Roslyn Tso to serve as the next Director of Indian Health Services
Special News for Indian Country
September 22, 2022
“Certainly, the Indian health service as well as [Department of Health and Human Services] has a strong tribal consultation process that we use. However, it is more than that. It’s not just about meeting and having a conversation with the tribal leaders. It’s really about understanding the needs of each tribal community to help them better serve the people in their communities. »
Roslyn Tsodirector of indian health service
The National Indian Health Council (SSNA) congratulates Roselyn Tso becoming director of Indian health service (IHS). The Senate voted by unanimous consent to confirm roselyn Tso as next director of the IHS. As previously stated by the NIHB Program, President Biden appointed Roslyn on March 10, 2022 as Director of IHS. Candidate Tso appeared before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) in his successful nomination hearing on May 25.
A citizen of the Navajo Nation, Roselyn Tso has been a member of the professional staff of IHS since 1984 and is currently director of the Navajo region of IHS. She held many positions within the Agency during her tenure, including the position of Director of the Office of Direct Services and Contracting Tribes at IHS.
Currently, IHS is led by Acting Senior Deputy Director Elizabeth Fowler, who has served on an interim basis since the resignation of Rear Admiral Michael Weahkee on January 20, 2021. The NIHB Program extends special recognition and thanks Ms. Fowler for its great service. as interim leader of IHS for the past two years.
“The Tribes say the absence of a confirmed director has hampered the Tribes and administration’s ability to advance the President’s bold vision for Indian, Tribal and Urban (I/T/U) health. We look forward to seeing, supporting and partnering to ensure that meaningful progress is made to advance IHS’s mission to elevate the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of Indian people to the highest level. ‘America and Alaska Natives,’ said NIHB President and Alaska Region Representative Bill Smith (Valdez Native Tribe).
NIHB passed Resolution 22-02 February 24, 2022, calling on President Biden to appoint an IHS Director to ensure IHS has a leader who can present a vision to address the health disparities faced by Native Americans/ Alaska Natives (AI/AN).
On March 7, 2022, NIHB sent a letter to the SCIA to highlight the ambitious and necessary priorities that the tribes expect from the new director. The agency must have a permanent and capable leader who is able and willing to advocate and act with diplomacy and tenacity, respect tribal nations and their voices, and transform and reform institutional operations through innovative systemic changes, effective and durable.
Among these changes is the full and mandatory funding of the IHS. For years, IHS has been funded at a rate well below its level of need, and the results of this historical neglect can be seen in disparities in health outcomes for AI/AN people. The director should lead efforts to work with the tribes, administration, and Congress to secure full mandated funding. In the meantime, there is an immediate opportunity to obtain advance appropriations for IHS through the FY 2023 appropriations process, which will begin to improve continuity of care, operations, and certainty in planning. and management. Obtaining advance appropriations and ultimately full mandatory funding for IHS fulfills the commitment made to our people generations ago and eliminates the systemic health care funding inequities that the government federal condones for tribes, but not for veterans or the elderly.
Fiscal 2023 also marks the final year of authorization for the Special Indian Diabetes Program (SPDI), which has proven to be one of the most successful public health programs in the country and therefore deserves permanent reauthorization. to $400 million a year to meet real needs. need. However, its very existence has proven remarkably unreliable and short-term, and its current funding process ignores the inherent tribal sovereignty recognized by the Indian Self-Determination and Educational Assistance Act. Successful programs like SPDI deserve better.
The job ahead is long and difficult, and the NIHB congratulates Roselyn Tso for further commitments and looks forward to working together to achieve health equity within and for IHS.
The National Indian Health Council (NIHB) congratulates Roselyn Tso on becoming Director of the Indian Health Service…