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OHSU’s R. Dale Walker elected Association of American Indian Physicians president

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon Health & Science University professor R. Dale Walker, MD, was elected president of the Association of American Indian Physicians Aug. 9 at the organization’s 40th convention in Albuquerque, N.M.

AAIP is the largest Native American health care association in the United States. Its mission includes motivating American Indian and Alaska Native students to pursue careers in health care and biomedical research. The association honored Walker, who is Cherokee, as the Indian Physician of the Year in both 2009 and 1989. He is one of two American Indian psychiatrists in the nation certified in addictions treatment.

Walker is director of the One Sky Center and the Center for American Indian Health Education & Research at OHSU. He also is a professor of psychiatry, and public health and preventive medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine.

His distinguished career includes advocating for elimination of the stigmas associated with mental illness and substance abuse disorders. His research focuses on American Indian addiction and mental health. Walker also is working to address the low number of Indian students in the health care fields and to draw attention to best practices for the prevention and treatment of addiction and mental health disorders among American Indians.

For more than 30 years, OHSU’s American Indian research group has studied the history, prevalence and risks of addiction disorders, the relationship between mental and addictive disorders, as well as treatment strategies. Walker and his colleagues have consulted and lectured throughout North America on American Indian and Alaska Native issues and authored more than 100 scientific articles in this area.

Walker has been an active member of AAIP since 1977. He is a 1972 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and completed a residency in psychiatry at the University of California School of Medicine in San Diego. For more information about the One Sky Center, visit www.oneskycenter.org or call (503) 494-3703.