Earlier this month, Indian Health Service’s (IHS) newly tapped director Roselyn Tso (Diné) launched a tour across Indian Country to gain a better perspective on national and regional issues affecting the tribal members served by the Indian health system.

Tso plans to visit the entire IHS service area within 45 days, according to an IHS statement. She began the tour the week of Oct. 13 at the IHS Mashpee Wampanoag Service Unit in Massachusetts and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation’s clinic in Connecticut. She has since visited sites in northern California, South Dakota, Oregon and Alaska.

 Last week, Tso tweeted about her visit to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage, Alaska.

 “They have quite an impressive health program, with Alaska Natives visiting their facility for care from across the state,” Tso wrote. “We also met with Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska’s senior U.S. Senator.”

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The IHS says it will use the information gathered from the tour to address challenges and build on progress to support best practices and innovative approaches to health care, strengthen management operations, improve communication and inform leadership as they set priorities for the agency. Tso plans to visit more sites in the coming year.

 “When I first started as the IHS director, I said I would strive to protect and enhance our relationship with tribal leaders, tribal governments and urban Indian health partners,” Tso said in a statement. “We can best accomplish this by an improved understanding of tribal health and urban Indian health care systems and their needs. That is why this tour is important to me as I gain an understanding of the needs and challenges across Indian Country. This is my way of opening the door to better communication across the agency.”

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