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National Indian health director visits Poarch

By By Sherry Digmon
Advance Staff Writer
One of the highest ranking government officials ever to visit this area was a guest of the Poarch Creek Indians Monday.
Dr. Michael Trujillo, director of the Indian Health Service (IHS), toured the reservation and discussed the coordination of funding resources and strategic planning with tribal leaders. He was particularly interested in the tribe's health clinic and health education facilities.
Health concerns at Poarch are the same as those among all tribes, Dr. Trujillo said.
Other major concerns are injuries and deaths from accidents, rising incidents of cardiovascular diseases and alcohol and drug abuse.
Dr. Trujillo's department serves more than 558 tribes in the United States. Under his leadership, the IHS is responsible for providing health care to approximately 1.5 million of the nation's 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Dr. Trujillo has the distinction of being the first president-appointed and Senate-confirmed director of IHS for the Department of Health and Human Services.
As director of the Indian Health Service, he is an Assistant Surgeon General and holds the rank of Rear Admiral in the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service.
The director's position may change in the near future.
Dr. Trujillo was the guest of honor at a reception Monday afternoon at Poarch Creek Enterprises. PCI Health Administrator Buford Rolin, who has worked with Dr. Trujillo on a national level for several years, had invited several business, civic and political leaders to attend and meet Dr. Trujillo.
Rolin serves on the National Indian Health Board. For the past four years, he has served as chairman. Though his term as chairman ended in December, he remains on the board and executive committee.
Rolin said working with someone of Dr. Trujillo's caliber has been an honor and he looks forward to continuing their good working relationship in the future.
Rolin accompanied Dr. Trujillo to Mississippi Tuesday to visit tribes there.