Cherokee Nation Names New Executive Director of Health Services

Dr. Charles Grim

Published April 16, 2018

TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation citizen Dr. Charles Grim has been named the new executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services.

Grim, of Hulbert, was appointed to the position this week by Principal Chief Bill John Baker. He will oversee operations of the largest tribal health care system in the country, including 2,400 employees and patient services at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah and eight tribal health centers. The Cherokee Nation has more than a million patient visits per year.

Grim served as deputy executive director before being named interim executive director in November 2017.

“As an administrator, Dr. Grim is uniquely qualified to lead our health department and ensure we provide the best health care possible for Cherokees in northeast Oklahoma,” Chief Baker said. “Today, Cherokee Nation’s health system is more proficient and responsive than ever, and Dr. Grim understands the treatment and prevention needs of our people. His experience, leadership and expertise have paved the way for health care that will meet the diverse needs of the Cherokee Nation going forward.”

Grim graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry in 1983 and is board certified in dental public health. In addition, he also received a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of Michigan.

During his career, Grim was appointed as the director of Indian Health Service by President George W. Bush and received unanimous Senate confirmation. Dr. Grim administered the nationwide multi-billion dollar health care delivery program from August 2002 until September 2007.

In his more than 25 years of services to IHS, Grim also served as an assistant surgeon general and rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

“I feel very honored to be appointed this role and for the opportunity to continue to lead a team that I have held close to my heart for a number of years,” Grim said. “As both an employee and a Cherokee Nation citizen, I appreciate Chief Baker and his vision for the future of the tribe’s health care system and I look forward to what we will all accomplish together for the health of our Cherokee Nation citizens.”

During his nine years at the Cherokee Nation, Grim has been instrumental in a number of projects, including the 469,000-square-foot joint venture project with the Indian Health Service, the largest joint venture in IHS history. He has also been working closely with the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine on developing an eastern Oklahoma campus of the medical college at Cherokee Nation.

In addition to serving as executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services, Grim also currently serves on the Oklahoma State Board of Health.

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