Indian Health Service (IHS) Director's Corner Bloghttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/directorsblog/IHS updates on important issues affecting the Indian Health Service.en-usHHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Visits PIMChttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/august2016/hhs-acting-assistant-secretary-for-health-visits-pimchttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/august2016/hhs-acting-assistant-secretary-for-health-visits-pimcThursday, August 11, 2016 ]]>Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Karen DeSalvo, MD, recently met with clinical and nursing leaders at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. Her two-day trip included listening sessions with U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers and the Native Youth Council of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

This was Dr. DeSalvo’s first visit to an IHS service unit and an American Indian reservation, making this event truly historic for all.

Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, Karen DeSalvo, MD (center), stands with PIMC Commissioned Corps officers.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, Karen DeSalvo, MD (center), stands with PIMC Commissioned Corps officers.

She was accompanied by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Chief Medical Officer Karen Scott, MD, and Chief of Staff Andrea Harris. Together, they engaged with hospital leadership in interactive discussions about how critical elements of quality are integrated into key service lines. The Phoenix Indian Medical Center has developed clinical pathways based on enhanced protocols and created inter-disciplinary teams that are completely focused on improving outcomes for patients. Two examples include the Peri-Operative Surgical Home Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov and Improving Patient Care through Relationships Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov.

Lloyd Brewer, PIMC oncology patient, tells Dr. DeSalvo that he prefers IHS over the Mayo Clinic because he feels “at home.”
Lloyd Brewer, PIMC oncology patient, tells Dr. DeSalvo that he prefers IHS over the Mayo Clinic because it's where he feels “at home.”

In times of national and international disasters, Commissioned Corps officers at IHS are often called upon for deployments. They are among the most clinically proficient, and are readily able to meet direct care needs of affected populations. This listening session gave Dr. DeSalvo a chance to personally thank officers for their service and created an opportunity for her to hear about the unique challenges they face.

Featured on the tour were the Women and Infant Service Line and the Centers of Excellence for HIV, diabetes, and oncology. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health team learned how PIMC provides care, taking into account the effects limited access to preventive services and higher rates of poverty have on our patients and their families.

Dr. DeSalvo supports Gen-I by meeting with the Native Youth Council of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.
Dr. DeSalvo supports Gen-I by meeting with the Native Youth Council of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

In 2014, the White House launched an initiative called Generation Indigenous Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov, designed to remove the barriers that stand between Native youth and opportunity. In support of Gen-I, Dr. DeSalvo held a listening session with Native youth who shared their perspectives of how health and healthy behaviors are integrated with their traditional, cultural life ways.

The Phoenix Indian Medical Center is grateful for this opportunity to directly connect with the acting assistant secretary for health and share the great news of all we are doing at the Indian Health Service.

Capt. Marie Russell, M.D., MPH, has been an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps since 1994. She earned her medical degree at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.


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Native youth get on-the-job training with IHS Pathways Internshipshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/july2016/native-youth-get-on-the-job-training-with-ihs-pathways-internshipshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/july2016/native-youth-get-on-the-job-training-with-ihs-pathways-internshipsFriday, July 29, 2016 ]]>American Indian and Alaska Native students, from high school to grad school, can apply for a flexible program designed to ease the transition into federal service. IHS offers the Pathways Internship Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov as a career-building opportunity that allows students to explore federal careers while still in school and pays them for work performed.

The Phoenix Indian Medical Center employs two Pathways students. Tamia Weahkee, a member of the Navajo Nation, is a high school senior. Jeanette Johnson, a member of the Gila River Indian Community, is a junior at Arizona State University.

Tamia Weahkee, a high school student and IHS Pathways intern, reviews Generation Indigenous social media posts.
Tamia Weahkee, a high school student and IHS Pathways intern, reviews Generation Indigenous social media posts.

At fourteen years old, Weahkee decided that she wanted to be a pediatrician. She is very appreciative of this unique opportunity. “It has been an eye-opening experience,” she said. “Pathways has given me the chance to be more hands-on with patients. The internship has also helped expand my organizational skills, detail orientation and ability to manage and balance my time more efficiently.”

The federal hiring process gives weight to work experience. Pathways provides this experience to Native youth applying for entry level positions within the federal service. The program requires interns to complete at least 640 hours of work experience with a flexible schedule to accommodate school and other obligations. Students who successfully complete the program may be eligible for conversion to a permanent job in the civil service.

“My goal is to finish school and give back to my community through this organization,” Johnson said. “Pathways allows us to come aboard and truly experience the hospital. It also gives us a stepping stone to become a full-time employee of the Indian Health Service after we graduate.”

Jeanette Johnson, an Arizona State University student and IHS Pathways intern, looks forward to giving back to her community after graduation..
Jeanette Johnson, an Arizona State University student and IHS Pathways intern, looks forward to giving back to her community after graduation.

Johnson and Weahkee are assigned to the Office of Community Relations and Tribal Affairs. They are gaining experience in administration and communications.

The Pathways Internship is open to students from a wide variety of educational institutions and requires a cumulative minimum GPA of 2.0. IHS also offers several other opportunities for students. The Indian Health Service is pleased to support American Indian and Alaska Native youth by providing these opportunities for building careers in health!

Capt. Marie Russell, M.D., MPH, has been an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps since 1994. She earned her medical degree at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.


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Patient Remains Positive Through Cancer Journeyhttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/july2016/patient-remains-positive-through-cancer-journeyhttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/july2016/patient-remains-positive-through-cancer-journeyTuesday, July 26, 2016 ]]>Patient P (for positivity), as I will call him, was like other people who go about their daily lives, who utilize the Indian Health Service for their physical needs, but Patient P knew when something was wrong. He was feeling bloated and he knew that he needed to go to IHS for a checkup. This led to a course of treatment that led to medication therapy and a follow up for unexplained loss of blood and abdominal pain. Through lab tests, as well as continuity of care with a local oncologist, it was determined that Patient P had a form of lymphoma. 

Patient P was determined, as was the Green care team at IHS that this was something that we could get answers for, and so the continuity of care cycle ran strong. This is where IHS Fort Washakie, located on the Wind River Indian Reservation, stepped in to fill a gap of understanding, of facilitation and of patient focused culturally competent care. 

We were able to utilize home health care during this process where there were weekly lab tests and continual calls regarding the best options available. Patient P was eventually directed to the University of Colorado in Denver where he started treatment for Burkitt’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. 

Due to the rural nature of some IHS facilities, traveling icy roads back and forth between Denver and IHS Fort Washakie was a complicated situation. Patient P had a support system, his family was diligent, he was positive, and his bright spirit and smile showed bravery and it enhanced his healing process.

The next few months saw positive test results, Patient P was able to gain back weight, his vital signs became progressively better and his strength began to return. Patient P’s care continued at IHS, wound care became a daily occurrence, wound surveillance led to understanding when intervention was needed, surgeons were consulted, and the positive track of healing continued. 

Patient P has expressed his thankfulness to the individuals at his IHS Medical Home, but truly the thanks goes to him, he has survived the hardest part of the battle, and his care team will be here to help with continued medical care on what will likely be a lively and long life.

Empowerment of individuals, helping them understand the process of care, facilitating what is necessary so patients can take an educated active role in their healing; that is a positive role that IHS Fort Washakie will continue to assist with and achieve for the people we serve.

Mr. Bryce Redgrave, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, is the Executive Officer of the Billings Area of the Indian Health Service. In this position, Mr. Redgrave provides leadership to the Billings Area and oversees the delivery of health care to more than 70,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives on seven reservations in Montana and one in Wyoming.


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Patient Benefits Coordinator Helps Tribal Members Enroll in Health Coveragehttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/july2016/patient-benefits-coordinator-helps-tribal-members-enroll-in-health-coveragehttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/july2016/patient-benefits-coordinator-helps-tribal-members-enroll-in-health-coverageTuesday, July 26, 2016 ]]>Jody Guardipee, a Patient Benefits Coordinator at Blackfeet Community Hospital in northwest Montana, knows firsthand that educating tribal members about their health care choices is key to building healthy families and healthy communities. Jody talks to patients daily on the benefits of enrolling in Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance through the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace.

Since the first Affordable Care Act education and enrollment event on the Blackfeet reservation nearly four years ago, Jody has seen a change in the ways the Indian Health Service and other state programs are reaching out to American Indians and Alaska Natives about their health coverage options. Jody is a part of that change. She helped train other IHS Patient Benefits Coordinators on the different coverage applications and made numerous presentations to tribal councils and tribal programs about the special protections for American Indians under the ACA.

Jody Guardipee became a certified application counselor through training offered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Jody Guardipee became a certified application counselor through training offered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In addition to her demanding workload as Patients Benefits Coordinator, Jody took on the added responsibility of becoming a Certified Application Counselor through training offered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Jody became an expert on health care coverage plans and programs.

Jody even trained non-Native ACA Navigators and Certified Application Counselors on Indian-specific plans, special benefits coverage, and overall customer service when helping tribal members sign up for coverage. She has played a statewide key role in helping non-Native enrollment assisters understand the Indian health care process and challenges tribal members face when it comes to their health care. Jody's influence, knowledge, and leadership has resulted in many American Indians signing up for an ACA Marketplace plan or Medicaid. Jody is witness to many success stories.

Jody's hard work, passion, and insight on educating and enrolling tribal members in health coverage sometimes goes unrecognized. Yet, recently a tribal member approached her, gently reached for her hand and thanked her for helping him enroll in Medicaid. Jody smiled and offered words of encouragement. Jody is also a success story.

Ms. Dorothy A. Dupree, a member of the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes, is the Director of the Billings Area Indian Health Service. Ms. Dupree provides leadership to the Billings Area and oversees the delivery of health care to more than 70,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives on seven reservations in Montana and one in Wyoming.


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IHS issues new policy ensuring modern, functional medical equipmenthttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/july2016/ihs-issues-new-policy-ensuring-modern-functional-medical-equipmenthttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/july2016/ihs-issues-new-policy-ensuring-modern-functional-medical-equipmentThursday, July 7, 2016 ]]>Expanding efforts to ensure medical equipment used at IHS facilities is up to date, properly maintained, and reliable, IHS has established a new policy which standardizes and clarifies the minimum standards for medical equipment management, purchase, maintenance, and replacement.

My expectations for Headquarters, Area Offices, and Service Units are that they effectively manage the medical equipment program and take proactive steps to identify and mitigate risks. Medical equipment is a vital component in the delivery of quality health care. By proactively planning and managing medical equipment to accepted standards, IHS will create a strong foundation for the delivery of high quality health care to the Native American community.

Under the new policy, medical equipment should be replaced at the end of its useful life. Equipment useful life tables, such as the American Hospital Association Estimated Useful Lives of Depreciable Hospital Assets, estimate the productive period of time before health care capital assets become technically or commercially obsolete. IHS will use these resources as operating standards for when to replace medical equipment.

Additionally, the new policy makes clear that equipment should be replaced when it no longer meets safety standards, when it is more economically and operationally effective to replace the equipment than repair it, when an item of equipment has a high incidence of breakdowns and when equipment with newer technology can offer better quality health care.

We use a series of tools to identify equipment that needs to be replaced, including an IHS-standardized computerized maintenance management system to inventory and track maintenance and repair of medical equipment. We also use Emergency Care Research Institute’s Select Plus service which provides medical device pre-purchase evaluations and medical device alert recalls, hazards, and product safety issues.  These systems allow us to automatically identify medical device safety and recall issues.

Providing our patients with quality health care is of paramount importance. Prudent management of medical equipment will provide our clinicians with appropriate tools to do their jobs and help assure our patients receive the best health care we can provide. Together, these measures will lead to better efficiency, better care, and ultimately better outcomes.

Ms. Smith, a member of the Cherokee Nation, leads IHS, a nationwide health care delivery program responsible for providing preventive, curative and community health care to approximately 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.


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IHS Implements Groundbreaking New Policy Regarding Opioid Prescribinghttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/july2016/ihs-implements-groundbreaking-new-policy-regarding-opioid-prescribinghttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/july2016/ihs-implements-groundbreaking-new-policy-regarding-opioid-prescribingWednesday, July 6, 2016 ]]>Effective immediately, the Indian Health Service will require healthcare providers working in IHS federal-government-operated facilities, including doctors, pharmacists, nurse practitioners and other providers who prescribe opioids, to check state Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) databases prior to prescribing and dispensing opioids for pain treatment longer than seven days and periodically throughout chronic pain treatment —one of the first such actions by any federal agency involved in direct medical care.

IHS is continuing its efforts to combat prescription drug abuse in American Indian and Alaska Native communities by implementing this policy. Checking a PDMP before prescribing helps to improve appropriate pain management care, identify patients who may have an opioid abuse problem and prevent diversion of drugs. PDMPs are state-based, electronic databases that collect data on controlled medications dispensed by registered pharmacies operating within the state. 

This policy formalizes the IHS practice of ensuring safe and appropriate prescribing practices for prescription medications, including opioids, for more than 1,200 IHS prescribers.

This announcement today is part of several new actions the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is announcing Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov. (Read the White House fact sheet on more actions addressing the U.S. opioid epidemic Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov. ) A multi-million dollar new investment in new opioid abuse and pain treatment research was announced, along with a report on the opioid research Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov currently being conducted or funded by HHS agencies. Finally, a Request for Information Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov has been issued seeking comment on current HHS prescriber education and training programs and proposals that would augment ongoing HHS activities in this space.

‎IHS data indicate that the rate of drug-related deaths among American Indians and Alaska Natives has increased dramatically in recent decades. The rate of these deaths increased from five per 100,000 population (adjusted) in 1989-1991 to 22.7 per 100,000 in 2007-2009. The rate among American Indian and Alaska Native people is almost twice that of the general population; drug-related deaths were 12.6 per 100,000 population for the U.S. all races population in 2007 to 2009. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), another part of HHS, the rates of death from prescription opioid overdose Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov among American Indian or Alaska Natives further increased almost four-fold from 1.3 per 100,000 in 1999 to 5.1 per 100,000 in 2013.

Checking PDMPs is part of continuing IHS efforts on opioids, including work to equip clinicians with what they need to provide quality care to American Indian and Alaska Native patients, and including an announcement in December that IHS will be training and equipping hundreds of BIA law enforcement officers with naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversing drug.

The PDMP policy is part of an overall strategy for HHS. These actions will build on the HHS Opioid Initiative Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov, and the National Pain Strategy Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov. At IHS, our ongoing efforts to support our clinicians are coordinated with the IHS Prescription Drug Abuse Workgroup, which makes pain management best practices resources available to clinicians and provides training.

Ms. Smith, a member of the Cherokee Nation, leads IHS, a nationwide health care delivery program responsible for providing preventive, curative and community health care to approximately 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.


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Pediatric dentists help prevent tooth decay for childrenhttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/june2016/pediatric-dentists-help-prevent-tooth-decay-for-childrenhttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/june2016/pediatric-dentists-help-prevent-tooth-decay-for-childrenFriday, June 10, 2016 ]]>Dr. Mary Beth Johnson’s path took her from the farms of Ohio to the Hopi Reservation in Arizona where the desert has been farmed for centuries. She now has the unique opportunity to provide dental care to families – everyone from toddlers to their great, great grandmothers – at the Hopi Health Care Center. Popular with the young ones for her Scooby Doo watch and Lion King scrubs that were handmade by her mother, Dr. Johnson was integral in the rollout of a significant performance improvement project for infant oral health.

Dr. Marybeth Johnson is a pediatric dentist at the Hopi Health Care Center.
Dr. Mary Beth Johnson is a pediatric dentist at the Hopi Health Care Center.

She campaigned for early dental visits for infants in order to lessen future dental disease burdens through medical provider education and community outreach. She used print media, radio and direct recruitment to reach families, which increased access by 140% and treatment completion in children two years old and younger by 304%! Dr. Johnson helped lead the building of an off-site pediatric dental operating room program from the ground up. She also provides dental screenings via teledentistry and offers subsequent care for school children participating in the comprehensive dental prevention program, which has successfully been implemented in six of the local schools.

Many children in Indian Country suffer from dental caries, or tooth decay, and rates are higher than other groups. By age five, approximately 75% of American Indian and Alaska Native children have experienced tooth decay. The Indian Health Service dental health care program has started to use therapeutic fillings -- or interim therapeutic restorations, or ITRs -- more and more, to ease the burden of dental cavities in our young patients. These types of fillings can often be done without the use of needles to get the tooth numb, and can stop the progression of dental cavities. The filling material of choice for many ITRs is glass ionomer because it has fluoride in it that can be recharged when you drink fluoridated water or use fluoridated toothpaste. With community outreach, and by using strategies that include topical fluoride and sealants, we are helping to prevent caries.

We appreciate our hardworking pediatric dentists like Dr. Johnson for helping to reduce the epidemic of dental caries for our young patients!

RADM Charles Ty Reidhead (Three Affiliated Tribes) is the Acting Director of the Phoenix Area Indian Health Service, overseeing the delivery of healthcare to over 170,000 patients in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. RADM Reidhead was formerly the Chief Medical Officer for the Phoenix Area providing clinical leadership to over 200 medical providers.


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DEADLINE EXTENDED: Tribal Management Grants Available for Tribes and Tribal Organizationshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/june2016/deadline-extended-tribal-management-grants-available-for-tribes-and-tribal-organizationshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/june2016/deadline-extended-tribal-management-grants-available-for-tribes-and-tribal-organizationsWednesday, June 8, 2016 ]]>UPDATE: The Indian Health Service extended the application deadline to Friday, June 17 Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov for the Tribal Management Grant Program Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov, a competitive grant for federally recognized Tribes and Tribal organizations that is administered by the Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes (ODSCT).

KEY DATES: 

Application Deadline Date: Wednesday, June 17, 2016

Review Dates: June 24-July 1, 2016

Earliest Anticipated Start Date:  Thursday, September 1, 2016

RESOURCES:

ODSCT Tribal Management Grant Funding Announcement Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

IHS Division of Grants Management Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov

 

The Tribal Management Grant Program consists of four project types with funding amounts and project periods.

  • Feasibility Study: $70,000 (maximum funding) for 12 months
  • Planning: $50,000 (maximum funding) for 12 months
  • Evaluation Study: $50,000 (maximum funding) for 12 months
  • Health Management Structure: $100,000 (average funding) for 12 months; $300,000 (maximum funding) for 35 months

Approximately 16-18 awards will be issued to assist Tribes and Tribal organizations to establish goals and performance measures; assess current management capacity; analyze programs to determine if management is practicable; and develop infrastructure systems to manage or organize the programs, function, services and activities of the current health programs.

The intent of the grant program is to prepare Tribes and Tribal organizations for assuming all or part of exiting IHS programs, functions, services and activities, and further develop and improve their health management capabilities.

For more information about Tribal Management Grant Program, contact the Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes or at 301-443-1104.

Michelle EagleHawk, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, is the Acting Director, Office of Direct Services and Contracting Tribes, for the Indian Health Service. Ms. EagleHawk is responsible for a wide range of agency functions critical to the working partnership and relationships between the IHS and the 567 federally recognized Tribes. The ODSCT is the focal point for Title I Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act activities and support for the Direct Service Tribes.


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Men's Health Month: Be Vigilant About Your Healthcarehttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/june2016/men-s-health-month-be-vigilant-about-your-healthcarehttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/june2016/men-s-health-month-be-vigilant-about-your-healthcareWednesday, June 8, 2016 ]]>Jason Miller, a patient at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC), shares his experience and words of advice, "Men have to be aware of where they stand in terms of overall health. It's common knowledge that everyone gets older. You think you're 25 forever, but you're not. It's like personal maintenance on your body. You have to go to the doctor for your routine check-ups. Be more vigilant about your healthcare."

In August 2015, Jason thought he caught the flu so he went to PIMC for an evaluation. During the evaluation, it was noted that his blood pressure was high, so the doctor decided to run some blood tests. They discovered his blood sugar was alarmingly high - four times higher than normal. Jason was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He was immediately empaneled to a primary care provider for treatment. During the next 10 days, he received services for nutrition, podiatry, dental, and vision. With the guidance and education he received from PIMC, Jason immediately changed his lifestyle. He now has a conscious awareness about what he eats and drinks, he tests his blood sugar twice a day, and has become more physically active.

Jason Miller (Navajo) is successfully managing his diabetes by working with PIMC health professionals.
Jason Miller (Comanche) is successfully managing his diabetes by working with PIMC health professionals.

Jason had diabetes but had no noticeable symptoms of the disease. "I didn't know the severity of type 2 diabetes. It can hurt my liver and kidneys, and make me really sick. Had I been more on top of it and not just come in when I wasn't feeling well, things might have been different. I would've known sooner."

The Indian Health Service, Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) offers many diabetes management resources for American Indian/Alaska Native people. Prior to his diagnosis, Jason was unaware how diabetes could hurt his body and make him seriously ill, if not managed properly. PIMC staff members provided the proper diabetes education and treatment for Jason. "My access to care was effortless. They were very encouraging and let me know that this will take time. They advised me that having diabetes is life changing, but they gave me all the tools and resources necessary to make that change."

CAPT Michael Weahkee (Zuni) is the CEO of the Phoenix Indian Medical Center, leading the largest federally operated IHS hospital in the nation. CAPT Weahkee also served at IHS headquarters in a variety of posts including Executive Officer for the Office of Clinical and Preventive Services, Director of the Management Policy and Internal Control Staff; and as Deputy Director for Personnel Functions in the Office of Management Services.


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IHS works with Uniformed Services University School of Medicine to train new doctorshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/june2016/ihs-works-with-uniformed-services-university-school-of-medicine-to-train-new-doctorshttps://www.ihs.gov/newsroom/ihs-blog/june2016/ihs-works-with-uniformed-services-university-school-of-medicine-to-train-new-doctorsTuesday, June 7, 2016 ]]>The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov held their commencement ceremony on Armed Forces Day, May 21, at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.  The event incorporated the traditions of both the uniformed services and USU.  Three United States Public Health Service medical students graduated this year, two from the Indian Health Service and one from the National Institutes of Health. IHS recently received a third spot each year for incoming students.

This year’s IHS graduates were Lt. Colin Smith and Lt. Vinita Puri.

Lt. Colin Smith and Lt. Vinita Puri, USPHS officers with the Indian Health Service, take the oath of office during the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine commencement ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2016.
Lt. Colin Smith and Lt. Vinita Puri, USPHS officers with the Indian Health Service, take the oath of office during the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine commencement ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2016.

Smith was recognized with the Outstanding Student in Psychiatry Award, the Capt. Richard Hooper Memorial Award for excellence and promise in preventive medicine, and the USPHS Surgeon General’s Award for academic achievement, military professionalism, commitment to fellow students and creative, sensitive leadership.  He will be pursuing a combined internal medicine/psychiatry residency at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Puri will begin an internal medicine residency at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

 
USPHS Lt. Colin Smith receives his Doctor of Medicine diploma during the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine commencement ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2016.
USPHS Lt. Colin Smith receives his Doctor of Medicine diploma during the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine commencement ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2016.

Medical students at USU enjoy a tuition-free education and receive the full salary and benefits of a junior ranking officer while attending the four-year program.

The IHS, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. We have career opportunities for doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, technicians, and more.

In addition to USU School of Medicine opportunities, IHS offers scholarships, internships, externships, residencies and student loan repayment. Contact a recruiter for more information.

 
USPHS Lt. Vinita Puri receives her Doctor of Medicine diploma during the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine commencement ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2016.
USPHS Lt. Vinita Puri receives her Doctor of Medicine diploma during the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine commencement ceremony in Washington, D.C., May 21, 2016.

Those interested in seeing the graduation ceremony can view it on YouTube Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov.  The video shows Puri (2:31:39) and Smith (2:35:05) receiving their diplomas and Rear Adm. Jeff Brady administering the Oath of Office (2:52:05) to the three Public Health Service officers.  Congratulations to our newest USU graduates!

As IHS Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Susan V. Karol (Tuscarora Nation) provides medical advice and guidance to the Office of the Director and staff on American Indian and Alaska Native health care policies and issues. She serves as the primary liaison and advocate for IHS field clinical programs and community-based health professionals.


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