WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Indian Health Service (IHS) has announced Darrell LaRoche as the new Deputy Director for Management Operations and Capt. Marcus Martinez as the new Director for the IHS Portland Area.
LaRoche, an enrolled member of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe in South Dakota, serves as the principal advisor to the IHS Director for the management of IHS operations. As Deputy Director for Management Operations, he is responsible for providing management direction to IHS program offices, including implementing the IHS mission and agency goals; providing overall organization management to improve agency performance; developing strategic plans; and planning, directing, and evaluating operations of the headquarters’ functions, authorities, and responsibilities in support of the director.
“Mr. LaRoche has been a consistent leader throughout his career with IHS and we are excited to welcome him to this new role,” said IHS Acting Director Elizabeth Fowler. “We look forward to working together to continue improving agency performance and assessing our operations across the IHS.”
LaRoche is a retired captain in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps with more than 30 years of experience in facilities engineering, safety, health care programs, and emergency services with IHS, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs.
“I look forward to using the health care program experience I have gained at IHS to strengthen the management and operations that support the delivery of quality health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said LaRoche. “I will focus on recruitment and development of the IHS workforce, defining and streamlining management processes, and improving transparency as my immediate goals.”
LaRoche started his career as a facilities staff engineer in the IHS Portland Area in 1992. After 20 years of service with the IHS, he transferred to the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, MD, where he provided oversight of the Environment, Health, and Safety Program. He retired from the USPHS Commissioned Corps and became a member of the Senior Executive Service in June 2014 with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs under the Department of the Interior, and served as the Director of the Office of Facilities, Property and Safety Management. After returning to the IHS, LaRoche most recently served as the Director for the IHS Office of Clinical and Preventive Services since 2019.
As Director of the IHS Portland Area, Capt. Martinez, a member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, is responsible for overseeing comprehensive health care and environmental health services for American Indians and Alaska Natives throughout Oregon, Idaho, Washington, and part of Utah. With an estimated patient population of approximately 150,000, the IHS Portland Area includes six federally-operated service units, as well as tribal and urban health programs.
“We are excited to welcome Capt. Marcus Martinez to his new role as Portland Area Director,” said Fowler. “Capt. Martinez has over 27 years of experience working with federal agencies, tribes, and local governments, which will be helpful in improving the health care provided to our patients throughout the Portland Area.”
Capt. Martinez began his IHS career in 1995 as an engineering technician for the Office of Environmental Health and Engineering, IHS Spokane District Office. He has held multiple leadership roles since, including serving as the Chief Executive Officer for the Wellpinit Service Unit from 2009-2019 and as the Director of the Portland Area Office of Environmental Health and Engineering. Capt. Martinez is also the current Chair for the IHS OEHE Leadership Personal Development Board.
“I am humbled and honored to lead the Portland Area Indian Health Service,” said Capt. Martinez. “I have worked in Indian health for over 27 years and remain committed to continuously striving to improve the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives.”
As a U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officer, Martinez deployed with the USNS Mercy to respond to the devastation from a 2005 tsunami in Indonesia and responded to Hurricane Ike in Texas as an emergency response team member in 2008. He also volunteered as an EMT-B with the Spokane Tribal Ambulance for 14 years.