Indian Health Service

United States of America
Robin E. Canada, MD

Dr. Canada leads the collaborative relationship with the Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. IHS is responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. This program provides clinical service via medical residents and fellows to IHS.

PSOM trainees interested in an IHS rotation may apply to any of the following affiliated IHS sites. If you are successfully confirmed in a rotation at any IHS site above, you must complete CGH registration AT LEAST 6 weeks prior to your start date to receive the stipend- the CGH stipend is not guaranteed. 

In addition, thanks to the generous support from Dr. Joan MacCracken MD ’71, 2 medical students each year going to an IHS site or the ANMC for clinical rotations are eligible for the McMac Student Travel Award for Indigenous Health.  

Contact Maria Cortese Hering for questions about IHS student rotations.

Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility (Chinle, Arizona)

The Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility (CCHCF) is based in Chinle, Arizona (Northeast Arizona). The CCHCF is a 60 bed hospital which serves as the health care hub for the central part of the Navajo Reservation. The medical staff includes Family Physicians, Internists, Pediatricians, General Surgeons, OB/GYN's, Anesthesiologists, Emergency Medicine providers, and Psychiatrists. Strong Navajo cultural traditions exist within the community. Rotators will spend most of their time in the outpatient clinic, with additional time in the Emergency Room, Inpatient Ward, and Native Medicine. The service unit is located on the Colorado Plateau with excellent opportunities for photography, hiking, running, and biking. Canyon de Chelly National Monument is within 5 miles of the hospital and is a wonderful place for exploring and sightseeing.

To apply: Email Dr. Jillian Mador & Janet Blacksheep 6-12 months prior to your intended start date with your available dates. Please note that Chinle rotations fill up extremely fast.

Gallup Indian Medical Center (Gallup, New Mexico) - CURRENTLY ON HOLD

Gallup Indian Medical Center (GIMC) is a 99-bed hospital in Gallup, New Mexico, on the border of the Navajo Reservation. Clinical specialties at GIMC include Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Anesthesia, OB/GYN, General Surgery, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, ENT, Radiology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Emergency Medicine, and Urology. The workload at Gallup is one of the largest in the Indian Health Service with 250,000 outpatient encounters and 5,800 inpatient admissions annually. GIMC has the largest staff of all Navajo Area IHS facilities. The Plateaus and mountains close to Gallup offer opportunities for hiking, backpacking and camping. There are several national mountains and parks within easy driving distance. Albuquerque, with all the services and cultural events offered in a city its size, is just two hours East of Gallup. There are many choices for cross-country and downhill skiing within 1 to 3 hours of Gallup. The city of Gallup has a populations of approximately 23,000.

To apply: Email Dr. Kim Nez at least 4 months prior to your intended start date with your available dates.

Shiprock- Northern Navajo Medical Center (Shiprock, New Mexico)

The Northern Navajo Medical Center in Shiprock, New Mexico is located in the Four Corners area of the United States where New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah meet. Northern Navajo Medical Center is one of five facilities located within the Shiprock Service Unit. The Shiprock Service Unit is the largest service unit of the Navajo Nation. Approximately 80,837 Native Americans (mostly Navajo) are enrolled at Northern Navajo Medical Center. The inpatient load is 29 per day and the outpatient volume averages 600 per day. A variety of services are available including internal medicine, family practice, urgent and emergency care, pediatrics, general surgery, women's health, mental health, respiratory therapy, outpatient rehabilitation services, pharmacy, optometry, dental, public health nursing, social services, health promotion/disease prevention, radiology, laboratory and benefits coordination. Northern Navajo Medical Center employs 860 full-time employees. The medical staff consists of 75 physicians and 24 mid-level providers. Northern Navajo Medical Staff work with a variety of other facilities both locally and nationally. Specialists are consulted both within the IHS system, as well as outside our system. We have strong relationships with private providers in the Four Corners region, as well as at University of New Mexico, and the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA. Nearby are recreation opportunities that include fishing, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and alpine skiing. Telluride, Durango, Canyonlands, Grand Gulch, the Colorado River, the San Juan River, several large lakes, and the Colorado Wilderness areas are just short drives away.

To apply: Email Chris Bench &  Dr. Ellie Emery at least 4 months prior to your intended start date with your available dates.

Tsehootsooi Medical Center (Fort Defiance, Arizona)

Fort Defiance Indian Hospital a 245,000 square foot facility is a state of the art rural hospital that opened in August 2002. The hospital is located in the beautiful high-desert climate of Northeastern Arizona, about 8 miles north of Window Rock, Arizona (the capitol of the Navajo Nation). Fort Defiance Indian Hospital boasts a 24/7 Community Hospital Emergency Department, and is licensed for 56 inpatient beds including: an Intensive Care Unit; a Medical-Surgical Unit; a Pediatric Ward; an OB/GYN Ward; and an inpatient Adolescent Psychiatric Care Unit. In 2004, FDIH accumulated over 235,000 outpatient visits to its 65-exam room Ambulatory Care Center and 24 chair Dental Clinic. Currently the facility employs over 850 staff. Adjacent to the hospital is a new 193-unit government housing area. Public elementary, mid-school and high school are 300 feet to ½ mile away. The surroundings, and weather, are ideal for outside activities such as hiking, biking, skiing, stargazing, and horseback riding. The staff of Fort Defiance Indian Hospital strives to provide the best continuity of care to our patients.

To apply: Email Maria Cortese Hering with preferred rotation dates and departments; please contact Maria at least 4 months prior to your intended start date.

Whiteriver Indian Hospital (Whiteriver, Arizona)

The Whiteriver United States Public Health Service Indian Health Service Hospital is a 40 bed inpatient and outpatient facility serving the 14,000 members of the White Mountain Apache Tribe in Whiteriver, Arizona. The primary care teaching staff at Whiteriver consists of seventeen physicians in the specialties of family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, medicine/pediatrics and emergency medicine. The medical staff also includes twelve mid-level providers, a podiatrist, a part-time orthopedist, and visiting specialists who see patients in clinic. Whiteriver provides inpatient and outpatient adult and pediatric care, obstetrical services, and emergency care.

4th year medical students can participate in a 4-week family medicine/primary care-based rotation. Based on the interests and skills of the student, the experience can include a combination of outpatient, inpatient and women's health, emergency medicine, and public health home visits.

Onsite housing and meals are provided. Student is responsible for their own transportation to and from Whiteriver. The closest 2 airports are Phoenix and Albuquerque, so most students fly into Phoenix and rent a car or find a shuttle to drive to Whiteriver or Show Low. The CGH stipend is a total of $1000 ($500 pre-travel airfare stipend + $500 post-travel reimbursement). Since IHS rotations typically require car rental, please keep the stipend and your personal finances in mind before applying for the rotation.

To apply: Email Dr. Lenorah Wos at least 4 months prior to your intended start date with your available dates. If a rotation spot is available, Dr. Wos will send you the application information required by Whiteriver HR- these clearances can take up to 3 months to complete.