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Milbank Q. 1999;77(4):571-604, iv.

A political history of the Indian Health Service.

Author information

1
Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA 98104, USA. oscarb@u.washington.edu

Abstract

One of the few bright spots to emerge from the history of relations between American Indians and the federal government is the remarkable record of the Indian Health Service (IHS). The IHS has raised the health status of Indians to approximate that of most other Americans, a striking achievement in the light of the poverty and stark living conditions experienced by this population. The gains occurred in spite of chronically low funding and can be attributed to the combination of vision, stubbornness, and political savvy of the agency's physician directors and the support of a handful of tribal leaders and powerful allies in the Congress and the White House. Despite the agency's imperfections and the sizeable health problems that still exist among American Indians and Alaskan Natives, the IHS is an example of one federal program that has worked.

PMID:
10656033
PMCID:
PMC2751138
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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