Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
The Senate has voted last night under Unanimous Consent to confirm Roselyn Tso as the Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS). Tso was nominated to the position by President Biden on March 10, 2022 and appeared before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) on May 25, 2022.
Tso is a member of the Navajo Nation and has served in professional roles with the IHS since 1984. She currently serves as the Director of the Navajo Area of IHS.
“We appreciate the efforts that were made to fill this important position and are anxious to discuss our priorities with Director Tso. The absence of an IHS Director has inhibited our ability to effectively advocate for our priorities and concerns,” said USET SPF President Kirk Francis. “We look forward to working together to advance and protect Tribal sovereignty and self-governance, as well as improve the federal government’s execution of trust and treaty obligations.”
Prior to Tso’s nomination, USET SPF sent a letter to SCIA leadership expressing the qualities and policy priorities that we hoped to see in an IHS Director. USET SPF believes strongly that an effective IHS Director will maintain a commitment to Tribal self-governance, Tribal Consultation and fully delivering upon federal trust and treaty responsibilities and obligations.
It is vital that the IHS Director keep Tribal Nations and their priorities at the forefront of her upcoming work. While the Biden Administration has made historic progress on Tribal Consultation, Tribal Nations continue to push for comprehensive changes to the way the IHS is both funded and operated.
FY 2023 will provide historic opportunities to affect some of these changes, including efforts to transition the IHS to advance appropriations. In the long term, USET SPF remains committed to seeing that all federal Indian programs be funded on a mandatory basis and in full. USET SPF looks forward to working with Director Tso on these vital policy priorities.
USET SPF commends the IHS for their hard work in filling this position over the last several months, and we wish Director Tso the best in this key position. The path forward will not be easy, but USET SPF looks forward to partnering with Director Tso to advance the inherent sovereign rights of Tribal Nations and achieve equity for the Indian Healthcare System.
For more information, please contact Ashton Martin, USET SPF Health Policy Analyst, at firstname.lastname@example.org.