Congratulations to the 2018 IHS Director’s Awards Recipients

IHS Director’s Awards Individual Category

Shout out Chitimacha Tribal Nation citizen Karen Matthews from Nashville Area!!

the 2018 IHS Director’s Award Recipients. These are the highest awards issued by the IHS to individuals and groups. Out of the nearly 150 nominations received, 93 nominations (for individuals and groups) were selected totaling more than 750 IHS employees and representing all 12 areas from across the agency.

IHS employees tackle some of America’s toughest challenges – responding to health crises around the country, establishing preventive measures to curb diabetes, fighting drug resistant bacterial infections, and combating the opioid epidemic. These issues plague some of our most vulnerable populations, and IHS employees always answer the call to service. Our collective work at IHS makes a positive difference to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Job well done to all awardees, nominees and IHS employees.

Please help me in recognizing our colleagues on the exceptional work they have done. They demonstrate the very essence of public service and we would truly like to thank them for their dedication to the IHS mission.

We will be honoring the 2018 IHS Director’s Award recipients at IHS Headquarters on Friday, June 21, 2019 at 1:00 pm (EST). If you are in the Rockville area, come honor your friends and colleagues as they receive these prestigious IHS awards. 

For those not able to join us in Maryland, the event will be livestreamed at

Congratulations to all the awardees!

IHS Director’s Special Recognition Award

Special Recognition National Council Leadership Award

Dr. Jean Howe

Special Recognition Tribal Leader/Partnership Award

Phyllis Davis

Victor Joseph, Chairman of TCC

Janice Clements

Special Recognition Urban Leadership Award

Carmelita Skeeter, CEO, Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa

Special Recognition Award

Elizabeth Fowler (Oklahoma)

Richard Gerry (Bemidji)

Dixie Gaikowski (Tucson)

Ann Church (Headquarters)

Bruce Finke, M.D. (Nashville)

RADM Kevin Meeks (Headquarters)

IHS Director’s Fostering Relationships Award Individual Category

CDR Sherry Lulf (Great Plains)

Miranda Williams (Navajo)

Gary Russell-King (Navajo)

LCDR Kristie Purdy (Oklahoma)

Monte Yazzie (Phoenix)

Sandra Patterson (Portland)

IHS Director’s Fostering Relationships Award Team Category

Red Lake Hospital Pharmacy Department (Bemidji)

White Earth Federal Employees Association Committee (Bemidji)

Healthy Native Food Coalition (Great Plains)

Property and Supply Department (Great Plains)

IHS Partnership Conference OIT & ORAP (Headquarters)

OIT New Medicare Card Project Team (Headquarters)

IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program (Headquarters)

Choctaw Nation Health Services Quality Department (Oklahoma)

Chickasaw Nation Packed Promise Team (Oklahoma)

Supai Behavioral Health Interagency Collaborative (Phoenix)

PIMC Executive Nurse Leadership Team (Phoenix)

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and IHS Ambulatory Care Clinic (Portland)

IHS Director’s Awards Individual Category

CDR Shad Schoppert (Alaska)

Dr. Freddy Kaniki (Alaska)

Paula Poncho (Alaska)

Paul Gurule (Albuquerque)

LCDR Dena Smith (Bemidji)

Ryan Macdonald (Billings)

Torrey Darkenwald (Billings)

Beverly Notah (Billings)

Valerie Canfield (California)

Kelly Stephenson (California)

Rachel Harvey (California)

CAPT Jon Schuchardt (Great Plains)

CDR Barbara Asher (Great Plains)

LCDR Michael Shilhanek (Great Plains)

Jennifer Fry (Headquarters)

Dr. Paul Fowler (Headquarters)

Dr. Susy Postal (Headquarters)

Bruce Finke, M.D. (Nashville)

Karen Matthews (Nashville)

Denise Odegaard (Nashville)

Dr. Diana DeLeon (Navajo)

Ksenija Topic (Navajo)

CDR Chandima Deegala (Navajo)

CAPT Greggory Woitte (Oklahoma)

Carla Despain (Oklahoma)

Melissa Gower (Oklahoma)

CDR Scott Fillerup (Phoenix)

Kevin Long (Phoenix)

Stephanie Aird (Phoenix)

Asha Petoskey (Portland)

Teressa Martinez, ARNP (Portland)

Philippe Champagne, M.D. (Portland)

IHS Director’s Awards Team Category

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Leadership Consultative Team (Alaska)

Public Health Nursing Council Members (Albuquerque)

Santa Fe Service Unit Safety First! Safety Culture Development Program (Albuquerque)

Red Lake Mammography Team (Bemidji)

Red Lake Revenue Enhancement Team (Bemidji)

Billings Area Quality Managers Team (Billings)

California Area Office – SFC & EHS (California)

Belcourt Service Unit Pharmacy Department (Great Plains)

Pine Ridge Hospital Pharmacy Department (Great Plains)

Rapid City Service Unit Laboratory Department (Great Plains)

Office of Urban Indian Health Programs (Headquarters)

Coordinators of the IHS Pharmacy Leadership Training Program (Headquarters)

IHS Strategic Plan Workgroup (Headquarters)

IHS National Committee on Heroin, Opioids, and Pain Efforts (Headquarters)

OIT Promoting Interoperability Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (Headquarters)

Headquarters Information Systems Security Officers Team (Headquarters)

American Indian Medical Home Workgroup (Navajo)

Ni’hi Diné Bá Wellness Department Leadership Team (Navajo)

Lawton Indian Hospital Pharmacy Residency Program (Oklahoma)

National Supply Service Center Emergency Response Team (Oklahoma)

PIMC HIV Center of Excellence (Phoenix)

Whiteriver Hospital Primary Care Medical Home – Achieving Superb Access (Phoenix)

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community and Didgʷálič Wellness Center Team (Portland)

Wellpinit Service Unit Pharmacy Department (Portland)

Sanitation Facilities Construction (Tucson)

USPHS Commissioned Corps Honor Awards

CDR Christopher Piromalli (Alaska)

CDR Leigh Hubbard III (Alaska)

CDR Troy Ritter (Alaska)

CAPT Rebecca Pollis (Alaska)

LCDR Praveen K.C. (Alaska)

CDR Renee Robinson (Alaska)

CDR Molly Rutledge (Alaska)

CAPT Ted Hall (Bemidji)

CAPT Barbara Cohn (Billings)

LCDR Elliot Klapperich (Great Plains)

LCDR Ladonna Lock (Great Plains)

LCDR Matthew McClung (Great Plains)

CDR Craig Morin (Great Plains)

LCDR Roger Liu (Great Plains)

RADM Francis Frazier (Headquarters)

CDR Jeff McCollum (Headquarters)

CAPT David McMahon (Headquarters)

CAPT Nancy Bill (Headquarters)

CAPT Steve Raynor (Headquarters)

CAPT Jeffrey Salvon-Harmon (Headquarters)

LCDR Carolyn Pumares (Navajo)

LCDR Glenn Foster (Navajo)

CAPT Kelly Battese (Oklahoma)

CDR Julie Erb-Alvarez (Oklahoma)

LCDR Kristie Purdy (Oklahoma)

LCDR Karsten Smith (Oklahoma)

CDR Dena Wilson (Phoenix)

CDR Mizraim Mendoza (Phoenix)

CDR Andrea Woolridge (Phoenix)

LT Steven Owens (Phoenix)

CAPT Jeffrey Richardson (Phoenix)

CDR Craig Haugland (Portland)

CDR Mark Black (Portland)

LCDR Lars Krusholm (Tucson)

LCDR Eric Oduro (Tucson)


Geraldine Butler (Albuquerque)

Charlotte Briggs (Albuquerque)

Vickie Lente (Albuquerque)

Juliana Sandy (Albuquerque)

Kerry Nickou (Billings)

Mary Wall (Billings)

Madonna Cuny (Great Plains)

Genie Ellis (Great Plains)

Ann Prairie Chicken (Great Plains)

Brenda Hall (Headquarters)

Virginia Woodie (Navajo)

Pearl Tom (Navajo)

Wesley Kinsel (Navajo)

Elouise Smith (Navajo)

Linda Watson (Navajo)

Cecelia Peters (Navajo)

Norma Benally (Navajo)

Robert Curley (Navajo)

Nola Naha (Phoenix)

Kathleen Sage (Phoenix)

Loretta Ondelacy (Phoenix)

Mari Allen (Phoenix)

Lyna Cosay (Phoenix)

Shirley Altaha (Phoenix)

Charlene Gishie (Phoenix)

Majel Schurz (Phoenix)

Juliana Makil (Phoenix)

Perry Tsosie (Phoenix)


Rosita Chimoni (Albuquerque)                                                  Lois Lewis (Phoenix)

Bruce Fritzler (Billings)                                                                Thana Sinquah (Phoenix)

Julia Nelson (Navajo)                                                                   Annie Silversmith (Phoenix)

Sylvia Morgan (Navajo)

Rose McReeves (Navajo)


Emerald Janis (Great Plains)

David Johnson (Navajo)

Katie Yellowfish (Oklahoma)

HHS Green Champion Award Winners for IHS

Energy and Fleet Management—Team Award

IHS Phoenix Indian Medical Utility Energy Service Contract (Phoenix)

Good Neighbor—Team Award

IHS Remote Monitoring Program (Alaska)

Sustainable Design and Facilities—Team Award

IHS Fort Yuma Care Center Replacement (California)

Sustainable Design and Facilities—Team Award

IHS Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Lighting Renovation (Alaska)

Wellness Award—Team Award

IHS Healthy Native Food Coalition (Great Plains)

If you have any questions related to the Director’s Awards, please e-mail: