Diabetes Forecast

ADA Volunteer Nominated to Head the Indian Health Service

By Katie Bunker ,

March 24 — President Barack Obama today nominated Yvette Roubideaux, MD, MPH, a diabetes researcher and longtime American Diabetes Association volunteer on Native American issues, to be director of the Indian Health Service.

Roubideaux, 46, of Tucson, Ariz., is a physician and an assistant professor in the University of Arizona College of Medicine's Department of Family and Community Medicine. Roubideaux has been recognized not only for her research on health policy and diabetes in Native Americans and Alaska Natives but also for her volunteer work. Last year she received ADA's Addison B. Scoville Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. Roubideaux served on ADA's Awakening the Spirit Team for nearly a decade, ultimately chairing the committee. The group was a leader in the national advocacy effort that won congressional reauthorization last year of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians at the National Institutes of Health through 2011, as part of a $600 million boost in federal funding for diabetes research, prevention, and treatment.

"The SDPI funding has resulted in almost 400 new diabetes treatment and prevention programs in Indian communities across the country," Roubideaux told Diabetes Forecast last year. "Evaluation of the program has shown increased access to services and reductions in intermediate outcomes of diabetes care, such as decreases in A1C levels in people with diabetes." (A1C is an estimate of a person's average blood glucose over the past three months.)

Roubideaux, a member of the Rosebud Sioux tribe, was herself an Indian Health Service patient as a child in South Dakota and went on to work in the service as a medical officer and clinical director on the San Carlos Indian Reservation and in the Gila River Indian Community. From 2000 to 2002, she served on the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary's Advisory Committee on Minority Health. She is a past president of the Association of American Indian Physicians.

Her appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.



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