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Work in the Alaska Tribal Health System garners awards from the National Indian Health Board

October 22, 2018

In September, the National Indian Health Board honored national, regional and local champions in Indian Health for their invaluable service to Indian Country.

Three individuals from the Alaska Tribal Health System were recognized with awards for their impactful work serving Alaska Native and American Indian people in the IHS Alaska Area.

Local Impact awards
These awards recognize an individual or organization whose work has affected change or impacted health care on the local and/or Tribal level.

  • Robert Henrichs, Native Village of Eyak

Mr. Henrichs has served on the Native Village of Eyak Tribal Council as its president for more than 20 years. He started the annual Sobriety Celebration and Memorial Potlatch, which changed Tribal views on living a sober life. He negotiated bringing Indian Health Service funds from the local hospitals into the Tribes. He successfully submitted a Health Resources and Services Administration primary care grant to hire doctors and behavioral health providers. He currently serves on the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Board of Directors and continues to advocate for increased collaboration between Tribal and City health in Cordova, Alaska.

  • Cyrus Harris, Native Village of Kotzebue, Maniilaq Association

Cyrus Harris founded the Hunter Support Program in Kotzebue in 1993. Harris formed partnerships to design a plan for a processing facility that could evaluate and approve traditional meats. The Sigluaq (Iñupiaq for ice cellar/cold storage), opened in July 2015 to process sheefish, moose, caribou, musk ox and ptarmigan for the long-term care residents. This program has been viewed as a “beautiful example of person-centered care.”

Area Impact award
This award honors an individual or organization whose work has contributed to improving American Indian and Alaska Native health care or effected change on an area or regional basis.

  • Amy Foote, Alaska Native Medical Center Executive Chef, NANA Management Services

Amy Foote’s passion for traditional foods and offering them to patients and Elders is unsurpassed. Amy works with partners around Alaska to build the traditional foods program at Alaska Native Medical Center, including the Alaska Professional Hunters Association. She doubled traditional offerings, which are nourishing, improve quality of life, and provide a taste of home for our people, especially when ANMC patients are already far from home. Foote regularly attends cultural gatherings and spends time with Elders, a key to the success of the program.

The awards were presented during the 35th Annual National Tribal Health Conference in Oklahoma City. The National Tribal Health Conference is the largest American Indian and Alaska Native-specific gathering each year focused specifically on health. The conference focuses on exploring health policy and its impact on Tribes, advancing Tribal capacity to expand own policy work, and policy and political work in the arenas of health care, public, behavioral, and environmental health.

For more information about the National Indian Health Board, visit

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