The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is gearing up for the 2017 Native Youth Health Summit

Youth Advocacy: Telling Your Story to Create Change" – but with an exciting new twist this year! The 2017 Summit will also serve as the inaugural meeting of the NIHB Tribal Youth Health Advisory Board on March 16-20, 2017 in Hanover, NH at the Dartmouth College. Apply here.

NIHB Hosts Native Health Presidential Transition Summit

Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) meets with NIHB Chair, Lester Secatero, and Alaska Area Representative, Lincoln Bean.
Read More

The Tribal Public Health Accreditation Advisory Board (TPHAAB) met on October 5, 2016 in Salt Lake City and concluded a year-long effort to review the Public Heath Accreditation Board’s (PHAB) Standards and Measures.

October 5, 2016 TPHAAB participants: Bridget Caniff, Carrie Sampson, Natasha Bitsui, Larry Voegele, Liza Corso, Kaye Bender, Aneva Turtle Hagberg, Philene Herrera, Vickie Bradley, Tom Anderson, Apryl Krause, Karrie Joseph. Not pictured: Jamie Ishcomer, Verne’ Boerne. Contact Karrie Joseph, [email protected] for more information.

On Sunday, October 9, 2016 the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) attended a Strategy Session and World Cafe hosted by the Indian Health Service (IHS) to generate concrete ideas to establish a framework for transformative change in the IHS that can be implemented immediately.

"This is a tangible step towards addressing the incredible workforce shortage the Indian Health Services currently faces." Stacy A. Bohlen, Executive Director of NIHB. Click here for the briefing presented by IHS.

On September 28 , 2016 the Veterans Administration (VA) held an in-person Tribal consultation session at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian to discuss its recent proposal to consolidate multiple community care programs, previously known as non-VA care, into one standard program with standard rates. Representatives from the National Indian Health Board , Lester Secatero, Chairman NIHB BOD and Stacy Bohlen , Executive Director NIHB were present on behalf of the 567 Tribal Nations that may be impacted by this proposal.

Lisa Pivec, Sr. Director of Public Health receives a NIHB 2016 Area Impact Award for leading the Cherokee Nation to be the first Tribal health department to achieve public health accreditation! Read the press release. More about public health accreditation…CLICK HERE

John T. Hammarlund of CMS "Can you hear the dreams crackling like a campfire? Can you hear the dreams sweeping through the pine trees and tipis? Can you hear the dreams laughing in the sawdust?...."


At the Tribal Nations Health Conference of the National Indian Health Board, leading Senate staffers and Tribal leaders discussed legislative options to reform IHS. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Republican and Democrat staff participants included Emily Newman, Chairman Barrasso's Counsel (left), Caitrin Shuy, NIHB Director of Congressional Relations (center) and Kim Moxley, Vice Chairman Tester's lead health staff (right). "There is a real understanding that we can't be waiting around to make IHS improvements," said Newman.

NIHB Chairman Lester Secatero and Albuquerque Area Representative signs the Cultural Wisdom Declaration establishing the value and importance of AI/AN cultures to drive health policy


National Indian Health Board and Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board Meet to Discuss New Strategies to Improve Health Systems for American Indians and Alaska Natives.


National Indian Health Board and Public Health Foundation Collaborate to Improve Health in Indian Country

CLICK HERE to read the release.

NEW VIDEO: Tribal Leaders' Perspectives on Public Health Accreditation

CLICK HERE to watch.

The goal of this policy agenda is to set forth specific recommendations to improve the social, emotional, mental, physical, and economic health of children and youth, allowing them to achieve their learning and developmental potential. In short, this initiative calls on key stakeholders to put First Kids 1st. Click HERE to read the Native Children’s Policy Agenda

CLICK HERE for more information

NIHB Focus Areas


Posted: January 12, 2017

NIHB Partners with NCAI and IHS to Provide Senate Briefing on IHCIA Impact

On Friday, January 6, 2017, the National Indian Health Board (NIHB), along with partners from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the Indian Health Service (IHS), provided an informational briefing on the positive impacts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the underlying Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA).

The IHCIA was permanently enacted through the ACA in 2010, and provides a wealth of new resources and opportunities for Tribal healthcare institutions, providers, families, and individuals. Staff from over fifteen different Senate offices were present at the briefing and received documents outlining Tribal health priorities for the 115th Congress. Another high priority continues to be preserving protections and expanded eligibility for AI/ANs within Medicaid. Ms. Angie Wilson, Health Director at the Reno Sparks Tribal Health Center, has stated, "Medicaid has had the single biggest impact at the local level." With discretionary appropriations consistently falling far short of need, Medicaid provides the Indian health system with much needed funding to provide basic healthcare services to AI/ANs. NIHB and partners will continue to work to preserve the gains made in Indian health since the permanent reauthorization of IHCIA.

Posted: January 10, 2017

The National Indian Health Board is launching a new Tribal Youth Health Advisory Board (TYHAB) initiative, learn more below and apply now!

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) is gearing up for the 2017 Native Youth Health Summit, "Youth Advocacy: Telling Your Story to Create Change" – but with an exciting new twist this year! The 2017 Summit will also serve as the inaugural meeting of the NIHB Tribal Youth Health Advisory Board on March 16-20, 2017 in Hanover, NH at the Dartmouth College.

For the very first time, the National Indian Health Board will be selecting an advisory board of 24 Native youth, ages 18-24, from around the country to engage throughout the year in Indian health policy and programming efforts. The inaugural meeting of the TYHAB will focus on developing the capacity of Native youth to engage in Indian health policy solutions, tell their personal story, and advocate for changes in the healthcare and public health systems important to Tribal communities. The TYHAB kickoff at the Native Youth Health Summit will provide youth with key opportunities for relationship- and skill-building that allows them to return home feeling empowered, connected to other Native youth and well equipped to be the next generation of advocates for Indian health...

Learn More

Posted: January 10, 2017

CDC Vital Signs Report on Decreased Kidney Failure from Diabetes in Native Americans

Today, CDC released a report on the decrease in kidney failure from diabetes in Native Americans (American Indians and Alaska Natives) and how the Indian Health Service (IHS) used team-based and population health approaches to help accomplish this decline, which may be applied to all people with diabetes.

Native Americans have a greater chance of having diabetes than any other U.S. racial group. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure (otherwise known as end-stage renal disease, or ESRD-D), a costly condition that requires dialysis or kidney transplant to survive. The remarkable findings documented in the January 10, 2017 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) reveal that among American Indian/Alaska Native adults (AI/AN), age-adjusted ESRD-D incidence decreased 54% during 1996–2013; by 2013, among adults with diabetes, the ESRD-D rate was the same in AI/AN as in whites...

Read More

Posted: January 4, 2017

The Obama Administration Releases a Report Outlining Successes While Working with Tribes

The Obama Administration and Tribal Nations have made historic progress over the past eight years in improving the nation-to-nation relationship between the United States and federally recognized Tribes. On January 2, the White House released a progress report titled: A Renewed Era of Federal-Tribal Relations ( outlining some of the successes of the Obama Administration while working on behalf of Tribes. The report sets a baseline of progress for Tribal Nations to reference in their ongoing work with the federal government, and outlines the priorities that the White House Council on Native American Affairs (WHCNAA) will continue to work on based on Tribal leaders’ recommendations.

During the Obama Administration, the federal government has sought to reinforce its treaty and trust obligations for healthcare to American Indian and Alaska Natives by securing permanent healthcare funding, striving to reduce chronic disease and childhood obesity, and focusing on behavioral health issues such as suicide and trauma. Historic gains in health and wellness for Indian Country were achieved in 2010 by the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which includes permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA). The report highlights the following health and wellness achievements:

  • Creation of the Commission on Native Children
  • Responding to Behavioral Health Issues
  • Addressing Suicidal Behavioral in Tribal communities
  • Addressing Alcohol and Substance Abuse
  • Launching of the National Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda (TBHA)
  • Improving Data Sharing Capability
  • Creation of the Tiwahe Initiative
  • Creation of IHS and Tribal Health Program Reimbursement Agreements
  • Tribal HUD-VA Supported Housing Demonstration Program
  • Supporting Traditional Foods in Indian Country

Posted: December 20, 2016

NIHB Hosts Native Health Presidential Transition Summit

Washington DC, December 9, 2016 - The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) convened over 170 Tribal leaders from across the nation to discuss strategy and the Indian health priorities for the new Congress and Administration during the Native Health Presidential Transition Summit on Thursday, December 8 in Washington, DC. Participants engaged with Members of Congress, including long-time Indian health advocate, Representative Tom Cole (R-OK), and recent Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Senator Jon Tester (D-MT)...

Read More

Posted: December 6, 2016

It’s Time for a National Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda

By: Kana Enomoto, Principal Deputy Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Mary Smith, Principal Deputy Director, Indian Health Service

The story of American Indians and Alaska Natives is one of resiliency and survival. But high rates of interpersonal violence, depressive symptoms, substance misuse (alcohol and illicit drugs), and suicide among members of tribal communities offer a small glimpse into how social injustices- endured over the course of multiple generations- threaten tribal communities.

The National Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda (TBHA) provides a blueprint to address current behavioral health issues and affect change for future generations...

Read More

Posted: December 6, 2016

New Tribal Agenda Aims to Improve Behavioral Health in Native Communities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today has announced the release of the Tribal Behavioral Health Agenda (TBHA), a first-of-its-kind collaborative tribal-federal blueprint that highlights the extent to which behavioral health challenges affect Native communities, in addition to strategies and priorities to reduce these problems and improve the behavioral health of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

There are 567 federally recognized and dependent sovereign American Indian and Alaska Native nations, tribes, rancherias, villages, and pueblos. American Indians and Alaska Natives represent 2 percent of the total U.S. population (6.6 million persons), but experience disproportionately high rates of behavioral health problems such as mental and substance use disorders. In addition, these communities' behavioral health needs have traditionally been underserved.

Read More

Posted: December 6, 2016

NIHB Highlighted in Office of Minority Health Blog - Recognizing an Important Health Equity Milestone in Native American Heritage Month

As a special feature for Native American Heritage Month, Dr. Nadine Gracia featured the National Indian Health Board in the Office of Minority Health - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services blog roll yesterday for the work NIHB is doing to bring #healthequity to Tribal communities.

The changing landscape of public health, with a multi-disciplinary approach focused on the social determinants of health is a true opportunity to advance the well-being of AIAN communities. A commitment to advancing health equity by giving Tribes the resources they need to advance their public health system will lead to healthier, sustainable Native communities and decreased disparities for generations to come.


Read the blog now!

Posted: November 21, 2016

Funding Opportunity: Tribal Public Health and Climate Change
Applications Due November 30th, 2016

Building Tribal Capacity for Climate Change Resilience and Public Health Programs

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB), with support from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Climate and Health Program in the National Center for Environmental Health, is pleased to announce a call for applications for a Building Tribal Capacity for Climate Change Resilience award. Designed to enhance the capacity of Tribes, this funding will provide up to three (3) Tribes with grants ranging from $75,000 to $89,000 for the opportunity to increase the level of programming, research, and/or coordination and communication between the Tribal programs, community, and key partners involved in addressing the health consequences of climate change. NIHB will assist in sharing lessons learned and best practices with the Tribal awardees, CDC's Climate and Health Program, Tribal Climate Change Workgroup members, and other key stakeholders… Read More

Posted: November 17, 2016

Congress to Fund Government with 3-Month Continuing Resolution

Congressional leaders today announced they would not move forward with any FY 2017 Appropriations bills until the next Congress. To fund the government, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers said in a statement that they will begin work on a continuing resolution (CR), which will fund most federal agencies until March 31, 2017. The current CR expires on December 9, 2016...

Read More

Posted: October 19, 2016

NIHB Applauds the Enactment of the Native Children's Commission Bill

On Friday, October 14, 2016, President Obama singed the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act into law. The Act authorizes the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission over a three-year period to evaluate and make recommendations regarding ways to improve Tribal, state, and federal programs serving Native children. The original bill was introduced by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)...

Read More

Posted: October 12, 2016

Indian Health Service Hosts Joint Tribal Advisory Committees Meeting

On Sunday, October 9, 2016 the National Indian Health Board (NIHB) participated in a Strategy Session and World Cafe hosted by the Indian Health Service (IHS). The session was the first ever joint meeting between the Indian Health Services' Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee (DSTAC), Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee (TSGAC), and the Department of Health and Human Services' Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC). The purpose of this session was two fold: to generate concrete ideas to establish a framework for transformative change in the IHS that can be implemented immediately, and provide a forum to host a discussion among advisory committee members to share goals, objecties, and strategic plans of the DSTAC, TSGAC, and STAC...

Read More

Posted: October 6, 2016

Congress Passes Continuing Resolution, Funding for Zika

Last week, Congress passed a stopgap spending bill that would keep the federal government funded through December 9, 2016. The measure also provides $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus. Additionally, it provides for a full year of funding for the Department of Veterans' Affairs and military construction projects...

Read More

Posted: September 30, 2016

2016-2017 Tribal ASI Awardees Announced September 29, 2016

The National Indian Health Board (NIHB), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support is pleased to announce the selection of eight Tribal health departments for the Tribal Accreditation Support Initiative (Tribal ASI). This is the third cohort of Tribal ASI awards, and NIHB is excited about offering a total support package of $84,000 going directly to the eight selected Tribes. Each of the Tribal ASI awardees have constructed their own individual workplan that will accomplish specific and concrete steps towards achieving one or more of the standards for public health accreditation.

Read the Press Release (PDF)

Posted: September 23, 2016

National Indian Health Board Stands with Standing Rock

Scottsdale, AZ - The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) Board of Directors signed a resolution in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation at the National Tribal Nations Health Conference on September 22, 2016.

The NIHB is dedicated to assisting and promoting the health needs and concerns of Indian people. The prevention of harm to the health and well-being of Indian people is an essential aspect of the purpose of NIHB. The Board believes water is the foundation of all life on Earth and its preservation is essential to human survival...

Read More

Posted: September 21, 2016

NIHB 2016 Heroes in Native Health Awards Gala

September 21, 2016 – Phoenix, AZ - The National Indian Health Board (NIHB) 2016 Heroes in Native Health Awards Gala was held to honor individuals and organizations from across Indian Country for their achievements and contributions that go above and beyond the call of duty to enrich and improve American Indian and Alaska Native health. This year, forty-five individuals and organizations were chosen to receive recognition for their dedication to improving health outcomes in Indian Country. Some of these award winners have done tremendous work on behalf of their local community, while others have gone to great lengths to advocate and serve on a regional or national level. Read More

Posted: September 21, 2016

Acknowledging Challenges, Authoring the Future for Indian Country

Today marks the close of the first official day of the National Indian Health Board’s (NIHB) National Tribal Nations Health Conference, also known as the 33RD Annual Consumer Conference. NIHB is pleased to report that more than 800 Tribal leaders and health professionals joined us for our official opening ceremony! Taylor Talbi’Denzhoone Susan, Miss Indian Arizona, began the events for the day with a blessing and song, wishing all attendees a productive and safe time while attending the conference.

Over the course of the opening plenary, several ground breaking announcements were made, such as Principal Deputy Director of the Indian Health Service, Mary Smith, announcing a telemedicine contract for the Great Plains Area with Avera Health. Avera will provide care across 10 different specialty areas for all 19 service units. The announcement was met with a standing ovation from the NIHB Board of Directors and Great Plains Tribal leaders in attendance. Patrick Marcellais, the NIHB Great Plains Representative and Councilman of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, said, "This is a terrific move that will make a huge difference to the Tribes in the Great Plains."

While acknowledging the health challenges facing American Indians/Alaska Natives, the tone of the plenary was one of making progress and creating solutions. As Ms. Smith stated, “If we are not talking about the difficult things, then we are not moving forward.”...

Read More

Posted: September 20, 2016

Affordable Care Act Toolkit for Native Youth!

With the launching of Generation Indigenous in 2014, the Obama Administration showed the American people the heritage, tradition, and perseverance of Native people in this country. But more importantly, this movement helped Native youth to recognize the responsibility of continuing this energy for generations to come.

The direct creation of Generation Indigenous is to help remove barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed. While these barriers are numerous for many Native youth, the National Indian Health Board acknowledges that some of the most debilitating barriers to success that a young Native person faces are directly related to the health and wellbeing of themselves and their communities. According to the Centers for Disease Control the AI/AN youth demographic has drastic rates of diabetes type 1 and 2 among people younger than twenty years old . Furthermore, AI/AN adolescents are 50 percent more likely than non-Hispanic Whites to be overweight . These statistics illustrate large problems around obtaining quality of health and wellness for young people in Indian Country. Furthermore, they do not highlight the additional barriers unique to Indian Country for addressing these health disparities. These are, but not limited to, accessing affordable health insurance, proximity to quality healthcare providers, in addition to the high rates of health issues that impact Indian Country and its Native youth greatly.

This toolkit was created in generous partnership with the Indian Health Service. All content and materials within this toolkit are free for download and distribution.


» View News Archive