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March 2020 Blogs

#IAmIHS: LaWanda Jim, MD

LaWanda Jim, MD, internal medicine physician and chair of the internal medicine department at Northern Navajo Medical Center

March 31, 2020
by LaWanda Jim, MD, internal medicine physician and chair of the internal medicine department at Northern Navajo Medical Center

I belong to the Mescalero Apache clan; my fathers are the Leaf Clan, my maternal grandfathers belong to the Water Flows Together Clan, and my paternal grandfathers are the Salt Clan. My mother was from Black Rock Bear Springs. I was born in Farmington, New Mexico and grew up in Shiprock surrounded by the Navajo traditions and ceremonies. There’s a Navajo ritual for every life event. There’s even one for your baby’s first laugh.  My dad had a saying, “You need to know who you are and where you come from, so you know where you are going.” 

... Continue reading


Coronavirus: IHS committed to patient care and getting resources to front line

Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

March 27, 2020
by Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

Agency to begin distributing $134 million in new funds to respond to COVID-19

As the entire country, and the world, is coming together to fight the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Health Service is leveraging its close partnerships with tribes, tribal and urban Indian organizations, ... Continue reading


IHS Leadership Training Program

Trudy Jackson, management analyst with the Division of Regulatory and Policy Coordination in the Office of Management Support

March 11, 2020
by Trudy Jackson, management analyst with the Division of Regulatory and Policy Coordination in the Office of Management Support

The Indian Health Service is serious about leadership development and has invested in coaching its future leaders.  One way the organization is doing this is through the IHS Leadership Training Program. I recently had the opportunity to participate in the program hosted by the Phoenix Area office.

The ... Continue reading


IHS updates Congress on progress in improving services and strengthening systems based on GAO recommendations

Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

March 12, 2019
by Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

Rear Adm. Michael Weahkee, IHS principal deputy director, testifies before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., March 12, 2019.

Today I had the privilege of testifying before the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  to update them on our progress in implementing recommendations from the Government Accountability Office to improve our services and strengthen our systems.

... Continue reading


World Autism Awareness Day

Marcy Ronyak, Ph.D., LICSW, CDP, Deputy Director, Division of Behavioral Health

March 30, 2018
by Marcy Ronyak, Ph.D., LICSW, CDP, Deputy Director, Division of Behavioral Health

On April 2, 2018, in conjunction with the eleventh annual World Autism Awareness Day Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  the Indian Health Service is pleased to host the Autism Awareness Interagency Roundtable,a joint-agency event with partners across the agency and department. This is an exciting ... Continue reading


#IAmHHS: Nursing at the IHS Hospital Where She was Born

Candace Lee, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer, Ambulatory Care, Phoenix Indian Medical Center

March 27, 2018
by Candace Lee, Assistant Chief Nursing Officer, Ambulatory Care, Phoenix Indian Medical Center

Candace Lee says that her job is not just about taking care of a patient, it’s about taking care of their family, and the whole community. ... Continue reading


New Leaders Welcomed to Great Plains Area Positions

James Driving Hawk, Acting Great Plains Area Director

March 22, 2018
by James Driving Hawk, Acting Great Plains Area Director

The Indian Health Service Great Plains Area is pleased to announce several new leaders at the Area Office and service units. Congratulations to these outstanding professionals on their new positions. They possess a wealth of knowledge and experience, and they have all demonstrated dedication to public ... Continue reading


IHS Efforts to Decrease ESRD Incidence Focuses on Routine Diabetes Care

Andrew Narva, M.D.

March 20, 2018
by Andrew Narva, M.D.

March is National Kidney Month, a time to raise awareness about the prevention and early detection of kidney disease. Our kidneys are not very large, about the size of a fist, but they do a lot of work. They’re important because they prevent the buildup of wastes and other fluid in the body; ... Continue reading


IHS Efforts on Opioid Crisis Highlighted During Senate Committee Hearing

Rear Adm. Michael Toedt, M.D.

March 14, 2018
by Rear Adm. Michael Toedt, M.D.

Earlier today, I provided testimony during the Senate Indian Affairs Committee oversight hearing on "Opioids in Indian Country: Beyond the Crisis to Healing the Community" Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  . I appreciated the opportunity to provide the Committee information on the work that ... Continue reading


Celebrating Successes in Diabetes Prevention for Native Americans and Continuing the Work

RADM Chris Buchanan, Acting Director, Indian Health Service

March 29, 2017
by RADM Chris Buchanan, Acting Director, Indian Health Service

Today, I was honored to testify before the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs at the Oversight Hearing on Native Youth: Promoting Diabetes Prevention Through Healthy Living Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov .

Diabetes is an important topic for Indian Country, for our families ... Continue reading


Meet Phoenix Area Chef Adam Mullett

RADM Michael Weahkee, Chief Executive Officer, Phoenix Indian Medical Center

March 22, 2017
by RADM Michael Weahkee, Chief Executive Officer, Phoenix Indian Medical Center

One day, Adam Mullett (Navajo) sat in the cafeteria at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center waiting for his dad’s shift to end. Jeff Parrish, who is the food service director, asked Adam what he did for employment. Adam told him he was in high school and the manager at a fast food restaurant. ... Continue reading


IHS Environmental Health and Engineering Leaders Recognized

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

March 21, 2017
by Gary Hartz, P.E., Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, Indian Health Service

Did you know that environmental health is an important part of the IHS mission? IHS is tasked with identifying the need for sanitation facilities, prioritizing projects to match available appropriated funding, and constructing those facilities and other disease prevention infrastructure such as potable ... Continue reading


National Social Work Month

Miranda Carman, Public Health Advisor, Indian Health Service

March 14, 2017
by Miranda Carman, Public Health Advisor, Indian Health Service

Jessica Johnson, a clinical social worker at the IHS Western Oregon Service Unit, provides direct service counseling and prevention services to students at the Bureau of Indian Education, Chemawa Indian Boarding School, and coordinates trauma-informed care efforts within the service unit. Jessica ... Continue reading


National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Donald Haverkamp, MPH, CPH, Epidemiologist, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC

March 9, 2017
by Donald Haverkamp, MPH, CPH, Epidemiologist, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and the Indian Health Service (IHS) is raising the awareness of colorectal cancer (CRC), a leading cause of cancer deaths among American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) men and women. Over the past two decades there has been a decline in the CRC death rate ... Continue reading


IHS Announces Three Additional Native Youth Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Awards

Minette C. Wilson, Public Health Advisor, Indian Health Service

March 7, 2017
by Minette C. Wilson, Public Health Advisor, Indian Health Service

On February 15, the Indian Health Service awarded three additional projects [PDF] under the Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention Initiative in the Navajo and Phoenix IHS Areas.

In December 2017, IHS reissued the funding opportunity announcement for Navajo, Phoenix, and Tucson areas. ... Continue reading


Celebrate National Nutrition Month with IHS in March

Kelli Begay, MS, MBA, RDN, Nutrition Consultant, Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention, IHS

March 1, 2017
by Kelli Begay, MS, MBA, RDN, Nutrition Consultant, Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention, IHS

In recognition of March being National Nutrition Month, we acknowledge that food is more than fuel that nourishes our bodies. It brings people together. It connects us to our family and ancestors.

Our diets and the foods available to us have changed over time, which has contributed to an increase ... Continue reading


Needs Assessment of the Urban Indian Health Program and the Communities It Serves

Sherriann Moore, Acting Director, Office of Urban Indian Health Program, Indian Health Service

March 31, 2016
by Sherriann Moore, Acting Director, Office of Urban Indian Health Program, Indian Health Service

I am pleased to inform that the Needs Assessment of the Urban Indian Health Program and the Communities it Serves Report to Congress (RTC) has been finalized.

The needs assessment of the Urban Indian Health Program (UIHP) provides estimates of the current health status and health care needs ... Continue reading


IHS, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation sign agreement for new health facility

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

March 30, 2016
by Gary J. Hartz, P.E., Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, Indian Health Service

On March 29, the Indian Health Service and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  signed a Joint Venture Construction Program Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov  agreement, enabling the construction and renovation of nearly 265,000 square feet of an ambulatory ... Continue reading


IHS Federal Staff Meets on Title I and Title V Activities

RADM Sandra Pattea, Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Affairs, Indian Health Service

March 29, 2016
by RADM Sandra Pattea, Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Affairs, Indian Health Service

Nearly 150 Indian Health Service (IHS) staff working in different areas of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) Title I and Title V activities, and the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) Title V Urban Indian health activities, gathered last week in Phoenix, Arizona ... Continue reading


March 20 is National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Lisa Neel, IHS National HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator

March 18, 2016
by Lisa Neel, IHS National HIV/AIDS Program Coordinator

National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a nationwide effort designed to promote HIV testing and awareness in Native communities. March 20, 2016 marks the 10th annual National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This year's theme is "Hear Indigenous Voices: Uniting Bold Voices of American Indians, ... Continue reading


Bemidji Area hosts alcohol and drug abuse prevention conference

Chris Poole, Bemidji Area Behavioral Health Consultant

March 16, 2016
by Chris Poole, Bemidji Area Behavioral Health Consultant

The Bemidji Area Indian Health Service partnered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the Lac Du Flambeau Family Resources Department in presenting a three-day alcohol and drug abuse prevention conference last week.

The ... Continue reading


Office of Environmental Health & Engineering staff support Tribal communities and health facilities in response to drought

Beverly Miller, Director, California Area Indian Health Service

March 10, 2016
by Beverly Miller, Director, California Area Indian Health Service

The California Area Indian Health Service works to improve the health of California Indians, in part by providing quality environmental health, health facility and engineering services throughout California. IHS employs experts in sanitation, water supply, wastewater and solid waste disposal, health ... Continue reading


Proposed budget for 2017 for Indian Health Service expands quality care, behavioral health

Mary Smith, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

March 9, 2016
by Mary Smith, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

Today I provided testimony on the IHS budget to the United States Senate Committees on Indian Affairs and on Appropriations: Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee.

I have only been in my job as Principal Deputy Director for a little over a week. Although I have been at the agency ... Continue reading


Chapa-De focuses on patient-centered, compassionate care

Beverly Miller, California Area Director, Indian Health

March 8, 2016
by Beverly Miller, California Area Director, Indian Health

Recently a dental patient shared with me a pleasant story about the services he received at the Chapa-De Indian Health in Auburn, California, a non-profit community health center supported by the United Auburn Indian Community. Chapa-De also contracts with the Indian Health Service to provide no-cost ... Continue reading


Colorado River Service Unit Hosts Arizona's First Local Multi-Jurisdictional Emergency Preparedness Drill

Ms. Elizabeth (Betsy) Helsel, Chief Executive Officer, Colorado River Service Unit

March 7, 2016
by Ms. Elizabeth (Betsy) Helsel, Chief Executive Officer, Colorado River Service Unit

The Colorado River Service Unit hosted Arizona's first local level, multi-jurisdictional emergency preparedness drill in December. Nearly 20 federal, tribal, local and non-governmental agencies collectively worked to renew partnerships in reforming their community's emergency preparedness program. ... Continue reading


LCDR Van Lew: APhA Immunization Champion Award National Winner

CAPT Michael Weahkee, Chief Executive Officer, Phoenix Indian Medical Center

March 4, 2016
by CAPT Michael Weahkee, Chief Executive Officer, Phoenix Indian Medical Center

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) has selected LCDR Holly Van Lew as the Immunization Champion Award National Winner. She was presented the award during the National APhA2016 Conference on March 6, 2016. LCDR Van Lew is a clinical pharmacist at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center and the Director ... Continue reading


IHS and Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs

CDR Mark Rives, D.Sc., Chief Information Officer

March 4, 2016
by CDR Mark Rives, D.Sc., Chief Information Officer

I have been receiving some questions from Tribal health facilities and Urban Indian Health Programs about the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving www.ihs.gov . These clarifications might be helpful to administrators and health care providers ... Continue reading


Engineer of the Year recognized

Rear Adm. Randall Gardner, P.E., Office of Environmental Health and Engineering

March 2, 2016
by Rear Adm. Randall Gardner, P.E., Office of Environmental Health and Engineering

Last week I proudly presented the Indian Health Service Engineer of the Year award to Cmdr. Alexander Dailey, P.E., assistant director of the Indian Health Service’s Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction program, during the United States Public Health Service Engineer Category Awards ... Continue reading