Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H., a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, South Dakota, is the Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS). She was a panelist on the Forum’s discussion about Native American Experiences with Discrimination.
Dr. Roubideaux was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as IHS Director on May 6, 2009, and she was sworn in on May 12, 2009. The IHS, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, is the principal federal health care advocate and provider for American Indians and Alaska Natives. As the IHS Director, Dr. Roubideaux administers a $4 billion nationwide health care delivery program composed of 12 administrative Area (regional) Offices. The IHS is responsible for providing preventive, curative, and community health care to approximately 2 million of the nation’s 3.4 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in hospitals, clinics, and other settings throughout the United States.
Dr. Roubideaux previously worked for IHS for three years as a clinical director and medical officer at the San Carlos Service Unit on the San Carlos Apache Indian reservation in Arizona, and she worked for one year as a medical officer at the Hu Hu Kam Memorial Indian Hospital on the Gila River Indian reservation in Arizona. Dr. Roubideaux recently served as assistant professor of family and community medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
Dr. Roubideaux has conducted extensive research on American Indian health issues, with a focus on diabetes in American Indians/Alaska Natives and American Indian health policy. Dr. Roubideaux served as the co-director of the Special Diabetes Program for Indians Demonstration Projects, in which 66 American Indian and Alaska Native communities are implementing diabetes prevention and cardiovascular disease prevention initiatives. She also served as director of two University of Arizona programs designed to recruit American Indian and Alaska Native students into health and research professions.
Dr. Roubideaux received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1989 and completed a residency program in primary care internal medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston in 1992. She completed her Master of Public Health degree at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1997. She also completed the Commonwealth Fund/Harvard University Fellowship in Minority Health Policy before transitioning to a career in academic medicine and public health. She is a past president of the Association of American Indian Physicians and co-editor of the American Public Health Association’s book “Promises to Keep: Public Health Policy for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the 21st Century.” She has authored several monographs and peer-reviewed publications on American Indian/Alaska Native health issues, research, and policy.