy American Indian and Alaska Native people, communities, and cultures and to honor and protect the inherent sovereign rights of Tribes.

Agency Priorities... developed with input from staff and Tribes as a strategic framework to focus agency activities on priorities for changing and improving the IHS:

  • Assessing Care
  • Improving How We Deliver Services
  • Addressing Behavioral Health Issues
  • Strengthening Management
  • Bringing Health Care Quality Expertise to IHS
  • Engaging Local Resources