Tribal Health Center Earns Prestigious Director’s Award

Six staff members of the Reno Sparks Tribal Health Center earned the 2014 Indian Health Service Director’s Award for Excellence, one of the most coveted awards in their

“I am super proud as the work done by our team will impact Native Americans nationally,” said Angie Wilson, Director of the RSTHC.  “Throughout Indian County, health centers can plug into our work to help their own communities.”

The Director’s Award for Excellence recognizes individuals or groups of employees whose special efforts and contributions, beyond regular duty requirements, have resulted in significant benefits to Indian Health Service (IHS) programs, priorities, or customers and fulfillment of the IHS mission.

The work done by the RSTHC team advances the IHS mission and goals because it supports renews and strengthens Tribal partnerships while providing fairness and inclusion to Indian communities.

The RSTHC winning team included: Wilson, Rocky Batastini, Exercise Program Coordinator, Stacy Briscoe, Diabetes Program Manager, Jason Hill and Michelle
Katenay, Substance Abuse Counselors, and Jovino Lorenzo, Business and
Benefits Division Manager.

This core committee created written guidelines, policies and procedures, for operating a farmer’s market on tribal lands.

RSTHC Staff Core Committee
Members of the Reno Sparks Tribal Health Center staff recently earned the Director’s Award for Excellence for their work creating policies and procedures for operating a farmer’s market on tribal lands. The core committee included: front row: Angie Wilson, Stacy Brisco, Michelle Kateney, and Jovino Lorenzo. Back row: Rocky Batastini and Jason Hill.

“A farmer’s market provides an opportunity to address community health by increasing healthy options,” Briscoe said. “In addition, farmer’s markets provide an alternative in food swamps, or areas that include many unhealthy fast food options like those found just down the street from the Colony.”

The guidelines created by the RSTHC team include details on all areas of the farmer’s  market from how food sold on site is handled, to taxation and licensing issues,
to priority vendors based on Indian preference.

“Ultimately, we want to operate a farmer’s market in the parking lot of our clinic,” Batastini said.  “However, as we continue to work toward that goal, it is really nice to be recognized for the hard work that the entire team has already put into this project thus far.”

Batastini said he is still looking for Native food vendors, as the objectives
of the RSTHC core committee are not only to bring more healthful and a larger array of food choices to the RSIC community, but to also create a venue for Native farmers and ranchers to sell their crops or merchandise.

Briscoe agrees that the idea of a farmer’s market goes beyond better options
for eating.

“Ultimately, we hope to help the RSIC community by providing increased produce options, as well as offering economic opportunity to those who have something to sell, be it the fruit from their trees or their beadwork.”

Briscoe said that one of the key components to finalizing guidelines was the involvement of the IHS Environmental Health Officers, Mikayla Deardorff and Kelli Mohler.

“If we had a question regarding food safety or a regulation, they usually had an answer or drawings ready to clarify our policy,” Briscoe said. “Their design of the food safety component of the policies and procedures was really important because it brought us up to date on recent changes in national farmer’s market policies.

Briscoe attended the Director’s Award Ceremony in Phoenix which was held at the Heard Museum of American Art & History.

The RSTHC staff earned the Phoenix Area Indian Health Service Director’s Award for Excellence in  the team category.
The RSTHC staff earned the Phoenix Area Indian Health Service Director’s Award for Excellence in the team category.