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September 6, 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

National Tribal Opioid Summit

On August 22-24, IHS Director Roselyn Tso participated in the National Tribal Opioid Summit, held in Tulalip, Washington. Hosted by the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, the event brought together tribal representatives, federal, regional, and state-decision makers, and other stakeholders to comprehensively address opioid use in Indian Country. A Community Opioid Intervention Pilot Project meeting was also held for grantees on August 22. During this meeting, grantees shared insight from their local projects addressing the opioid crisis within their communities. Grantees also had the opportunity to learn about evaluation best practices from a Native perspective, the Opioid Resource Network, and exciting work among their peers. Discussions were also held on challenges around harm reduction, with a focus on increasing access to naloxone. The IHS acknowledges the profound toll the opioid crisis has taken on our tribal communities. Together, we are not only confronting a medical challenge, but also standing against a threat to the very fabric of our communities. As we grapple with the far-reaching impact of this crisis, let us recognize the urgency of collaboration, determination, and unwavering commitment to combat it head-on.

Director Tso speaking at the National Opioid Summit

Director Tso speaking at the National Opioid Summit

Leo Pocha Memorial Clinic Grand Opening

On August 25, Director Tso attended the grand opening ceremony of the Leo Pocha Memorial Clinic, a remarkable addition to the Helena Indian Alliance facility in Montana. The newly unveiled 3,957 square-foot expansion is as a symbol of optimism, hope, and healing, offering comprehensive medical care, preventive services, and more to individuals of all ages in the community. Ms Tso’s recent visit to Helena in June left an indelible impression on her, particularly the degree of commitment and backing that went into planning this new facility. The synergy showcased within Montana's urban facilities, coupled with the unwavering commitment to ensuring top-tier health care for the urban Indian populations in and around Helena, continues to inspire us. As we move forward, the IHS eagerly anticipates fostering partnerships with tribes and urban Indian organizations, steadfast in our pursuit of a healthier existence for all our American Indian and Alaska Native patients.

Ms. Tso speaking at the grand opening ceremony of the Leo Pocha Memorial Clinic

Ms. Tso speaking at the grand opening ceremony of the Leo Pocha Memorial Clinic

Director Tso Visits with Tribal Leaders in Bemidji Area

Last week, the director visited the Bemidji Area and met with several tribal councils. They spoke about their shared commitment to ensure that all facilities are actively meeting the needs of the tribal communities they serve. Ms. Tso also met with leadership and toured several health care facilities across northern Wisconsin to see the great work being done, including the Sokaogon Chippewa Community, Mole Lake Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s Community Health Center, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa’s Peter Christensen Health Center and Peter Christensen Dental Campus, and Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians’ Health & Wellness Center. While in Wisconsin, she also visited the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, Inc., an urban Indian organization in Milwaukee. Throughout her trip, the director took great notice of each health center team’s unwavering commitment to providing exceptional services to our patients and the community we serve — thank you for all you do.

Director Tso Visits with Tribal Leaders in Bemidji Area

IHS 2023 Partnership Conference

The 2023 IHS Partnership Conference was held August 22-24 in Atlanta. Sponsored by the Office of Information Technology and the Office of Resource Access and Partnerships, the conference began as a training opportunity held primarily for business office and health information management staff. It evolved into a training, best practices, and sharing event for business office, information technology, health IT, Purchased/Referred Care program staff, and more. The week began with an opening plenary on Tuesday morning with program highlights from OIT Director Mitchell Thornbrugh and ORAP Director Capt. John Rael, and a keynote address from April Tinhorn. Nearly 170 concurrent sessions covering nearly 130 different topics began on Tuesday and continued through Thursday. Thank you to the Partnership Conference planning committee for developing a well-rounded agenda, and to the approximately 1,500 registrants who made this year’s conference a success!

IHS 2023 Partnership Conference
IHS 2023 Partnership Conference

IHS Health Modernization Summit

The 2023 Health IT Modernization Summit was conducted as part of the IHS 2023 Partnership Summit. The one-day, in-person event provided tribal and urban Indian organization leaders with a forum for face-to-face discussions with IHS leadership on Health IT Modernization. The caucus generated robust dialogue, important questions, and concerns that provided constructive and meaningful discussion during the session. The IHS looks forward to continued engagement and feedback with our tribal and urban Indian partners as the Health IT Modernization Program continues.

IHS Health Modernization Summit

IHS Awards Cooperative Agreement to Support National Indian Health Outreach and Education

The IHS has awarded the National Indian Health Outreach and Education cooperative agreement to the National Indian Health Board. This cooperative agreement is intended to foster outreach and education addressing health policy and health program issues, broadcast educational information to all American Indian and Alaska Native people, and provide policy and legislative updates, advocacy, and technical assistance. The period of performance is for three years and an initial $605,000 has been awarded for Fiscal Year 2023, with additional funds pending confirmation of all tribal shares assumptions for the fiscal year.

Public Health Advisory Concerning Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriacea

The IHS is sharing an advisory concerning Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a family of bacteria including Klebsiella species and Escherichia coli. The CRE are difficult to treat because they are highly resistant to antibiotics. There are reported cases in the Navajo Area and cases confirmed in Arizona. Because the CRE is resistant to antibiotics, there is a high mortality rate. CRE is an urgent public health threat.

Known infections represent only a fraction of the threat of CRE. The patients are often colonized with CRE without any signs or symptoms and will go undetected. Therefore, it is critical that we all practice hand hygiene at all times, whether in the healthcare setting or at home. Please wash your hands and wipe down surfaces. Please ensure internal surveillance at all healthcare facilities, appropriate risk assessments, and monitoring of hand washing and cleaning of all surfaces.

Reminder – IHS Listening Session on Advance Appropriations Implementation – September 6

Congress enacted the first ever advance appropriations for the IHS in Fiscal Year 2023, providing $5.1 billion in FY 2024 resources that will become available on October 1, 2023. The IHS is hosting a second listening session on September 6 from 3:00-4:30 pm ET to share information and solicit input from tribal and urban Indian organization leaders on advance appropriations implementation. More information is available in the Dear Tribal and Urban Indian Organization Leader Letter posted on the IHS website.

Division of Behavioral Health Visit to Seattle Indian Health Board

Last week, the IHS Division of Behavioral Health met with the Seattle Indian Health Board, an urban Indian organization in Seattle. The SIHB team provided information on their Cultural Framework and how it applies to their health and social systems serving American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Seattle area. They also provided insight about their Traditional Indian Medicine program and Supervisor/Manager Training program. As IHS leans forward in transforming the agency into a trauma informed care organization, programs like SIHB exemplify valuable experience and resources serving American Indians and Alaska Natives through their Cultural Framework.

Division of Behavioral Health Visit to Seattle Indian Health Board

DDTP Welcomes New National Nutrition Consultant

The Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention recently welcomed Stacy Hammer as the new national nutrition consultant. She will provide leadership and consultation for nutrition-related DDTP programs and initiatives. Hammer is Bdewakantunwan (Spirit Lake Dwellers) Dakota and comes from Cansayapi (Where They Paint the Trees Red), otherwise known as Lower Sioux. She is currently enrolled as a graduate student in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health, studying executive public health administration and policy. Hammer previously worked as the registered dietitian and director of community health with the Lower Sioux Indian Community. In these roles, she developed and implemented several new public health programs and initiatives for the prevention and maintenance of chronic health conditions. Throughout her career, Hammer’s passion for nutrition and improving health outcomes for American Indians has been at the heart of all her work. Outside of work, she enjoys reading and traveling with her family.

Stacy Hammer as the new national nutrition consultant

IHS Tribal Consultation on the updated DRAFT IHS Tribal Consultation Policy

Last week, the IHS held a second virtual tribal consultation session on the updated draft IHS Tribal Consultation Policy. On July 26, the IHS initiated a 45-day open comment period on the updated draft of policy. On August 11, the IHS issued another letter providing a summary document of key items related to the updated draft policy. Comments on the updated draft, available in clean and redline versions, are due on Monday, September 11, to

Telebehavioral Health Center of Excellence Webinar Series

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

  • “Behavioral Health Integration Webinar Series: One Size Does Not Fit All: The Differences in Integrated Care Implementation” on September 14 at 12:00 pm ET | Register here.

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention Webinar Series

The IHS Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention: Advancements in Diabetes Webinar Series is hosting the following webinar for healthcare providers:

  • “Health Coaching: Practitioner Perspectives in Improving Health Outcomes” on September 6 at 3:00 pm ET | Click here to attend.

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