The U.S. Senate this week unanimously confirmed Yvette Roubideaux, an assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of Arizona, to head up the country’s Indian health care efforts.
Roubideaux will serve as director of Indian Health Services, a program in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that promotes the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
The Rosebud Sioux tribe member, who was nominated by President Obama in March, is the first American Indian woman to serve as the program’s director.
Roubideaux told Senators during her confirmation that she planned to focus her efforts on diabetes prevention and treatment on tribal lands.
The 46-year-old has received numerous awards for her work with Native Americans, including the American Diabetes Association’s 2008 Addison B. Scoville Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service and the 2004 Indian Physician of the Year Award from the Association of American Indian Physicians.
Roubideaux received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School. She is the co-director of a program providing diabetes-prevention advice in 66 Native American and Alaska Native communities.
Roubideaux previously worked in the Indian Health Service as a medical officer and clinical director on the San Carlos Indian Reservation and in the Gila River Indian Community.