The Indian Health Service, or IHS, provides healthcare to more than 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives. These individuals live in 36 states, mostly in the western part of the country, and belong to 567 tribes. American Indians and Alaska natives face significant disparities in their access to healthcare and the degree to which they are affected by disease. A locum tenens assignment with the IHS will put you in a unique position to help increase access to care and decrease morbidity and mortality rates among this population. By providing care to these at-risk groups, you will have the opportunity to visit destinations with beautiful scenery and exciting national parks. Read on to learn about five beautiful IHS destinations you could experience while working as a locum tenens provider.
Northern Navajo Medical Center, Shiprock, New Mexico
Located where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico come together to form the Four Corners area, the Northern Navajo Medical Center provides health services to more than 80,000 Native Americans. The facility provides inpatient and outpatient services for men, women, and children. Outreach services include public health nursing, health promotion and disease prevention, and benefits coordination. On your days off you can enjoy a myriad of outdoors activities in beautiful destinations such as Ship Rock (pictured), Grand Gulch, Telluride, Canyonlands Durango, and the Colorado and San Juan Rivers. Cross-country and alpine skiing, hiking, biking, and fishing are all just a short drive away. Immerse yourself in local culture by attending powwows, rodeos, and the Northern Navajo Nation Fair.
Gallup Indian Medical Center, Gallup, New Mexico
Gallup Indian Medical Center is a much larger facility located on the edge of the Navajo Reservation. It is a 99-bed hospital that has nearly 6,000 admissions each year; its outpatient encounters total a quarter of a million. GIMC employs specialists in orthopedics, cardiology, ENT, pediatrics, ophthalmology, psychiatry, among others. Gallup, which a population of 23,000, is two hours west of Albuquerque, a hub of cultural activity. Excellent hiking, backpacking, and camping can be found in the plateaus and mountains near Gallup, and Red Rock Park is just 9 miles from Gallup.
Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit, San Fidel, New Mexico
The Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna Service Unit is located in San Fidel, New Mexico, about an hour west of Albuquerque. This facility has an emergency department, outpatient clinics, and inpatient units. ACL provides women’s health and pediatric services, as well. To the north of San Fidel is Mount Taylor; there are opportunities to hike, camp, and take in the beautiful scenery of the surrounding mountains and mesas.
Hopi Health Care Center, Polacca, Arizona
Located in Polacca, Arizona, the Hopi Health Care Center provides 24-hour emergency department, behavior health, and health promotion/disease prevention services to the Hopi tribe. A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is always readily available. There is also an Emergency Response Team for community catastrophes and a Crisis Response Team for behavioral health events. Outreach services include diabetes management, physical therapy, dental care, and optometry. Polacca is known for its pottery and rich history, and is located on First Mesa. The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is a little over two hours south; Flagstaff is two hours west.
Lawton Indian Hospital, Lawton, Oklahoma
The Lawton Indian Hospital in Lawton, Oklahoma, is a 26-bed facility that serves more than 25,000 Native Americans. It offers inpatient, outpatient, and community health services to men, women, and children of the Apache, Fort Sill Apache, Comanche, Caddo, Kiowa, and Wichita tribes. Each year, the center has more than 100,000 outpatient encounters and 800 admissions. Lawton-Fort Sill is the third-largest metropolitan city in Oklahoma. The active Army base of Fort Sill contributes to its prominence as a cultural and economic center in the region. There are small lakes and mountains in the surrounding area just waiting to be explored. In fact, the facility is less than an hour’s drive to the Wichita Mountains.
Start Your Adventure Today
If one of the above locum tenens destinations caught your eye, or if you’d like to learn more about Indian Health Service facilities around the U.S., contact an experienced recruiter at NEXTLocums today.