Native women working for wellness
Members of Cherokee, Creek tribes praised for dedication
Native American Times 9/7/2006
A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is the top American Indian physician, according to an organization representing Native doctors, and a Cherokee woman from the Oklahoma town of Muskogee is being lauded for her efforts to assist Indian Country’s poor people.
Dr. Kelly Moore was declared 2006 “Indian Physician of the Year” during the Association of American Indian Physicians’ annual conference in St. Paul, Minn.
Moore’s “support of [the association], her contributions to the organization’s activities, and her outstanding personal accomplishments as an American Indian physician were recognized with this award,” said association executive director Margaret Knight.
Moore said she was “honored to receive this award,” and pledged to “continue my support to the mission…in the pursuit of excellence in Native American healthcare. It is also my privilege to continue to work with our members to inspire and motivate American Indian and Alaska Native students to become our next generation of medical professionals and health policy leaders.”
A 1983 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Moore is a clinical consultant with the Indian Health Service Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention in Albuquerque. She began her career with HIS on the Navajo reservation in Arizona, eventually moving to become clinical director and sole pediatrician for the Pima Indians of the Gila River Indian Community of southern Arizona. While there, she became interested in the growing public health concern of type 2 diabetes in American Indian youth and began her first experience in clinical research. Since that time Moore has worked in HIS as a medical administrator and diabetes consultant.
Also on the frontlines working to provide healthcare to disadvantaged tribal members is Dawn A. Kelly, an HIS optometrist. Kelly, a uniformed officer of the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, works on five Native American reservations in the Southwest, two of which are designated as “isolated hardship locations”-a government term meaning, as the name suggests, communities where poverty is a pervasive problem. She iscurrently based in the Arizona town of Parker.
Kelly said she views her work in the areas a “taking care of family.”
The corps aims to dispatch trained healthcare professionals to needy areas and have them respond to emergencies and provide patient care.