May 1, 2009

Indian Health Service Nominee Wins Unanimous Approval from Senate Indian Affairs Committee

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee, in a unanimous voice vote Thursday, approved the nomination of Dr. Yvette Roubideaux to be Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS). Her nomination now goes to the full Senate for a vote.
If Dr. Roubideaux wins full Senate approval, she will become the first Native American woman to head the Indian Health Service, an achievement Dorgan described at the hearing as an “historic event.”
Dr. Roubideaux is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. She holds a Bachelors (1985), Doctorate of Medicine (1989), and Masters (1996) Degree from Harvard University, and currently serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine. She has 16 years of experience in a variety of roles dealing with Indian health care, but is most noted for her work on diabetes prevention.
The IHS is responsible for fulfilling the federal government’s trust responsibility to provide health care for the members of 562 federally recognized tribes throughout the United States, which is about 1.9 million Native Americans and Alaska Natives who live on or near Indian reservations. The IHS has approximately 700 health facilities within its service delivery areas. The 2009 annual IHS budget is approximately $3.58 billion.
In other business at the meeting Thursday, the committee also approved S. 151, the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments Act. The bill amends the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in the marketing of Indian arts and crafts products.
The committee unanimously approved legislation that amends current law to strengthen enforcement by allowing offenses to be referred to and investigated by any federal law enforcement officer, rather than just the Federal Bureau of Investigations.