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2024 National Tribal Health Conference


National Tribal Health Conference 2024: Opening Plenary Highlights

The National Indian Health Board’s National Tribal Health Conference 2024 commenced with a powerful opening plenary, setting the stage for a pivotal gathering aimed at enhancing healthcare for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. This annual event unites Tribal leaders, health professionals, and advocates to collaborate on improving healthcare services and outcomes for our people.

Keynote Address by Roselyn Tso, Director of IHS

Roselyn Tso, Navajo, Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS), delivered a compelling keynote address, emphasizing the critical role of Executive Order 14112. She called for strong leadership within IHS to ensure the effective implementation of this policy. Tso highlighted her commitment to opening dialogues on better compliance and enhancing the IHS infrastructure, particularly the business operations and workforce development.

Tso acknowledged the significant support from the current administration, recognizing the necessity for more substantial funding than what is typically allocated in the presidential budget. She emphasized that 64% of IHS funds are directed to tribes through contracts and compacts, stressing the importance of using the remaining funds efficiently to address existing gaps in the system.

Focus on Workforce and Infrastructure

Addressing the workforce challenges, Tso pointed out that promotions and career advancements within IHS need to align with those providing direct care. She set a goal to address these disparities by the end of the calendar year, highlighting the need for transparency and accountability. Tso announced the introduction of a dashboard to track progress in purchased and referred care, aiming for improved service delivery and infrastructure repairs.

Remarks from Stacy Bohlen, CEO of the National Indian Health Board

Stacy Bohlen, Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, CEO of the National Indian Health Board, reinforced the message of trust and belief in Tribal voices. She reminded attendees of the historical significance of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, which recognized AIAN contributions, particularly their service in World War I. Bohlen paid tribute to past Board members Carole Ann Hart and Robert Moore, acknowledging their pivotal roles in advancing health and community initiatives.

Bohlen’s message was clear: health must be defined on Tribal terms. She stressed the importance of culturally grounded health practices and the unwavering spirit of AIAN communities in overcoming historical and ongoing challenges.

Conference Purpose

The National Tribal Health Conference 2024 aims to foster collaboration among Tribal leaders and health professionals, focusing on innovative strategies to improve healthcare for all AIAN communities. The conference serves as a platform for sharing best practices, addressing systemic issues, and advocating for policies that uphold Tribal sovereignty and self-determination in healthcare.

National Indian Health Board
50 F St NW, Suite 600 | Washington, DC 20001 | Phone: 202-507-4070 | Email: [email protected]