NHSC Site Northern Navajo Medical Center, Serving The Navajo Nation in Shiprock, NM


Within our culture, you have an extended family. Some providers automatically start calling some
other older patients, you know, “Grandpa” in Navajo. And after a while, you know, the fact that
they’re not Native doesn’t matter. My name is Fannessa Comer. I am the
Chief Executive Officer for Shiprock Service Unit. It’s an IHS facility in Shiprock, New Mexico. IHS is Indian Health Services. We provide health care
services to all Native Americans. We’re located on the Navajo reservation, and
the reservation is about the size of West Virginia. This organization plays a very important role in the community, in terms of being its only health care provider. The National Health Service Corps is
very important to our organization, because having this designation enables us to bring
in talented people that normally would not have have looked into New Mexico, or Arizona,
or Indian Health Services. And a lot of them end up staying for years.
They fall in love with the area. They fall in love with the patient population,
the culture, and the local traditions. Health care providers pick their career because
they are really, truly caring people. And to combine that with the willingness to learn
about the local culture and tradition, that just makes an excellent candidate, and those are
the ones that have such longevity here in our organization. I would encourage all my colleauges, fellow CEOs, hospital administrators, to participate in the National Health Service Corps, because I
was born in the old Shiprock hospital, and I have this vision that this organiation
has to be viable for our future generations. With that in mind, we want to make certain that we have quality providers, and we have received so many great providers
through the National Health Service Corps that have stayed for years, and they have provided
quality services for our Native population here.

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