Thank you to everyone who made the 2014 Annual Consumer Conference a great success!

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NIHB - 2014 Annual Consumer Conference
Advancing Native Health Care through Consultation, Technology and Tradition
September 8-11, 2014

Award Winners

Every year the National Indian Health Board recognizes our heroes for their phenomenal contributions and achievements toward improving and advancing American Indian and Alaska Native health across the country. We regard each and every one of our award winners with the deepest admiration and respect for their service and efforts toward improving Indian health disparities at the grassroots level, to the National, and beyond.

Each of our award winners are all true heroes in Indian health. Every individual recognized works tirelessly throughout the year to raise awareness, deliver care, advocate for improved care and affect change in our communities. We are honored to recognize their hard work and share in the appreciation of their accomplishments. These special awards are our way of thanking the awardees for all that they have done, and all that they will do, for our People in the years to come.

Local Impact Award Winners

Local Impact Awards

Acknowledge an individual or organization whose work has affected change or impacted health care on the local and/or Tribal level. These recipients are making an impact within their own communities at the grassroots level by serving their families, friends, and neighbors.

  • Angie Dearing, Director of Operations, Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, for her coordination of the implementation of the clinic’s Electronic Health Record and for the signification initiatives and projects that she spearheaded, improving patient care delivery and quality.
  • Valonia Hardy, Chief of Healthy Living and Outreach, Tse'hootsooi Medical Center, for her department’s success in implementing community outreach activities.
  • Lorraine Jackson, Chair, Copper River Native Association, for her willingness to step forward and help meet the needs of the Alaska Native Health Board while consistently advocating for her community.
  • Dr. Leland Leonard, CEO, Tse’hootsooi Medical Center and Nahata Dzill Health Clinic, for his leadership in creating an Integrated Healthcare System to be shared in Indian Country, aiming to eliminate waste and provide innovative health information and care by aligning all resources within a community.
  • Jim Platero, Tribal Administrator, Canoncito Band of Navajos Health Center, for his work to improve the health of his community by managing and ensuring the continued funding of programs.
  • Rachel Sorrell, Chief Financial Officer, Tse'hootsooi Medical Center, for her work behind the scenes to ensure the organization is financially effective and efficient.
  • Amber Torres, Vice Chair, Walker River Paiute Tribe, for her tireless work to get community members to sign up to obtain Nevada State Medicaid with the ACA expansion and other health insurance plans, enabling many community members to obtain healthcare that was previously unavailable.
  • Southwest Tribal Institutional Review Board, for providing the critically needed support for Tribes to approve, require modification to, or disapprove all health research activities taking place in Southwest Tribal communities.
  • Amos Tripp (posthumous), for devoting his entire adult life to serving his people and community, including his 22 years of service to the United Indian Health Services as the Staff Attorney.
  • Suanne Unger, Environmental Health Research Coordinator, Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, for authoring Qaqamiigux: Traditional Foods and Recipes from the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands, which is full of historical, nutritional and cultural information on food harvesting, preservation, preparation and recipes.
  • Winslow Indian Health Care Center Board of Directors, for successfully managing the Health Center, with increases in patient visits, budget, and staff. The Board also built a new medical facility without help from the federal government.
Area/Regional Impact Award Winners

Area/Regional Impact Awards

Pay tribute to an individual or organization whose work has contributed to improving American Indian and Alaska Native health care or affected change on an area or regional basis. These heroes are making a difference in multiple states, serving those in their IHS Area or region.

  • Albuquerque Area Indian Health Audiology Program, for the tireless work to develop a tele-audiology model to allow audiologists the ability to serve more patients and expand their services.
  • Alaska Native Medical Center Hazardous Medication Safety Team, for their commitment to enhancing and promotion of health safety and education.
  • Karen Caindec, Board Secretary/Treasurer, Southcentral Foundation, for her impact on the growing body of health research overseen by the Southcentral Foundation as a Native American Research Center for Health.
  • Jerilyn LeBeau Church, MSW, Chief Executive Officer, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board (GPTCHB), for her significant contributions to advancing American Indian and Alaska Native health throughout her career.
  • RADM Richie K. Grinnell, Albuquerque Area IHS Director, for his continued dedication to work alongside the 27 Pueblo and Tribal communities in the Albuquerque Area.
  • Elizabeth Malerba and Elizabeth Neptune, for their tireless work to provide outreach and education on the Affordable Care Act to Nashville Area I/T/Us since 2012.
  • Angela Manderfeld, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Certified Pump Trainer, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, for her efforts to organize a high quality local conference that gives Tribal partners increased access to evidence based diabetes information.
  • Monique Martin, Government Relations Specialist, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), for her work on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As part of ANTHC’s ACA Outreach Team, Monique has been invaluable as a Navigator.
  • Ann Marie Mayer, Nurse Practitioner, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, for her exceptional level of energy, creativity, and perseverance to the development of the ANTHC Diabetes Program.
  • Meera Narayanan, Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, for her work to maintain the Alaska Native Diabetes Registry, the only one of its kind in the Tribal health system, using rigorous diagnostic standards and data management techniques.
  • Judy Thompson, Pharmacist and Diabetes Educator, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, for her leadership that provided momentum for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) reauthorization which had a positive impact on diabetes care and prevention in the state of Alaska.
  • Lawanda Quinnell, Tribal Secretary, Elk Valley Rancheria, for her advocacy for Tribal children, including ensuring access to early education and child care.
California Rural Indian Health Board

Carolyn Crowder


Lee Olsen

National Impact Awards

Honor an individual or organization whose work has made an impact on American Indian and Alaska Native health care policy on a National level. The work of each of our National winners touches all of Indian Country and beyond.

  • California Rural Indian Health Board, for more than 40 years of service to Indian Country and their research project that will link CMS data about national use and payment rates for American Indians and Alaska Natives.
  • Jennifer Cooper, ‎Deputy Director, Office of Tribal Self-Governance, Indian Health Service, for exceptional service to advancing Indian Health during the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, Special Diabetes Program for Indians, and through her searing policy analysis and advocacy for Affordable Care Act provisions for Indian Country.
  • Carolyn Crowder, CEO, Sitnasuak Health Solutions, for her work on the Indian Health Service Budget Formulation Workgroup and her Health Information Technology work, helping to ensure American Indians and Alaska Natives remain apprised of developments to better capitalize on new technologies that ensure and improve our ability to capture data.
  • Stacey Ecoffey, Principal Advisor for Tribal Affairs in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs in the Immediate Office of the Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, for her instrumental work towards creating and implementing the first ever Cabinet level department Tribal advisory committee, the Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee.
  • Tierney Lancaster, Special Assistant to Chairman Rolin, Poarch Band of Creek Indians for over 15 years of volunteer service at the National Indian Health Board’s Annual Consumer Conference.
  • Lee Olson, Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Southcentral Foundation, for his involvement in the push and resolution of Contract Support Costs Claims, which led to more than a dozen Tribes securing settlements and benefiting some 150,000 Native people.

Youth Service Awards

Commend a young American Indian or Alaska Native for their leadership and outstanding efforts to increase the quality of healthcare or awareness of health issues within their peer group or community on a local or national level.

  • Aranesa Turner, Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, for using her vocal talents to serve as a positive role model to Native youth, encouraging them to dream big.
  • Ray LeBeau, Pit River Nation, for his creation of a Native youth drum group at the regional Tribal Assistance to Needy Families program.
Valerie Davidson and her daughters

Jake White Crow Award

Recognizes an individual or organization with outstanding lifetime achievements in elevating health care advocacy, raising awareness or affecting change for American Indian and Alaska Native Health care.

  • Valerie “Nurr’araaluk” Davidson, JD, Yup’ik, is an enrolled Tribal member of the Orutsararmiut Native Council. Valerie has worked for over 15 years as a national policy maker on matters affecting Indian health. Most recently, Val served as the Senior Director of Legal and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, where she represented Alaska Native health needs at federal and state levels and advised ANTHC on all leadership matters. Val was also the spokesperson, chief political and legal strategist for ANTHC’s Dental Health Aide Therapy Program, the country’s first mid-level dental program. Through her participation on numerous Compacts, Advisory Groups, Committees, Commissions and Consortiums, Valerie has made a lasting, positive impact on American Indian and Alaska Native health. Most importantly, Valerie enjoys spending time at home with her niece, nephew, and two daughters.
Buford Rolin

Special Awards

  • Buford Rolin, who, from humble beginnings, invested a lifetime of successful service dedicated to improving the health of his Nation and all American Indians and Alaska Native peoples.

    Some of Chairman Rolin’s numerous contributions include: Immediate Past Chairman, Poarch Band of Creek Indians; Former Chairman, and more than 2-decades in service as a member of the Board of Directors, National Indian Health Board; National Co-Chair, Tribal Leaders Advisory Committee for the Reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act; National Tribal Chairman, Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee; United States Delegate for Indian Country, International Healing Our Spirits World Wide.

    The National Indian Health Board and Indian Country are humbled by Buford’s service, enriched by his grace and inspired by his example.

Special Recognition

  • Tom Kauley (posthumously) May 1, 1954 – September 15, 2013

    A member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma and a visionary with an irrepressibly positive spirit, Tom Kauley had over 26 years of experience in providing health and education across Indian Country. He developed Information Technology (IT) systems for enterprises, health project management and business analysis. He served in management roles at the Indian Health Service, state health agencies and university programs. Tom served as the Director of Operations for a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation premier national education initiative - the Gates Millennium Scholars Program. He also served as the inaugural Director of the National Indian Health Board’s ground-breaking national “Regional Extension Center for the Implementation of Electronic Medical Records” for all of Indian Country. His vision, tenacity and competence were instrumental to the successful establishment of state-of-the-art electronic medical record implementation in Indian Country and laid the foundation for important modernizations.

  • Diana Autaubo (posthumously) June 8, 1946 - May 26, 2014

    Board Member and Executive Committee Member, National Indian Health Board; Chairman, Oklahoma City Inter-Tribal Council; Council Woman, Oscese Band of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma

    To serve others was a lifelong passion of Diana’s. She especially enjoyed offering service to those less fortunate. She served as the Director of Health for a number of facilities, as Treasurer of the National Indian Health Board, and as a Council Woman of the Oscese Band of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma.

    Her past work experience included employment as a State Probation and Parole officer in Oklahoma, as well as a dedicated worker for the Pueblo Indians in Taos, New Mexico, where she served as a Health Administrator. Diana was well-respected and was chosen by her peers to serve on the Judicial Committee of the Seminole Nation, a privilege by which she was humbled and also extremely proud.

    She was a leader whose legacy, like all great leaders, is service. She served her Tribal Nation, the Tribes of Oklahoma and Kansas and all of Indian Country.