WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, Indian Health Service (IHS) Director Roselyn Tso began touring several sites across Indian Country to gain a better perspective on national and regional issues affecting the tribal members served by the Indian health system.
“When I first started as the IHS director, I said I would strive to protect and enhance our relationship with tribal leaders, tribal governments and urban Indian health partners,” said Director Tso. “We can best accomplish this by an improved understanding of tribal health and urban Indian health care systems and their needs. That is why this tour is important to me as I gain an understanding of the needs and challenges across Indian Country. This is my way of opening the door to better communication across the agency.”
Tso plans to meet with employees at federal, tribal and urban sites across the U.S. to thank them for their dedication to the people they serve and also visit health facilities and communities up close. Tso began her tour by visiting the IHS Mashpee Wampanoag Service Unit in Massachusetts and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation’s clinic in Connecticut. Her trip to the Northeast will be followed by site visits to northern California, South Dakota, Oregon and Alaska. She plans to visit all areas that the IHS serves within 45 days.
The IHS will use the information gathered from the tour to address challenges and build on progress to support best practices and innovative approaches to health care, strengthen management operations, improve communication and inform leadership as they set priorities for the agency. Tso plans to visit more sites in the coming year.