Retired board member Cathy Abramson was this year’s recipient of the NIHB Jake White Crow Award for her outstanding achievements in tribal health. Above, she holds her award wearing the blanket she was honored with during the award ceremony.
Published November 4, 2016
WASHINGTON – The National Indian Health Board has the honor of working with some of the best and brightest advocates for American Indian and Alaska Native health. Every year, NIHB takes pride in highlighting, on a national platform, some of the great work occurring throughout Indian Country. NIHB’s Jake White Crow Award recognizes an individual with outstanding lifetime achievements in elevating health care advocacy, raising awareness, or affecting change for American Indian and Alaska Native Health care.
NIHB announced this year’s Jake White Crow Award winner as Cathy Abramson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Abramson was chosen for her extensive advocacy and service over the last three decades. Abramson represented the Bemidji area tribes (Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota) on the National Indian Health Board and served as the board chairperson for several years.
Abramson, who retired earier this year, also served on the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC) as the first female chairperson, where she was able to advance tribal priorities directly with the Secretary of the HHS. In 2010, she received the IHS Director’s Special Recognition Award in Tribal Leadership and Partnership.
After serving on the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Board of Directors for the past 20 years, Abramson chose not to run again.
For the second year in a row, Sault Tribe Health Director Bonnie Culfa garnered a Local Impact Award, which acknowledges work that affected change and impacted health care on the local tribal level. Culfa retired October 21.
Abramson and Culfa were recognized, along with other awardees, on Sept. 21 in Scottsdale, Ariz., during the Heroes in Native Health Awards Gala at NIHB’s National Tribal Nations Annual Health Conference.