The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is excited to announce Dr. Aaron Payment has joined the NIHB leadership team as the Director of Government Relations as of June 14. Dr. Payment served Chair of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa, a position he held for more than 14 years and an additional eight years on council. As NIHB reaches its 50th anniversary, expanding government relations will position NIHB to better serve Tribal communities. It will be invaluable to have in-house the skills and perspective of a seasoned Tribal leader who has served in many leadership positions.
While serving as Tribal Chair, Dr. Payment became well known for his eloquent and impactful voice for Tribal sovereignty in all areas of policy and representation. He served on the US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee including as Vice Chair. He chaired the National Institutes of Health Tribal Advisory Committee, was Tribal Health Research Advisory Chair, and was on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Tribal Advisory Committee. Dr. Payment also dedicated nearly a decade of service as the National Congress of American Indians Midwest Regional Vice President, including two terms as Recording Secretary, and two terms as first Vice President.
Dr. Payment will oversee Congressional and Federal Relations and Advocacy, as well as budget and policy. This “one-stop-shop” approach promises to be a formidable as it will be at the heart of advancing the Tribal health agenda. NIHB CEO Stacy A. Bohlen, a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians expressed her excitement stating, “I have had the pleasure of advocating side-by-side with Dr. Payment on Capitol Hill – in congressional offices – to lawmakers – and as witnesses testifying side by side during Congressional hearings. The Government Relations Department at NIHB brings under one Department Congressional and Federal Relations, advocacy, regulatory policy analysis, and appropriations. We are so pleased that Dr. Payment joins NIHB’s team. CEO Bohlen further explained, “I am confident he will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to NIHB’s work as we celebrate NIHB’s 50th Anniversary and envision the next 50 years. We have the opportunity to make a real impact with the Administration’s historic funding to Indian Country and commitment to Advanced Appropriations, and I cannot think of anyone better suited to lead this effort.”
“I am humbled to transition to serve all of Indian Country. I feel blessed to have had long standing and widespread support among Tribal nations and pledge to do my very best starting with securing Congressional Advanced Appropriations for the Indian Health Service” explained Dr. Payment. For more information regarding Indian Health Service (IHS) Advanced Appropriations, please visit the NIHB website at www.nihb.org.
Established by the Tribes to advocate as the united voice of federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes, NIHB seeks to reinforce Tribal sovereignty, strengthen Tribal health systems, secure resources, and build capacity to achieve the highest level of health and well-being for our People.