Outreach Program with IHS
Covid19 reached Navajo Nation in March, 2020. Navajo Nation, with a population of 173,000, had the highest rates of infection and death due to Covid19 during the surge. There are compounding social, economic, and cultural factors in addition to pre-existing health conditions that have made this disease more likely to spread in Navajo Nation. The great news is Navajo Nation now leads the country in vaccination rates! The Outreach Program with IHS has been supporting this tribal community and the IHS providers throughout the pandemic and vaccine efforts with ongoing clinical, mental health and educational support. We are also a pipeline for much needed PPE and supplies for providers and care essentials for the community We are hoping to raise funds to continue this vital support.
Outreach Program mission:
Brigham Health providers volunteering with the Outreach Program work with clinical colleagues in the Navajo Area IHS facilities in rural New Mexico and Arizona. These facilities serve patients residing on or near the Navajo reservation in rural New Mexico and Arizona. Together, these hospitals care for over 100,000 Navajo patients, in a setting where up to one-third of patients do not have access to indoor plumbing or electricity and nearly one-half live below the federal poverty level. The nearest referral hospitals are located hours away, often proving inaccessible to patients. Our faculty volunteers travel to the Navajo reservation to provide direct patient care, to train IHS physicians and expand their capacity to provide more complex care in specialty conditions. Additionally, we support additional clinical education through bi-monthly remote CME conferences linking the BWH with the IHS sites in a simultaneous and live broadcast. The final component of the Outreach Program involves hosting IHS physicians in Boston to experience cutting edge medicine and training within our own hospital.
Specialty services not previously available to IHS physicians and their patients are now possible—including a new skin clinic, suboxone clinic, advanced training in the care of infants, management of common orthopedic trauma, cognitive-behavioral therapy, substance use disorder training and chronic disease management for complex conditions including advanced congestive heart failure, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
We are grateful to all the generous supporters who have helped sustain this vital program.