From September 26 through September 29th, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) hosted over 700 Tribal leaders, health care providers, and other stakeholders at its 28th Annual Consumer Conference (ACC) at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska. The theme for this year’s conference, Health, Hope, and Heroes: Using the Foundations of Tribal Values and Knowledge to Advance Native Health!, provided a chance for attendees to discuss successes, challenges, opportunities, and the future of health care for American Indian and Alaska Native people.
Throughout the conference, NIHB afforded participants access to a wide variety of experts in Native health, top agency officials, professional athletes, and Members of Congress. Monday, September 26th, offered government consultation opportunities: one with the National Vaccine Program Office on the Implementation of a National Vaccine plan and one with the Health Resources and Services Administration on its revised Tribal consultation policy.
Highlights from Tuesday, September 27th, included keynote speeches from John Baker, 2011 Iditarod Sled Dog Champion, and Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS). Congressman Don Young (R-AK) also addressed the plenary session and Kathleen King from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) presented its assessment of Contract Health Services as administered by IHS. Following the plenary session, attendees were treated to a series of 22 workshops on topics ranging from health reform to IHS budget formulation to electronic medical records.
On Wednesday, September 28th, NIHB hosted the annual “CMS Day”, an entire day of speeches and workshops sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Beginning with an address from CMS Administrator, Dr. Donald Berwick, the day was dedicated to topics in the implementation of health reform, including state insurance exchanges, as well as ongoing issues in insuring elders and children. NIHB also hosted its annual awards ceremony, recognizing 36 heroes in Indian health, including Jake White Crow lifetime achievement award winner, Jerry Freddie, of the Navajo Nation, and Youth Leadership award winner, Morgan Fawcett, of the Tlingit village.
Thursday, September 29th, the final day of the ACC, ended with addresses by Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) and Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, 2010 Winter Olympian Snowboarder. Participants also heard from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) administrator, Pamela Hyde, as well as representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! In Indian Country initiative.
NIHB is proud to have hosted yet another successful Annual Consumer Conference. Please check back at this page for summaries, photos, and presentations from this year’s ACC. We hope to see you at next year’s ACC on October 9-11, 2011 in Denver, CO, celebrating NIHB’s 40th Anniversary!