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National Indian Health Board Honors Three Public Health Innovators
ALBUQUERQUE, NM—May 14, 2019—During the 10th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit opening reception, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) presented two individuals – one from Alaska and the other from North Dakota – and one Tribal organization from California with the 2019 Native Public Health Innovation Awards for their effective approaches to and significant impact on American Indian and Alaska Native public health.

“NIHB recognizes that public health is a traditional Native value and that Tribes have led the way in creating and implementing public health programming and services that align not only with community health needs, but with cultural beliefs as well,” said NIHB Board Chair Victoria Kitcheyan. “NIHB presents these awards to recognize excellence, achievement and innovations that are above and beyond the call of service. These awards highlight the efforts that have improved health status, created new programming, addressed long standing health disparities and/or increased the visibility of Tribal public health concerns.” 
National Recipient – James Segura, Chairman, Southcentral Foundation Board of Directors
James Segura has served as Southcentral Foundation (SCF) Board Chairman for 35 years. SCF is a non-profit, Tribal organization serving 65,000 Indigenous peoples. With his commitment to strong governance, he has helped the Alaska Native people realize a dream of a customer-owned, customer-driven health care system. The resulting Nuka System of Care has proven to impact whole population health and is now regarded internationally as a best practice with promise for replication in other communities. Consistent with the Native value of “sharing what we know,” Mr. Segura is expanding the reach of these innovations through his support for SCF’s Learning Institute, a new avenue for sharing knowledge and expertise with other Tribes/Tribal organizations. The Institute develops and delivers workshops, trainings and consulting services for organizations interested in replicating Nuka concepts to improve health outcomes in their communities.

“It is an honor and privilege to accept this award. I am truly proud of the great strides that have been made in the delivery of care for our people. I would like to thank not only the National Indian Health Board – but all the people who work tirelessly, every day, to improve the health and wellness of Alaska Native and American Indian people,” said Mr. Segura. 
Regional Recipient – Dr. Melanie Nadeau, Operational Director, American Indian Public Health Resource Center (AIPHRC)
Ms. Nadeau is the Operational Director of the American Indian Public Health Resource Center at North Dakota State University, and earned her PhD in social and behavioral epidemiology and focused her research on breast cancer risk factors for American Indian women on the Turtle Mountain Reservation, a study that was the first of its kind. The American Indian Public Health Resource Center provides technical assistance on public health initiatives to Tribes in the Northern Plains, Minnesota and across the nation. Through her work at the Center, Dr. Nadeau has been able to train and teach Tribal communities in Minnesota on Indigenous evaluation through a public health lens.

“It is an honor to be selected by NIHB for the Public Health Innovation Award. Being an American Indian woman, I have always been dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of Native communities,” Dr. Nadeau said. “In my study, I found that none of the risk factors for breast cancer that have been identified for the mainstream population were risk factors for my people. There’s a huge lack of data overall in American Indian communities. We need to advocate for and invest in high quality data collection and translational efforts. Because of this, it is important that we are innovative in our data collection and translational approach to ensure that the data is representative and valid.”
Local Recipient – Toiyabe Indian Health Project Infection Control and Safety Committee
The Toiyabe Indian Health Project Safety and Infection Control Team, in partnership with Reno District Indian Health Service, demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment to improving the quality of care for patients, and outstanding cooperation in achieving program goals and objectives. The team’s dedication, commitment to mission and leadership has resulted in significant improvements in safety management and the quality of care at the three Toiyabe Health Clinic sites.

“On behalf of the Toiyabe Indian Health Project, we were so privileged to accept this award and be among the amazing programs in contention for it. This represents an acknowledgment of the hard work being done in the rural areas of Indian country to provide high quality healthcare options to indigenous people. We appreciate National Indian Health Board and are honored by their choice to endow us with this award,” said Toiyabe Indian Health Project CEO Dr. Kori Novak.
At the opening reception, conference attendees also had an opportunity to visit with staff from different Tribal Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) programs as they showcased their success stories at the annual SDPI Poster Session .

The 10 th Annual National Tribal Public Health Summit concluded today with closing remarks from the National Congress of American Indians Southwest Regional Vice President Joe Garcia and presentations on climate change and electronic cigarettes in Indian Country. NIHB will host listening sessions with federal agencies tomorrow, Wednesday, May 15. View the agenda for more information

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About the National Indian Health Board
Founded in 1972, NIHB is a 501(c)3 not for profit, charitable organization providing health care advocacy services, facilitating Tribal budget consultation and providing timely information, and other services to all Tribal governments. NIHB also conducts research, provides policy analysis, program assessment and development, national and regional meeting planning, training, technical assistance, program and project management. NIHB presents the Tribal perspective while monitoring, reporting on and responding to federal legislation and regulations. It also serves as conduit to open opportunities for the advancement of American Indian and Alaska Native health care with other national and international organizations, foundations corporations and others in its quest to build support for, and advance, Indian health care issues.
National Indian Health Board
910 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20003