Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Karen DeSalvo, MD, recently met with clinical and nursing leaders at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. Her two-day trip included listening sessions with U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers and the Native Youth Council of the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.
This was Dr. DeSalvo’s first visit to an IHS service unit and an American Indian reservation, making this event truly historic for all.
She was accompanied by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health Chief Medical Officer Karen Scott, MD, and Chief of Staff Andrea Harris. Together, they engaged with hospital leadership in interactive discussions about how critical elements of quality are integrated into key service lines. The Phoenix Indian Medical Center has developed clinical pathways based on enhanced protocols and created inter-disciplinary teams that are completely focused on improving outcomes for patients. Two examples include the Peri-Operative Surgical Home and Improving Patient Care through Relationships .
In times of national and international disasters, Commissioned Corps officers at IHS are often called upon for deployments. They are among the most clinically proficient, and are readily able to meet direct care needs of affected populations. This listening session gave Dr. DeSalvo a chance to personally thank officers for their service and created an opportunity for her to hear about the unique challenges they face.
Featured on the tour were the Women and Infant Service Line and the Centers of Excellence for HIV, diabetes, and oncology. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health team learned how PIMC provides care, taking into account the effects limited access to preventive services and higher rates of poverty have on our patients and their families.
In 2014, the White House launched an initiative called Generation Indigenous , designed to remove the barriers that stand between Native youth and opportunity. In support of Gen-I, Dr. DeSalvo held a listening session with Native youth who shared their perspectives of how health and healthy behaviors are integrated with their traditional, cultural life ways.
The Phoenix Indian Medical Center is grateful for this opportunity to directly connect with the acting assistant secretary for health and share the great news of all we are doing at the Indian Health Service.
Capt. Marie Russell, M.D., MPH, has been an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps since 1994. She earned her medical degree at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.