Wellness of members of the Choctaw Nation has been a key priority to me for many years. It was a great honor to serve as the Director of Health, and gave me the insight and the ability to shape a needed vision to equip our Nation to implement health living practices, state of the art health services, and work with health care partners to improve health outcomes for our tribal members. From constructing the Choctaw Nation Health Care Center, building clinics to serve Idabel, Stigler, McAlester, Broken Bow and Atoka, forging partnerships with health care providers and organizations such as the development of REACH, to adding mail-order pharmacy, orthopedics, ophthalmology and a host of other services, our ability to aid our tribal members in receiving first rate medical services continues to grow.
In the short time since becoming Chief, the priority of improving the health of our tribal members is evident. The Choctaw Nation has assumed management of a Durant health clinic operation, an expansion is underway for the Poteau Clinic, and Wellness Centers have opened in Atoka, Crowder, Idabel, and Broken Bow. The Going Leaninitiative focuses on healthy lifestyles to combat the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in our community.
Chief Batton’s expertise on health issues is widely recognized. He has represented the Choctaw Nation on multiple boards, including the National Budget Committee for Indian Health Service, The Tribal Technical Advisory Committee for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Health Service Corps National Advisory Council, and the Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Advocates.
I recognize that the future of our nation depends on the health of our people, and we must face and overcome ongoing challenges of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease with stalwart resolve. I am determined to continue investing in programs that will improve lives through improving health services, from preventative care, healthy lifestyle programs, behavioral health and medical care. With new technologies, advanced capabilities, and well-trained staff, we are making a real difference in making sure that our tribe grows healthy and strong for the future.