March 3, 2023: IHS Updates for Tribes and Tribal and Urban Indian Organizations
This bi-weekly update provides up to date information on Indian Health Service and other federally-hosted meetings, conferences, deadlines and recognition from across the Indian health system. For more information or questions, email IHSPublicAffairsStaff@ihs.gov.
IHS Announces New Deputy Director for Intergovernmental Affairs
On Feb. 27, the IHS announced the appointment of Stacey Ecoffey, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, as the new deputy director for intergovernmental affairs at IHS headquarters. In this position, she is responsible for providing leadership on tribal and urban Indian health activities through oversight of the Office of Tribal Self-Governance, Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes, and Office of Urban Indian Health Programs. Prior to joining the IHS, Ecoffey served as the principal advisor for Tribal Affairs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for more than 15 years, overseeing all departmental tribal consultations, the development, leadership, and management of the Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee, and communication with tribal leaders and tribal governments. The IHS looks forward to the wealth of knowledge and experience she brings to the agency. To learn more, read the full IHS press release.
The IHS would also like to thank Dr. Rose Weahkee, who has served as the acting deputy director for intergovernmental affairs since May 2022. Dr. Weahkee will return to her permanent position as director of the Office of Urban Indian Health Programs.
Oyate Health Center Grand Opening and Great Plains Area Site Visits
On Feb. 25, IHS Director Roselyn Tso attended the grand opening of the Oyate Health Center in Rapid City, South Dakota. This new 204,000 square foot health care facility will offer primary care, dental, behavioral health, optometry, physical therapy, and more for tribes in the Great Plains Area IHS. Increasing access to quality health care services is critical to improving the health of Native people and reducing risk factors that contribute to the leading causes of death.
Oyate Health Center grand opening
Ms. Tso and senior leadership also visited other sites throughout the Great Plains Area as a part of the IHS leadership tour for 2023. Visits included the Ponca Tribal Clinic and Nebraska Urban Indian Health in Omaha, Nebraska; the Omaha Tribal Office in Macy, Nebraska; the Winnebago Tribal Hospital in Winnebago, Nebraska; the Flandreau Tribal Facility in Flandreau, South Dakota; the Great Plains Youth Regional Treatment Center in Mobridge, South Dakota; the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Office and IHS Standing Rock Hospital in Fort Yates, North Dakota; and the Cheyenne River Hospital in Eagle Butte, South Dakota. IHS leadership are honored to travel across Indian Country and meet with tribal leaders, tribal governments and urban Indian health partners to gain a better understanding of national and regional issues affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives and the communities we serve.
Visit with the Ponca Tribe and staff of the Fred Leroy Health Center on the day they announced their new mobile clinic in Omaha, NE
Visit with the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska in Macy, NE
Visit with the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe at the Cheyenne River Health Center in Eagle Butte, SD, which was followed by a tour of the health center
Visit with the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe in Agency Village, SD
Visit with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in Fort Yates, ND, which was followed by a tour of the Standing Rock Service Unit Fort Yates Hospital
Director Roselyn Tso Speaks at National Congress of American Indians Executive Council Winter Session
On Feb. 23, IHS Director Roselyn Tso was invited to provide remarks at the National Congress of American Indians 2023 Executive Council Winter Session held in Washington, D.C. Recognizing NCAI as a key partner in the IHS mission, Ms. Tso expressed the strong commitment the IHS has to patients and tribal and urban partners across the Indian health system. During her remarks. Ms. Tso provided an overview of the welcomed increase in the IHS budget for fiscal year 2023 and the positive impact of first-ever advance appropriations for the agency. She also spoke on the ongoing IHS leadership tour to gain an increased understanding of the needs and challenges across Indian Country and shared information on the development of the 2023 IHS Work Plan that, among other things, is designed to ensure the delivery of quality, patient-centered care to the communities we serve.
IHS Director Roselyn Tso speaking at the National Congress of American Indians 2023 Executive Council Winter Session on Feb. 23
Small Ambulatory Program Funding Announced
On Feb. 22, IHS announced $24 million in funding to 12 tribes and tribal organizations as part of a competitive Small Ambulatory Program to invest in the construction, expansion or modernization of small ambulatory health care facilities. The Small Ambulatory Program supports our tribal partners by expanding access to culturally appropriate, quality health care in an environment that promotes patient safety. Small ambulatory health care facilities are a critical part of the Indian health system because they meet the diverse health care needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Since the program began in 2001, more than 61 projects have been funded, totaling more than $123 million. Visit the IHS Newsroom to see the list of funding recipients.
$2 Million Available to Support Preventing Alcohol-Related Deaths through Detoxification
The IHS recently announced the availability of $2 million in funding to support the Preventing Alcohol-Related Deaths program. This program aims to reduce alcohol-related mortality among American Indians and Alaska Natives by providing support and increasing access to programs and community-based strategies that provide detoxification services in or near tribal and urban Indian communities. Eligible applicants include public or private institutions operated by a state, local, tribal, or private entity that operate direct, on-site alcohol and/or substance use disorder treatment services, including social alcohol detoxification services, to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Approximately one award will be issued under this program announcement for a performance period of five years, and applications are due by March 31, 2023. For more information, read the latest HS blog post.
Health IT Modernization Program Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer Series
Open communication is critical to delivering consistent, high-quality health care across Indian Country. To that end, IHS announced a four-part tribal consultation and urban confer series on the Health Information Technology Modernization Program. Together, we will talk about how to prepare for change, resources for modernization, modernization leaders engaging in governance and our path forward. More information is available in the letter to tribal leaders and urban Indian organization leaders, which includes topics, dates, and registration links. The first session will be on March 8, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. ET. Participants can register here .
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Tribal Budget Consultation
Please see this Dear Tribal Leader Letter inviting tribal leaders to participate in the 25th U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Annual Tribal Budget Consultation on April 18-19, 2023, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, D.C. Leading up to the consultation, HHS will host biweekly planning calls, with the next one taking place on March 15 at 3:00 p.m. ET. To register to attend, click here . For questions, please contact email@example.com.
- Planning Calls:
- Wednesday, March 15 at 3:00 p.m. ET
- Wednesday, March 29 at 3:00 p.m. ET
U.S. Department of Labor Announces Approximately $25 Million in HVRP Grants
On Feb. 28, The U.S. Department of Labor published a notice of funding, now available for review on grants.gov , to conduct programs to provide job training, counseling, placement, and related services to expedite the reintegration of homeless and incarcerated veterans into the labor force. This announces the availability of approximately $25 million in grant funds, with a maximum award limit for an individual award set at $500,000. Stable employment for veterans is a key component in the fight to end veteran homelessness. Eligible applicants include federally-recognized tribal governments, tribal organizations, public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities, and more. The closing date for applications is March 30, 2023.
HRSA IEA National Tribal Learning Session
Please join HRSA's Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs on a national webinar designed to enhance tribal stakeholder knowledge of HRSA priorities, programs, technical assistance resources and funding opportunities in Indian Country. This webinar will examine historical trauma and its impacts on the American Indian and Alaska Native workforce and discuss programs and strategies to alleviate workforce shortages and grow the American Indian and Alaska Native workforce population. The event, “HRSA IEA National Tribal Learning Session: Understanding Historical Trauma and its Impacts on the American Indian/ Alaska Native Workforce,” is scheduled to take place on April 5 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET. Click here to register for the learning session .
Telebehavioral Health Center of Excellence Self-Paced Trainings
The IHS Telebehavioral Health Center of Excellence Tele-Education Program is hosting the following trainings for health care providers to attend over the next two weeks:
- Behavioral Health Integration Webinar Series: Telehealth for Integrated Care
March 9, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. ET | Register now
- Trauma & Stress Disorders Webinar Series: PTSD & Substance Use Disorders
March 14, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. ET | Register now
Advancements in Diabetes Webinars
The IHS Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention: Advancements in Diabetes Webinar Series is hosting the following webinar for health care providers next week:
- Simple to Advanced Approaches to Carbohydrate Counting
March 8, 2023, at 3:00 p.m. ET | Click here to attend!
NACCHO Releases Infographic to Accompany Publication
The National Association of County and City Health Officials is pleased to announce the release of an infographic to accompany the publication entitled, “Addressing the Intersection of Suicide, Overdose, and Adverse Childhood Experiences: What Is the Capacity of Local Health Departments?” Developed with funding from the CDC, this infographic provides key findings from the national fielding report. The Suicide, Overdose, and Adverse Childhood Experiences Prevention Capacity Assessment Tool, or SPACECAT, was developed through a collaboration between NACCHO and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to survey local, state, and territorial health departments about their capacities to address suicide, overdose, and adverse childhood experiences prevention. The report provides NACCHO’s analysis of the SPACECAT data from local health departments, describing their capacities in the three areas of prevention, and provides recommendations for health departments to address suicide, overdose, and ACEs with sustainable, evidence-based prevention approaches. For questions about the report or infographic, please contact the NACCHO Overdose, Injury & Violence Prevention Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Tribal Management Grants . More information is available on grants.gov under opportunity number HHS-2023-IHS-TMD-0001 . Applications due March 6.
- Preventing Alcohol-Related Deaths through Social Detoxification . More information is available on grants.gov under opportunity number HHS-2023-IHS-PARD-0001 . Applications due March 31.
Save the Date
March 6-9: National Indian Health Board 1st Quarter Board of Directors Meeting and Annual Meeting
March 8: Health IT Modernization Program Tribal Consultation and Urban Confer Series
March 8-9: IHS Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee Meeting
March 14-15: Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee Meeting
March 16: Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee Monthly Meeting
March 21-22: HHS Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee Meeting
March 23: Community Health Aide Program Tribal Advisory Group Meeting
March 28-30: 2023 National Combined Councils Virtual Meeting
March 29-30: IHS Facilities Appropriations Advisory Board Meeting
IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program
On Feb. 24, the Northern Arapaho Tribe, located in the Billings Area IHS, entered into a self-governance compact and funding agreement as authorized by Title V of the ISDEAA. In making this transition, the tribe joins more than 380 federally recognized tribes participating in the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program, which provides tribes or authorized tribal organizations the option to assume IHS program funds and manage them to best fit the needs of their beneficiaries. For more information on the program, the Office of Tribal Self-Governance has recently updated a brochure and negotiations handbook on their resources webpage.
IHS Environmental Health Specialist of 2022 Award Recipient
Congratulations to Lt. Joseph Sarisky, environmental health officer at the Bemidji Area IHS Minnesota District Office, for his selection as IHS Environmental Health Specialist of 2022. Since 1993, the Division of Environmental Health Services has presented this award to the environmental health specialist who represents the division with distinction and positively impacts the health outcomes of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Lt. Sarisky exemplified leadership, innovative practice, dedication, professionalism and commitment to the IHS mission. He partnered with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center to test head start centers and schools for lead in drinking water, and compiled data, including healthy homes survey results, activities and remediation strategies that resulted in no further indoor air or moisture complaints. Lt. Sarisky also developed a low-cost solution for mobile food vendors who lacked handwashing stations to adopt his intervention, which increased handwashing station compliance from 75 to 98 percent. He developed strong relationships with tribal partners that allowed him to substantially elevate the environmental health services to the communities he serves.
Lt. Joseph Sarisky, environmental health officer at the Bemidji Area IHS Minnesota District Office, and IHS Environmental Health Specialist of 2022.
Gary J. Gefroh Safety and Health Award of 2022
Congratulations to Cmdr. David Bales, area institutional environmental health officer and area injury prevention specialist at the Oklahoma City Area Office, for receiving the Gary J. Gefroh Safety and Health Award of 2022. This award recognizes significant contributions by an individual or group resulting in improved health care safety and/or infection control conditions at an IHS or tribal health care program. Cmdr. Bales achieved significant contributions and impact within multiple roles, resulting in improved health care safety and infection control conditions throughout the Oklahoma City Area. He has led important initiatives and advancements with area-wide workplace violence prevention policies, emergency management radio communication systems, ventilation system electronic tools, dental sterilization checklists and trainings, the distribution of 2.7 million PPE items, Area mock surveys, and the Claremore Indian Hospital’s Locking Medication Bottle Project.
Cmdr. David Bales, area institutional environmental health officer and area injury prevention specialist at the Oklahoma City Area Office and Gary J. Gefroh Safety and Health Award of 2022 recipient
2022 Rick Smith Injury Prevention Award
Congratulations to Monte Yazzie, injury prevention coordinator for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, for receiving the 2022 IHS Rick Smith Injury Prevention Award. This award, from the IHS Division of Environmental Health Services Injury Prevention Program, is given to recognize the performance of special efforts and contributions in the field of injury prevention that have resulted in a significant impact and led to improved public health for American Indians and Alaska Natives. During 2022, Mr. Yazzie provided 350 car seats to children, facilitated the installation of 50 medication lock boxes for opioid use prevention, and institutionalized a “Yoga for Falls” fall prevention program impacting more than 120 tribal elders.
Monte Yazzie, injury prevention coordinator for the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and 2022 IHS Rick Smith Injury Prevention Award recipient.
American Hospital Association's Rural Health Care Leadership Conference
The American Hospital Association held its Rural Health Care Leadership Conference Feb. 19-22 in San Antonio, Texas. Philippe Champagne, physician senior advisor, and Ben Feliciano, nurse consultant – improvement advisor, presented on Lessons Learned: Quality Improvement and Innovation Strategy in the Indian Health Service. This highlighted the benefits of IHS’ centralized approach to quality improvement, which allows for the smallest and most remote parts of the rural health system to still meaningfully participate in mature quality improvement and innovation. Albuquerque Area Director Dr. Leonard Thomas also joined Cherokee Nation Deputy Director of External Operations Brian Hail and Northeastern Health System Chief Executive Officer Brian Woodliff for a presentation on Best Practices in Health Care Access and Quality for American Indians and Alaska Natives, highlighting federal, tribal, public and private partnerships that have improved access to health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Northeastern Health System Chief Executive Officer Brian Woodliff, Cherokee Nation Deputy Director of External Operations Brian Hail, and Albuquerque Area Director Dr. Leonard Thomas presenting on "Best Practices in Health Care Access and Quality for American Indians and Alaskan Natives."