Dozens of people in the United South and Eastern Tribes service were honored with awards for their work and achievements related to health care.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services' Indian Health Service (IHS) held its annual Nashville Area Honor Awards and Promotions Ceremony at the Sheraton Music City Hotel to honor employees, partners and members of the Nashville Area Office (NAO). The Nashville Area Office of the IHS encompasses the United South and Eastern Tribes (USET) service area from Maine to Florida and from the Carolinas to Texas.
IHS Area Director Martha Ketcher (Cherokee Nation) addressed the attendees, praising them for the “extraordinary accomplishments” made in the NAO. “This is your day to stand in the spotlight of your accomplishments and receive some well-deserved praise,” Ketcher said, according to a media release issued by USET. “It is your day to enjoy the celebration and let your family, friends, and colleagues express their appreciation and congratulations. We hope you never forget how much you are appreciated and how we all believe in you and support your goals.”
USET President Brian Patterson (Oneida Indian Nation) received the NAO’s highest award—the Directors Award for Excellence, which was established to recognize service of an extraordinary nature to IHS or to a Tribal Health Program over a sustained period of time. Patterson, who was recently re-elected to serve his fourth term as USET president, received the award for exhibiting outstanding leadership in advocating for improved Indian Health Care in numerous forums, and reinforcing transparency and accountability in IHS. “I have served my people [Oneida Indian Nation] for more than 20 years,” Patterson said in accepting the award. “I often remind them that you don’t need a title to make change for the people. It is service that will make the greatest positive impact for Indian country. Service will bring a legacy for our children’s children.”
Catherine Willis (Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians), an employee of the NAO, also received a Directors Award for Excellence “for her outstanding service to IHS providing exceptional customer service and consistently excelling in all projects she undertakes,” the USET release said.
Dee Sabattus (Passamaquoddy), USET’s Tribal Health Program Support Director, received a NAO Exceptional Performance Award for her exceptional initiative and accomplishments in advocating for USET member Tribes health needs in multiple national forums.
Other recipients of the Exception Performance Award include:
Dr. Joseph Park (St. Regis Mohawk Tribe), a dentist cited for exceptional initiative in improving the St. Regis Mohawk dental program, resulting in an increase in infection control reviews, overall program reviews and chart scores;
Abbey McCarthy (Penobscot Nation Health Department), who was awarded for exceptional initiative and leadership in implementing prevention activities to help improve community awareness surrounding diabetes and the importance of exercise and good nutrition;
Isa Henderson (Micmac Service Unit), who was cited for exceptional initiative and performance in the operation of a Micmac Service Unit’s Community Health Systems (CHS) program and creating the best CHS practices that are used for training programs in various federal tribal sites;
Teresa Smith (Poarch Band of Creek Indians), who was cited for exceptional and unwavering devotion to improving the overall quality of care to patients, consistently going above and beyond to accommodate the needs of both patients and employees alike.
The Nashville Area Employee of the Year was given to dental provider Dr. Joe Salamon (Seneca Nation). Salamon was awarded for exceptional initiative in establishing a quality improvement program that has resulted in the Seneca Dental Program being recognized as the most improved dental program in the Nashville Area.
Other awardees included:
John Kathol of the NAO-Manlius, New York Field Office received for outstanding leadership as Acting Chief, Project Engineering and Management Branch, managing the submission of 140 sanitation facility projects and the development of 19 new projects in 2012, while continuing to foster and develop successful relationships with Nashville Area Tribes.
Dr. Seelan Newton (Oneida Indian Nation of New York) for an exceptional initiative in leading his clinic to meet all 21 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Clinical Indicators for three years in a row, while continuously providing outstanding care to the patients he serves.
A full listing of awardees is available at the USET website.