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April 2020 Blogs

Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the Impacts of COVID-19

Selina Keryte, MPH, National Domestic Violence Program Lead, IHS Division of Behavioral Health

April 30, 2020
by Selina Keryte, MPH, National Domestic Violence Program Lead, IHS Division of Behavioral Health

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, it is important to acknowledge how COVID-19 is impacting the daily routines of all American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations, rancherias, remote villages, and in cities across Indian Country. In this unprecedented ... Continue reading


New study shows decrease in diabetes prevalence for American Indian and Alaska Native adults

Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee, IHS Director

April 29, 2020
by Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee, IHS Director

The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in American Indian and Alaska Native adults decreased significantly from 2013 to 2017, according to a new study published Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care, a journal published by BMJ in partnership with the American ... Continue reading


#IAmIHS: Lt. Kali Aberle

Lt. Kali Aberle, DNP, APRN, CNP, CDE, family nurse practitioner at the McLaughlin Health Center, IHS Great Plains Area

April 28, 2020
by Lt. Kali Aberle, DNP, APRN, CNP, CDE, family nurse practitioner at the McLaughlin Health Center, IHS Great Plains Area

I was raised in South Dakota and I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. When I was little and my great-grandmother became sick, I helped take care of her every day after school. I then stayed close to home for nursing school, and I joined the Standing Rock Service Unit soon after.

... Continue reading


Pathways Internship Program

Madalyn Grass, Virtual Student Federal Service Intern

April 24, 2020
by Madalyn Grass, Virtual Student Federal Service Intern

The Indian Health Services offers hands-on experience for students, from the high school to graduate level to those transitioning into a career in federal service. The Pathways Internship Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  is a career-building opportunity that allows students to explore federal careers while continuing their education.

... Continue reading


Virtual Student Federal Service Internship

Madalyn Grass, Virtual Student Federal Service Intern

April 17, 2020
by Madalyn Grass, Virtual Student Federal Service Intern

This year, the Indian Health Service welcomed a new group of student interns to work remotely on projects throughout the agency.

The Virtual Student Federal Service Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  , formerly known as the Virtual Student Foreign Service, managed by the U.S. Department of ... Continue reading


Observing World Autism Awareness Day From Home

Kristina Cary, IHS Virtual Student Federal Program intern

April 2, 2020
by Kristina Cary, IHS Virtual Student Federal Program intern

April 2, 2020 marks the 13th World Autism Awareness Day, a day recognized internationally to help raise public awareness of autism and also highlight April as World Autism Month. Federal agencies and multiple organizations continuously work together in efforts to raise awareness and address autism spectrum disorders to support individuals, their families, and communities.

... Continue reading


IHS Focuses on Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Selina Keryte, MPH, National Domestic Violence Program Lead, Division of Behavioral Health

April 26, 2019
by Selina Keryte, MPH, National Domestic Violence Program Lead, Division of Behavioral Health

Child abuse happens somewhere every 10 seconds.  Child abuse and neglect has a long lasting effect on children across Indian Country.  In recognition of Child Abuse Awareness Month, the Indian Health Service, Office of Clinical and Preventive Services, Division of Behavioral Health has ... Continue reading


Center for Domestic Preparedness 4th Annual Tribal Nations Training Week

Marshall Cohen, Public Affairs Specialist, IHS Headquarters

April 25, 2019
by Marshall Cohen, Public Affairs Specialist, IHS Headquarters

I recently had the opportunity to attend the 4th Annual Tribal Nations Training Week at the Center for Domestic Preparedness Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  campus in Anniston, Alabama. The CDP is operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  and their mission is to provide free, fully funded training in disaster preparedness, protection, and response to state, local, tribal and territorial emergency responders, as well as personnel who are affiliated with a tribal nation, the Indian Health Service, or those who work directly with a tribal nation.

... Continue reading


Recognizing the positive impacts of Youth Regional Treatment Centers during Alcohol Awareness Month

Capt. Joel Beckstead, National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Lead, Division of Behavioral Health, Indian Health Service

April 22, 2019
by Capt. Joel Beckstead, National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Lead, Division of Behavioral Health, Indian Health Service

During Alcohol Awareness Month, we recognize the many challenges facing Native adolescents. Although there are challenges, there are also amazing stories of resilience and courage that occur every day through the efforts of federal, tribal and urban Indian programs aimed at alcohol prevention and treatment.

One ... Continue reading


Taking Action to Prevent and Respond to Sexual Assault

Erica Gourneau, RN, BSN, National Forensic Nurse Coordinator, Division of Behavioral Health, IHS HQ

April 19, 2019
by Erica Gourneau, RN, BSN, National Forensic Nurse Coordinator, Division of Behavioral Health, IHS HQ

April marks both a somber and hopeful month for sexual assault awareness and prevention.  Indian Health Service staff, along with many tribal partners, have taken part in events around our great nation to highlight the experiences of sexual assault survivors, educate our staff and the public about ... Continue reading


IHS highlights new data during STD Awareness Month

Andria Apostolou, PhD, MPH, IHS National STD Program Lead, Division of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention, IHS

April 18, 2019
by Andria Apostolou, PhD, MPH, IHS National STD Program Lead, Division of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention, IHS

April is recognized as Sexually Transmitted Disease Awareness Month and brings attention to the nearly 20 million new STD cases that occur in the United States each year.

While STDs affect all racial and ethnic groups, American Indian and Alaska Native populations bear a ... Continue reading


New director leads the Office of Clinical and Preventive Services at IHS Headquarters

Marshall Cohen, Public Affairs Specialist

April 15, 2019
by Marshall Cohen, Public Affairs Specialist

Darrell LaRoche, an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, joins the Indian Health Service as the director of the IHS Office of Clinical and Preventive Services at IHS headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. The Office of Clinical and Preventive Services aims to improve and promote wellness for American Indian and Alaska Native people by serving as the primary source of national advocacy, policy development, budget development and allocation for clinical, preventive, and public health programs for IHS, Area Offices, and Service Units. It is also the voice for clinical, preventive, and public health needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

... Continue reading


Four IHS hospitals complete Baby-Friendly re-designation

Tina Tah, IHS Senior Nurse Consultant

April 5, 2019
by Tina Tah, IHS Senior Nurse Consultant

The Indian Health Service launched the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative in 2011. Four of the 10 IHS hospitals that have been designated as Baby-Friendly have recently achieved re-designation, indicating their ongoing commitment to promoting a healthy start for babies.

... Continue reading


Rear Adm. Weahkee recently visits 2019 Circle of Harmony HIV/AIDS Wellness Conference

Tony Aaron Fuller, Public Affairs Specialist, IHS Headquarters.

April 2, 2019
by Tony Aaron Fuller, Public Affairs Specialist, IHS Headquarters.

Principal Deputy Director Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee was a keynote speaker at the 2019 Circle of Harmony HIV/AIDS Wellness Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he updated attendees on IHS’ involvement in Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for America Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov ;and ... Continue reading


Alcohol Awareness Month - Preventing Alcohol Related Deaths

Joel Beckstead, Ph.D., ABPP, Acting Director, IHS Division of Behavioral Health.

April 23, 2018
by Joel Beckstead, Ph.D., ABPP, Acting Director, IHS Division of Behavioral Health.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month.  The monthly observance was started by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence in 1987 to “help reduce the stigma so often associated with alcoholism by encouraging communities to reach out to the American public each April with information ... Continue reading


IHS Announces New Program to Support Youth After Successful Substance Abuse Treatment

Joel Beckstead, Ph.D., ABPP, Acting Director, IHS Division of Behavioral Health and Raven Ross, MSW, IHS Division of Behavioral Health at IHS

April 5, 2018
by Joel Beckstead, Ph.D., ABPP, Acting Director, IHS Division of Behavioral Health and Raven Ross, MSW, IHS Division of Behavioral Health at IHS

The Indian Health Service has launched a new program to address the gap in services that occurs when youth are discharged upon successful completion of a Youth Regional Treatment Center (YRTC) program and return to their home community where necessary support systems may not exist.

... Continue reading


Building Early Childhood Caries Prevention Into IHS Activities

CDR Nathan Mork, DDS, MPH, Co-Chair IHS Early Childhood Caries Collaborative

April 26, 2017
by CDR Nathan Mork, DDS, MPH, Co-Chair IHS Early Childhood Caries Collaborative

Tooth decay is a significant problem for American Indian and Alaska Native preschool children. Half of all American Indian and Alaska Native preschool children have experienced tooth decay.

... Continue reading


April is STD Awareness Month

Andria Apostolou, PhD, MPH, IHS National STD Program, Division of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention, IHS

April 25, 2017
by Andria Apostolou, PhD, MPH, IHS National STD Program, Division of Epidemiology and Disease Prevention, IHS

April is recognized as Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Awareness Month and brings attention to the nearly 20 million new STDs that occur in the United States each year. While STDs affect all racial and ethnic groups, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations are affected at a higher rate.

In ... Continue reading


April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Beverly Cotton, Division of Behavioral Health Director

April 24, 2017
by Beverly Cotton, Division of Behavioral Health Director

As we observe National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Indian Health Service has an important role in improving the lives of Native youth.

When I reflect on my Tribe's past, and similar stories across many tribal nations, I know that my ancestors raised their children through strengths-based ... Continue reading


Earth Day: Healthy Planet, Healthy Populations

Gary J. Hartz, P.E., Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, Chief Sustainability Officer, Indian Health Service

April 21, 2017
by Gary J. Hartz, P.E., Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, Chief Sustainability Officer, Indian Health Service

Last year on Earth Day I encouraged everyone to make every day Earth Day. What did we do at IHS during the past year to accomplish that?

We have increased employee participation of telework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from 26,832 telework days to 29,198 telework days annually. The construction ... Continue reading


IHS Strives to Address Alcohol Misuse

Walter Castle, Sr. Public Health Advisor, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Lead, Indian Health Service

April 5, 2017
by Walter Castle, Sr. Public Health Advisor, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Lead, Indian Health Service

Alcohol use can have long term and sometimes devastating effects on individuals, families and communities. Unfortunately, Indian Country is not always immune to these effects. Alcohol Awareness Month provides an opportunity to strengthen awareness, reduce stigma, and encourage communities to promote ... Continue reading


Family Spirit Program is Aimed at Assisting New Parents

Georgianna Old Elk, Acting Program Coordinator for CHRs

April 4, 2017
by Georgianna Old Elk, Acting Program Coordinator for CHRs

The Family Spirit Program Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  is an evidence-based, culturally tailored home-visit intervention delivered by Community Health Representatives (CHRs) as a core strategy to support young Native families who have infants and children ages 0 to 3 years old. Parents gain ... Continue reading


Tribal Management Grants Available for Tribes and Tribal Organizations

CAPT Chris Buchanan, Director, Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes, Indian Health Service

April 29, 2016
by CAPT Chris Buchanan, Director, Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes, Indian Health Service

The Indian Health Service is now accepting applications 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).

The ... Continue reading


Lawton Service Unit celebrates 100 years of caring

Capt. Greg Ketcher, Chief Executive Officer, Lawton Indian Hospital

April 29, 2016
by Capt. Greg Ketcher, Chief Executive Officer, Lawton Indian Hospital

The Lawton Indian Hospital is celebrating 100 years of caring for patients in the Lawton-Ft. Sill area, 85 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. Today, the hospital provides care to more than 23,000 patients.

In the early 1900s, Kiowa tribal leaders lobbied for a hospital. In 1914, Congress approved ... Continue reading


IHS/Tribal team recognized for emergency water connection in Tucson Area

Gary J. Hartz, P.E., Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, Indian Health Service

April 26, 2016
by Gary J. Hartz, P.E., Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, Indian Health Service

A team of IHS engineers, technicians and environmental health staff and personnel from the Tohono O'odham Utility Authority have been recognized by the National Indian Health Board, the Tohono O'odham Nation Legislative Council and the IHS Tucson Area for their work to complete an emergency water project ... Continue reading


Let's make every day Earth Day

Gary J. Hartz, P.E., Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, Indian Health Service

April 22, 2016
by Gary J. Hartz, P.E., Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, Indian Health Service

The IHS mission is to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health status of the American Indian and Alaska Native people to the highest possible level. That includes doing our part to preserve the environment.

Today, you can’t walk down the street without some indication that ... Continue reading


National Infant Immunization Week

Dr. Stephen Holve, Indian Health Service, Chief Clinical Consultant for Pediatrics

April 22, 2016
by Dr. Stephen Holve, Indian Health Service, Chief Clinical Consultant for Pediatrics

During National Infant Immunization Week, April 16-23, IHS encourages every parent to double check their child’s immunization record to see if their child is up to date on recommended vaccines, and to discuss with neighbors, friends, and family the importance of vaccinating their children. Call your ... Continue reading


Special Diabetes Program for Indians Releases Interim Report to Congress

Dr. Ann Bullock, Director of the Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention, Indian Health Service

April 21, 2016
by Dr. Ann Bullock, Director of the Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention, Indian Health Service

The Indian Health Service has just released the Special Diabetes Program for Indians 2014 Report to Congress, Changing the Course of Diabetes: Turning Hope into Reality publication. This document provides a concise update on the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) and is available online ... Continue reading


Tribal Consultation on Updated Contract Support Cost Policy

Mary Smith, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

April 14, 2016
by Mary Smith, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

One of my priorities is to implement the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) in a manner consistent with the principles of self-determination and self-governance. To improve our work on this priority, IHS has focused its attention on updating its Contract Support Costs policy, ... Continue reading


Meetings with Tribal Leaders in the Great Plains Area Focus on Quality of Care

Mary Smith, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

April 13, 2016
by Mary Smith, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

I have only served as Principal Deputy Director for a little over a month, but, in that time, it has become clear to me that, while the IHS is firmly committed to the mission of providing quality health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives, we face steep operational and quality of care challenges.

The ... Continue reading


Service Delivery Area Expansion Proposed for Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) in Massachusetts

Terri Schmidt, Acting Director, Office of Resource Access and Partnerships

April 7, 2016
by Terri Schmidt, Acting Director, Office of Resource Access and Partnerships

The Indian Health Service proposes in a recent Federal Register Notice Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  to expand the geographic boundaries of the Service Delivery Area for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah). Since 1987, when the Bureau of Indian Affairs recognized the Tribe, the Service ... Continue reading


Hospital Consortium changes name, revises charter to focus on quality of care

Dr. Susan Karol, Chief Medical Officer, Indian Health Service

April 4, 2016
by Dr. Susan Karol, Chief Medical Officer, Indian Health Service

At the Indian Health Service, improving the quality of care and governance of our federal hospitals is critical for our patients. Quality care reduces disparities and promises a future that assures excellence for our patients across the IHS delivery system.

The Indian Health Service Hospital Consortium ... Continue reading