Health & Education

Casino to host Indian Health Board meeting

By Dean Rhodes

Smoke Signals editor

The Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board will hold its quarterly meeting at Spirit Mountain Casino on Tuesday, April 21, through Thursday, April 23.

The Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board was established in 1972 and includes delegates from the 43 federally recognized Tribes in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

Grand Ronde Tribal Council member Cheryle A. Kennedy is the Tribe’s longtime delegate to the Health Board and currently serves as its vice chairwoman. Before becoming a Tribal Council member, Kennedy led the Tribe’s burgeoning health programs in the 1980s.

Health Board delegates meet quarterly to create and update a strategic plan, which covers four main areas: health promotion and disease prevention, legislative and policy analysis, training and technical assistance, and surveillance and research.

The quarterly meeting will actually start at 2 p.m. Monday, April 20, with a meeting of Tribal health directors. At 9 a.m. Tuesday, Health Board Chairman Andy Joseph (Colville) will call the meeting to order and the Grand Ronde Honor Guard will post the colors. Executive Director Joe Finkbonner (Lummi) will give a report at 9:15 a.m.

Following an afternoon session on social media and cyberbullying, delegates are scheduled to tour the Grand Ronde Health and Wellness Center on Tuesday afternoon and eat a dinner at the casino hosted by the Grand Ronde Tribe after the tour.

Kennedy is scheduled to give the Wednesday call to order and invocation, which will be followed by reports on oral health disparities, a wellness update and the board’s sexual assault prevention project.

The meeting concludes on Thursday morning with Joseph delivering the chairman’s report followed by reports from the Health Board’s various committees – Elders, Veterans, Public Health, Behavioral Health, Personnel and Legislative.

Health Board Executive Administrative Assistant Elaine Dado said the quarterly meetings usually attract about 35 of the 43 delegates.