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IHS Executive Inducted into Women’s Hall of Fame
Dr. Kathleen Annette, Director of the Bemidji Area Indian Health Service (IHS), has been
selected as an inductee into the Northwest Minnesota Women’s Hall of Fame. The induction
ceremony will take place on March 4, 2006, at Bemidji State University (BSU). This event kicks
off National Women’s History Month.
The Hall of Fame is a collaborative project sponsored by the Northwest Minnesota
Women's Fund, a component of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation, and BSU. The Hall of
Fame provides permanent recognition for women of northwestern Minnesota who have made
significant contributions to art, athletics, business, government, philanthropy, humanities,
science, or education.
Dr. Annette has been the IHS Bemidji Area Director since 1990. Dr. Annette manages a
varied health care program. She works with 34 federally recognized Tribes and five Urban
Indian programs that provide health care to over 95,000 beneficiaries in a five-state region. She
is directly responsible for the federal oversight of these health programs and works in
collaboration with tribes, local, state, and federal entities on public health, prevention, and
intervention activities and initiatives. Within the greater Bemidji community she continues to be
a strong advocate for public health initiatives and addressing health disparities for all citizens.
“Dr. Annette continues to provide exemplary leadership that has made improvements to the
health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives,” stated Dr. Charles Grim, IHS Director.
“We are very proud of her achievements. This award acknowledges her professionalism,
enthusiasm, commitment, and her outstanding work on behalf of American Indian and Alaska
Dr. Annette is a member of the White Earth Band of Chippewa Indians. She grew up on
the Red Lake Indian Reservation and graduated from Red Lake High School. A graduate of the
University of Minnesota, Dr. Annette holds a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry and a doctor of medicine degree. She obtained her residency training at the Duluth Family Practice Center, receiving board certification in 1986 from the American Board of Family Medicine. She is the first female Ojibwe Indian physician in the state of Minnesota.
Dr. Annette is involved with the development and implementation of an annual Health
Care Providers conference that focuses on health issues impacting American Indians. She also
serves on a national strategic planning committee for the IHS, and is a frequent speaker on
Indian health topics at medical schools and other institutions. Dr. Annette is a member of the
IHS Director’s Executive Council (DEC), which is a decision-making body for the Agency on
broad issues of policy, programs, and public health advocacy. The DEC is composed of senior
leadership from Headquarters, Area Offices, and the four IHS National Professional Councils.
In 2005, she was bestowed honorary membership in the Red Lake Nation, an honor given
three times in the past. She is the first woman to be so recognized. In FY 2000, Dr. Annette was
selected as a recipient of the Presidential Rank Award. These prestigious awards are presented
annually to top federal managers for extended, exceptional performance in the Federal
government. Dr. Annette’s other honors, awards, and recognitions include the U.S. Public
Health Service Outstanding Service Award; the American Indian Service Awards; the IHS
Group Award for the National IHS Quality Management Health Professionals Workgroup on
Recruitment and Retention; the Mead Johnson Award from the American Academy of Family
Physicians; the Association of American Indian Physicians Recognition Award for Endeavors in
American Indian Education on AIDS; the Jake White Crow Award for outstanding lifetime
achievements dedicated to health care advocacy for American Indians and Alaska Natives; and
induction into the Academy of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota (she is
the first woman to be so honored).
She has impacted Indian health locally through her work as a physician and has engaged in
civic activities that develop American Indian leaders. She served for 12 years on the Blandin
Foundation Board of Trustees and is an inspirational role model, committed to mentoring and
encouraging Indian youth to complete their education and consider health careers. She currently
is serving on the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors in Bemidji as well as the Blue Cross
Blue Shield Foundation board. She is a member of the Association of American Indian
An original oil portrait of each honoree has been commissioned and will be unveiled at the
induction ceremony. Following the event, the portraits and a record of each woman's
contributions will be added to the Hall of Fame, which hangs on the fourth floor in the A.C.
Clark Library at BSU. A traveling display is available, on loan, to interested groups throughout