Dear USET/USET SPF Family,
Roselyn Tso, the newly confirmed and sworn in Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS), published her first Dear Tribal Leader Letter on September 29, 2022. In her letter, she introduced herself and highlighted a few of her initial priorities.
Director Tso stated her excitement for the opportunity and affirmed that she is committed to raising the health status of all Native Americans to the highest level. She asserted that while the IHS has made great progress in improving healthcare services, there are also areas that need improvement. Tso also stated that she plans to share more information about her priorities for the role in the coming weeks. In her letter, Tso only reiterated previously stated priorities of “communication, alignment of resources to priorities, and streamlining business and operational processes” in an effort to improve “IHS oversight and accountability.”
USET SPF has been critical in the past of Director Tso’s brevity on the topic of her priorities, as well as her silence on Tribal Self-Governance and Self-Determination. While her letter states that she is committed to working closely with Tribal and Urban Indian Organization partners to improve her understanding of the system, the continued lack of clarity surrounding her position on Tribal Self-Governance is both worrisome and frustrating for Tribal Nations. Tribal Sovereignty is vital, inherent, and non-negotiable, and as such should be a central tenet of an IHS Director’s priorities. Throughout the nomination and confirmation process, USET SPF has consistently advocated for more information regarding Director Tso’s positions and priorities.
Now that Director Tso is officially sworn in, USET SPF looks forward to sharing our priorities and vision for the future of the IHS with her. USET SPF will continue to be a consistent advocate for Tribal Self-Governance and Self-Determination within the Indian Health Service and the broader health system.
For more information, contact Ashton Martin, USET SPF Health Policy Analyst, at email@example.com.