MTPR

Montana Seeking Director Of American Indian Health

Feb 1, 2016

Today the State of Montana posted an ad for a new position in state government looking for a Director of American Indian Health.

Governor Steve Bullock announced the creation of an office of American Indian Health in June, saying the state needs to address the 20-year gap in life expectancy between white people and Native Americans.

"Too many families are losing entire generations. And with them, we lose essential wisdom and expertise and experience," Bullock said.

The new director of American Indian Health will coordinate with tribal governments and urban Indian centers to identify the causes of the life expectancy gap and develop strategies to reverse them.

That could include developing new protocols, training, services or education initiatives, or it could mean providing technical assistance to tribes.

A 2013 study by the state health department showed that American Indian mortality rates from many illnesses, accidents and violent attacks are higher than white mortality rates.

Crow Tribal Health Director Todd Wilson says the causes of health disparities in Indian Country "are pretty complicated," and will be difficult to solve.