Cherokee health director to redesign health care delivery program

Wednesday, July 26th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Tahlequah-AP) -- The new executive director of the Cherokee Nation Health Services faces a tall order in redesigning the tribe's health care delivery program. Mim Dixon has over 30 years experience in dealing with Indian health care issues. Dixon spent 22 years with Alaska's tribal health system. She also served as a policy analyst with the National Indian Health Board in Denver, where she advised Congress on health needs of Indians.

Dixon will try to redesign the health care system of the second largest Indian tribe in the country, with more than 100,000 members. She says a federal study shows only about 60 percent of Indian health needs are being met nationwide. Dixon says that percentage is worse in Oklahoma, where it's a slow as 30 percent. Among the biggest health problems among Cherokees are heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Cherokee Chief Chad Smith says Dixon is the ideal person to help the tribe. Smith says she successfully helped design the system in Alaska and understands the dynamics.