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IHS Director recognizes traditional healing clinic with public health leadership award

The Traditional Healing Clinic of the Southcentral Foundation, an Alaska Native owned and managed health care system, is the recipient of an Indian Health Service (IHS) Director’s Special Recognition Award for Public Health Leadership. Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, director of the IHS, will present the award to Southcentral Foundation's vice president of executive and tribal services, Ileen Sylvester, at a June 29 ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“This award is for outstanding public health leadership in incorporating traditional healing practices into the total medical care regimen for the benefit of native patients, families, and communities,” said Dr. Roubideaux. “This fusion of native values, beliefs, and practices with modern medical practices is a prime example of the positive power of federal self-determination policies that allow Indian tribes to manage their own health care.”

The Traditional Healing Clinic provides traditional Alaska Native approaches to health in an outpatient setting in conjunction with other services offered at Southcentral Foundation. Tribal doctors assist people of all ages with practices such as culturally sensitive supportive counseling; traditional cleansing, songs, and prayer; and consultations with tribal elders. The clinic also includes an Alaska Native traditional healing garden, which is used as a teaching garden. The majority of the garden’s plants are native to Alaska and have been used for thousands of years to nourish and heal Alaska Native people.

Southcentral Foundation is an Alaska Native-owned nonprofit health care organization serving nearly 60,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people living in Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, and 60 rural villages in the IHS Anchorage Service Unit area.