Alaska - The National Indian Health Board recognized five Navajos
in the field of health and gave them awards during the annual awards
ceremonial luncheon here on Sept. 28, during their conference, "Health,
Hope, and Heroes: Using the Foundations of Tribal Values and Knowledge
to Advance Native Health!"
Jerry Freddie of Dilkon, Ariz. and former Delegate of the Navajo
Nation Council, and member of the Health and Social Services Committee
of the Navajo Nation Council, received the "Jake Whitecrow
Award, which is the highest award bestowed upon an individual for
commitment to the health of Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Freddie said that he was humbled by the recognition and award
during his brief comments following the award.
"I am grateful to receive this award and I'm honored to
represent the Navajo Nation, Native Americans, and Alaska Natives,"
Freddie stated. "There are many health issues that face us
and we need to continually address them so that health services
may be delivered to our Native people."
Anselm Roanhorse, of Tohatchi, N.M., was given the National
Impact Award for his work in addressing the Cross-State-Border issues
related to Medicaid. He served as the chairman of the sub-committee
in making it possible for residents of Arizona in receiving Medicaid
assistance in New Mexico as well as citizens of New Mexico receiving
Medicaid in Oklahoma.
"I was surprised when I was informed of the award,"
said Roanhorse. "Our work on the Cross-State-Border issues
was hard work and it took a lot of our time to make it possible
for citizens of those states to receive Medicaid when they crossed
each other's stateline."
Three members of the Division of Health were nominated by Anselm
Roanhorse.Former Director of the Division of Health, received Local
Impact Awards: Sylvia Etsitty-Haskie, Darwin Mitchell, and Darlene
Etsitty-Haskie served as a Health Planner for the Navajo Nation
for more than 20 years. A major project that she coordinated during
her tenure was the planning and construction of the Fort Defiance
Indian Hospital in Fort Defiance, Ariz. As Planner/Coordinator for
this project, she worked with multiple agencies, a local steering
committee, and communities to advocate for the replacement of a
hospital built in the 1930s. The new, state-of-the-art facility
now provides quality health care to a population exceeding 28,000.
Another of her achievements is the establishment of a committee
to address trauma care on the Navajo Nation. Because of her committee's
work, the renowned American College of Surgeons scheduled a trauma
system consultation for the Navajo Nation.
Darwin Mitchell, Recreation Specialist, Fort Defiance Service
Area with the Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Project received the
award for his positive impact on community members who have benefited
from his activities. Mitchell's presentations are in great demand
from various organizations and individuals. He was described by
his supervisor as highly energetic, motivated, engaging, and a multi-tasker.
Mitchell has had a particularly notable impact on elders at the
local senior centers, teaching good habits, and exercise techniques.
Darlene Salabiye, Health Education Technician, Gallup Service
Area, NNSDP, was recognized for her selfless dedication to advancing
the health of Native people.
Salabiye received recognition for her work as a Senior Community
Health Worker and influencing clientele across the Navajo Area,
especially in the Gallup Service Area. She has been instrumental
in organizing community events, including walks, runs, bike rides,
and other physical activities. She promoted collaboration with other
health providers from the Indian Health Service, County Health,
and school programs through the facilitation of diabetes prevention
and physically-focused activities.
The Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Project offered their congratulations
to Mitchell and Salabiye for their selection and representing the
staff for their hard work in combating diabetes on the Navajo Nation.