GREAT FALLS — Elizabeth Fowler, the acting director of the Indian Health Service agency, is spending some time in Montana this week, including a visit to the Indian Family Health Clinic in Great Falls.
"I'm impressed with your operation here,” Fowler said. She was quick to note her approval of the clinic when she took the podium Wednesday morning at the clinic to talk about the IHS's success combating the pandemic. "Today, I'm excited to tell you that more than a million vaccine doses have been administered across the Indian Health System,” Fowler said.
She said the Great Falls clinic's contribution to that effort is part of the reason she choose to visit the clinic. "What has stood out to me so far is hearing stories from our dignitaries, their experience here, and just my initial entrance. The focus on the screening, how they've re-purposed some of their areas in order to do the screening,” said Fowler.
During the visit, the clinic announced a new program to encourage younger people to get vaccinated.
"It's called 'I made the choice,' and this is just a small example of what it looks like. It's going to highlight inspirational messages that come directly from our IFHC patients,” said Mary Lynne Billy, clinic spokesperson.
Passing the messages to the next generation - an important step in what the clinic calls the "Indian COVID Vaccine Relay."
Fowler also visited the new Little Shell Tribal Health Clinic. The Tribe purchased the building that formerly was Best Friends Animal Hospital on Smelter Avenue NE in the spring of 2020 and has been working to renovate it ever since. The clinic is expected to open by the end of the summer.
Little Shell chairman Gerald Gray said in a news release, “The Tribal Council is very excited to continue our work with the Indian Health Service in ensuring that the federal government is meeting its trust responsibilities. We are grateful for Acting Director Fowler’s visit.”