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Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, Rosebud Sioux, has been appointed director of the Indian Health Service, within the Department of Health and Human Services.

Well known for her extensive work on diabetes and health policy in Indian country, Roubideaux is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

Roubideaux, 46, decided to become a doctor in order to help improve the quality of healthcare for American Indians. She recalls waiting between four to six hours to see Indian Health Services physicians as a child. In a profile by the National Institute on Health, she describes the IHS system as severely underfunded and understaffed.

Roubideaux provided testimony before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in 2000 for the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act. Republican lawmakers repeatedly voted against the Act during the G.W. Bush administration.  Leaders in Indian country are hopeful that Roubideaux’s appointment will lead to the eventual passing of this legislation.

Roubideaux received her MD from the Harvard Medical School and a Masters in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. She also served on President Obama’s transition team.

A recipient of several awards for her work on diabetes and health policy for American Indians, she was co-editor of the American Public Health Association’s book, “Promises to Keep: Public Health Policy for American Indians and Alaska Native in the 21st Century.”

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