In the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress directed the Indian Health Service (IHS) to develop a strategic plan for the Office of Urban Indian Health Programs with the assistance of the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) and in consultation with Urban Indians. The Academy entered into a contract with IHS (a component agency of the Department of Health and Human Services) to assist in the development of a strategic plan. IHS released the final plan and notified Congress in September of 2017.
A Panel of Academy Fellows guided the work of a professional study team in assisting IHS to develop the strategic plan. Panel members brought expertise in health care, including public health, strategic planning, and general government management. One Panel member is a practicing physician with extensive background in Indian health care issues and is an enrolled member of an Indian Tribe.
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The Academy team conducted extensive outreach and conferred with Urban Indian Organizations (UIOs). Interviews were conducted with the following: Executive Directors or Chief Executive Officers of most IHS-funded UIOs; officials within IHS (including Area urban coordinators); congressional staff; the National Council of Urban Indian Health; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; Health Resources and Services Administration; Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; California Consortium for Urban Indian Health; National Institutes of Health; and the National Indian Health Board. Three in-person confer sessions were held in San Diego, California, and Seattle, Washington and one confer session was held via teleconference. Also, three site visits at UIOs were conducted. Letters were sent to UIOs that do not currently receive funding from the IHS, inviting input on the plan. A Federal Register Notice was issued to solicit public comment. Responses were sent to all entities that provided input. The Academy team created a website that was operational throughout the engagement and posted information about the project, including the strategic planning framework, stakeholder engagement plan, updates about the project, and e-mail and telephone numbers to invite stakeholder input.
Performance of the mission depends on the coordinated and committed efforts of the IHS and UIOs, particularly UIOs receiving IHS funding. This understanding of mission performance is reflected in the two overarching goals of this strategic plan.
Goal One is to support currently IHS-funded UIOs in their efforts to address the key challenges they identified for improving and expanding their capacity to provide access to quality, culturally competent health services for Urban Indians.
Goal Two is to build the administrative capacity of the OUIHP, for example, to establish performance-based oversight within the IHS, as well as for the IHS-funded UIOs and to transition administration of the former National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) awards.
Under these two overarching goals, the strategic plan encompasses a range of actions intended to advance seven strategic objectives. Actions may be undertaken directly by the OUIHP and/or in partnership with others, including IHS Headquarters senior leadership, IHS Area Offices and service units, UIOs, other organizations that receive IHS funding, other Federal agencies, Tribes, states, and others. This plan assumes the involvement of the awardee of the Urban Indian Education and Research Organization Cooperative Agreement (hereinafter “Cooperative Agreement”).