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In Memoriam - Margo Kerrigan - 1953-2014

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Margo Kerrigan, M.P.H, Area Director

Indian Health Service California Area Office




To All IHS:

It is my sad duty to inform you that Margo Kerrigan, a cherished and respected member of the IHS family, has passed away.  Margo,  a member of the White Earth (Mississippi) Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, was Director of the IHS California Area for nearly 18 years. During her career, she devoted herself to working with and for American Indians and Alaska Native people.

Prior to Federal service, Margo worked for the California Rural Indian Health Board, Inc., and she began her career with the IHS in 1979, when she worked for the California Area Office in Health Program Operations. She then served with the Phoenix and Nashville Areas.  From 1989 to 1996, she served as the Director of the Division of Management Policy, Office of Administration and Management, at IHS Headquarters in Rockville, MD. 

In September 1996, Margo assumed responsibilities as the Director of the IHS California Area, where her leadership helped provide healthcare to 103 tribal communities through 26 rural health care operating units, seven urban health programs, and 14 alcohol treatment programs.  She established the California Area Tribal Advisory Committee to further the partnership on health care services with California Area Tribal Leaders.

On the national level, Margo led the agency’s GPRA Support Team for GPRA performance reporting for the annual IHS budget request and performance report. She also worked tirelessly with the Area Tribes and IHS staff on funding for the much anticipated Southern and Northern California Youth Regional Treatment Centers, the first federal health care facilities to be constructed in the state, and she very much looked forward to the completion and opening of these long-awaited facilities.  

Margo received many awards and accolades during her long federal career.  In 1997, she was recognized by Vice President Albert Gore’s National Performance Review Committee for her contributions to the HHS Internal Regulations workgroup and was inducted into the Stanford University’s Alumni Hall of Fame for her contributions in public service to Indian people.  In FY 2002, Ms. Kerrigan was selected as a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service.  

Although we mourn her passing, we are grateful for the lifelong service Margo dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of American Indian and Alaska Native people.

Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H.
Acting Director