Roselyn Tso (Navajo) won approval from the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs this week, advancing her nomination to serve as director of the Indian Health Service (IHS). Her nomination is now ready for consideration by the full Senate. 

Tso, who was nominated by President Joe Biden in March, is in line to serve as the most senior federal official for Native health if her nomination passes the full Senate. She would be charged with developing IHS policy and fulfilling the organization’s mission to improve health outcomes in Indian Country. Her nomination passed the Committee by voice vote, and has won bipartisan support.    

“From her careful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Navajo service area, to her dedication and commitment to sustaining and improving Native communities’ health outcomes, it is clear that Ms. Tso is qualified to serve in this position,” Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said in a statement. “Notably, Ms. Tso committed to being responsible for educating other HHS agencies on the federal government’s special political and trust relationship with Native Hawaiians, who receive healthcare services through HHS, and to work on improving healthcare outcomes for Native Hawaiians. I urge my fellow members of the Committee to support Ms. Tso’s nomination.”

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who is vice chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, supported Tso’s nomination.    

“I will be supporting the nomination of Ms. Tso for the Director of the Indian Health Service. She and her family are American Indians who rely on the IHS for their healthcare. She gets it. It’s personal for her,” Murkowski said in a statement. “She has served in the IHS for over 30 years, demonstrating her commitment to the agency’s mission and that she has the experience to lead the Service. I look forward to working with her and know that she will be committed to helping Alaska Natives, American Indians, and Native Hawaiians.”

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