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November 29, 2023: IHS Updates for Tribes and Tribal and Urban Indian Organizations

This bi-weekly update provides up to date information on recent events, meetings, conferences, upcoming deadlines, and recognition of the work being done across the Indian Health Service, other federal agencies, and Indian Country. For more information or questions, email

Over the holiday season, Director Roselyn Tso extended her heartfelt gratitude to every member of the Indian Health Service’s team for their unwavering commitment to serving our patients and strengthening tribal and urban communities across Indian Country. As our friends and family came together to celebrate, Director Tso noted that every IHS member’s efforts in the past year have been profound and make a difference every day.

This month, we also recognized and celebrated National Native American Heritage Month, and on Native American Heritage Day on November 24, we took a moment to recognize the rich traditions, languages, and stories of Native people. While these celebrations are confined to November, at the Indian Health Service, we celebrate and honor Native people and their health every day.

Thank You Banner

5th Annual Tribal Veterans Symposium

Director Roselyn Tso was honored to address the 5th Annual Tribal Veterans Symposium, where we united in the pursuit of health equity for Native American and Alaska Native veterans across all 22 tribes within Arizona. At the IHS, we hold the health status of American Indian and Alaska Native veterans as one of our highest priorities. Their historic service deserves not only gratitude but also comprehensive medical care. For nearly two decades, the IHS and the VA have forged a strong partnership aimed at improving the health status of Native veterans. Our Memorandum of Understanding, a cornerstone of this collaboration, focuses on various critical issues including helping Native veterans access quality, safe, and culturally-competent health care closer to their homes, improving access to prescription services, transportation, housing services, workforce training, and fostering greater collaboration and resource-sharing between our agencies. Together, we march towards a healthier, more equitable future for our veterans.

Director-Roselyn-Tso 5th Annual Tribal Symposium Speech

National Congress of American Indians

Director Tso joined the National Congress of American Indian’s 80th Annual Convention & Marketplace in New Orleans to provide an update on the great work being done across the Indian Health Service. Thank you to NCAI for hosting the event and for continuing to be an invaluable partner to the IHS, and to all the tribal and urban Indian organization leaders and representatives who participated in this year’s conference. Their insights, discussions, and feedback are very important to the IHS as we continue our mission to address the health and resource needs of our American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Special thanks to all of the Native youth in attendance. We are looking to them to help shape our future.

Director-Roselyn-Tso 80th Annual Convention & Marketplace in New Orleans 80th Annual Convention & Marketplace in New Orleans

2023 Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance All Federal Staff Meeting

Director Roselyn Tso had the pleasure of providing opening remarks at the 2023 Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance All Federal Staff Meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota. One of the agency’s top operational priorities included in the IHS 2023 Agency Work Plan is expanding ISDEAA training. More than 200 IHS employees from all 12 IHS areas and every organizational level of the agency participated in this meeting to strengthen program management and operations by learning ISDEAA policies, procedures, and best practices on topics related to Title I contracting and Title V compacting activities. To learn more about ISDEAA Title I contracting activities, visit the Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes website. To learn more about ISDEAA Title V compacting activities and IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program, visit the Office of Tribal Self-Governance to download the OTSG Brochure and the IHS TSGP Negotiations Handbook.

Director-Roselyn-Tso 2023 Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance All Federal Staff Meeting

Determination and Education Assistance All Federal Staff Meeting Comference-Attendees

Celebrating the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Director Tso was excited to join a celebration at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, marking two years of monumental progress under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. She is proud of the strides made in rebuilding America and Indian Country. Our commitment to health and well-being remains steadfast.

IHS Director Roselyn Tso at the BIL reception with Cmdr. David Setwyn, Mitch Landrieu, and Capt. Brian Johnson

IHS Director Roselyn Tso at the BIL reception with Cmdr. David Setwyn, Mitch Landrieu, and Capt. Brian Johnson.

Meeting with the Ak-Chin Indian Community

Director Roselyn Tso met with Chairman Robert Miguel of the Ak-Chin Indian Community in the Navajo Area to discuss issues important to the tribe. During the visit, she had the opportunity to tour their clinic that continues to advance the health of their community members.

Meeting with the Ak-Chin Indian Community

Meeting with the Ak-Chin Indian Community

Fiscal Year 2024 Continuing Resolution

An additional continuing resolution was enacted that extends funding for the Departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Energy, and Veterans Affairs until January 19, 2024, and other government entities, including defense, through February 2, 2024. For the IHS, this means the Special Diabetes Program for Indians receives a funding extension through January 19, 2024. The continuing resolution does not affect IHS advance appropriations that are already appropriated for a full fiscal year. The IHS budget lines not included in advance appropriations—including Electronic Health Record System, Indian Health Care Improvement Fund, Health Care Facilities Construction, Sanitation Facilities Construction, Contract Support Costs, and Payments for Tribal Leases—are now funded through February 2, 2024. Throughout this budget uncertainty, the IHS has been able to maintain continuity of operations due to advance appropriations for Fiscal Year 2024.

CHAP System of Records Notice Published in Federal Register

In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, HHS is establishing a new system of records maintained by the IHS Office of Clinical and Preventive Services, “Community Health Aide Program Records.” The purpose of the new system of records is to preserve and process records related to federal certification of health providers under the CHAP. The notice was posted in the Federal Register on October 31, and comments are due by November 30. Please share this information widely with your networks and colleagues.

Community Health Representative Summit VII

More than 225 community health representatives came together to attend the CHR Summit VII held November 7-9 at Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona. Providing support to the planning of this event was the Arizona Advisory Council on Indian Health Care, a recipient of the Community Health Workers for COVID Response and Resilient Communities grant supported by the CDC. The National CHR Strategic Plan was unveiled at the summit, presented by IHS National CHR Program Consultant Michelle Archuleta and panel participants Hopi Tribe Health Director Joyce Hamilton, White Mountain Apache Tribe CHR Program Manager JT Nashio, and Northern Arizona University Professor of Health Sciences Samantha Sabo, DrPH. A highlight of the summit included recognizing Cmdr. Loretta Haven as this year’s Tribal CHR Ally Award recipient for her advocacy on behalf of the Arizona CHR workforce.

Community Health Representative Summit VII

Division of Nursing Services PHN Site Visit to Support STI Grant Recipient

The IHS Division of Nursing Services – Public Health Nursing performed a site visit to the Sokaogon Chippewa Community Health Clinic to support the Public Health Nursing Case Management: Reducing Sexually Transmitted Infections grant. The purpose of this IHS cooperative agreement is to mitigate the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections within Indian Country through a case management model that utilizes the PHN as a case manager. The Bemidji Area nurse consultant also participated by providing technical assistance and assessing program progress.

Dr. Loretta Christensen Serves as Panelist on Culturally Centered Treatments

CMO Dr. Loretta Christensen Serves as Panelist on Culturally Centered Treatments

IHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Loretta Christensen recently participated in the Association for Multidisciplinary Medical Education and Research in Substance use and Addiction 2023 Conference as a panelist for the Native Health Plenary “Advocating for Culturally Centered Evidence-based Treatments with Native Americans.” She was joined by panelist Maria Christina Crouch, PhD, from Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychology. Another panelist was Center on Alcohol, Substance use, and Addiction Associate Professor Kamilla Venner, PhD. AMERSA is committed to health professional faculty development in substance abuse. Each year, the AMERSA National Conference brings together researchers and health professional educators to learn about scientific advances and exemplary teaching approaches.

Transgender Day of Remembrance November 20

On November 20, the world recognized Transgender Day of Remembrance – a somber occasion to commemorate the transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons who face adversity for living authentically and courageously. It’s also an occasion to honor the lives lost to anti-transgender violence and confront the painful reality of continuing hostility and threats to the safety of transgender individuals.

Transgender Day

IHS Indian Health Geriatric Nurse Fellowship Program

Calling all Indian health system nurses: Apply today for the new IHS Indian Health Geriatric Nurse Fellowship! Registered nurses, advanced practical registered nurses, and licensed practical nurses in any practice setting from IHS, tribal, and urban Indian health programs are eligible to apply. Up to $6,500 in financial support is available for 20 nurse fellows in 2024. Applications are due by December 1. Learn more here.

Geriatric Nurse Fellowship Program

Telebehavioral Health Center of Excellence

The Telebehavioral Health Center of Excellence Tele-Education Program is hosting the following training for health care providers:

  • “Behavioral Health Integration Webinar Series: Nuts and Bolts of Delivering Effective Cultural Programs in Integrated Care Clinics” on November 30 at 12 p.m. ET. Register here.

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