Navajo Nation - Office of the President and Vice President
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Navajo Area Indian Health Service Director Roselyn Tso, and toured the new Dilkon Medical Center on Monday, which is currently 95-percent complete and will provide medical and emergency services to thousands of Navajo people in Dilkon, Ariz. and nearby communities in the southwest part of the Navajo Nation.
Winslow Indian Health Care Center, Inc. CEO Sally Pete and Board member Alberto L. Peshlakai were also part of the tour, which included a visit to the ongoing construction of 109 staff quarters and housing units that will be completed by September to house staff and medical personnel.
“This is a wonderful new health care facility that was developed based on the vision of our elders. There were many challenges along the way, but the Dilkon Health Center Steering Committee, led by Chairman Robert Salabye, never gave up and devoted their time and commitment for many years to make this happen – they exemplify the teaching of T’áá Hwó Ají Téego, self-reliance and self-determination. This project is a great example of what can be accomplished by working together to achieve long-term improvements for our people. This is a large part of Nation building,” said President Nez.
In May 2019, President Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer issued a letter to Indian Health Service authorizing Winslow Indian Health Care Center, Inc., in coordination with the Dilkon Health Care Steering Committee, to complete the design and construction of the new medical center under a Title V construction project agreement. President Nez and Vice President Lizer joined the community as construction broke ground on the new facility on June 25, 2019.
Over the course of three months, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority carefully filled a 310,000-gallon water tank located next to the facility to deliver more water to meet daily needs. The construction team also encountered setbacks due to global supply chain issues and demand for construction materials that delayed progress.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to all of the great men and women who laid their hands to this great achievement for our Navajo people. Many nearby residents had to travel long distances to receive medical care, even in emergency situations, for many years. This new facility will open doors to more economic and community development that will allow the region to create more jobs, revenues, housing, and other opportunities. We commend all of the local leaders, public health officials, and the construction team for making this a great success,” said Vice President Lizer.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility also includes specially-built isolation rooms that allow patients to be separated from others to lower the risks associated with the virus. Solar panels have been installed on the roof of the facility to lower energy costs. Throughout the center, rooms are designed to maximize the benefits of natural lighting.
“On behalf of the Navajo Nation, we thank local leadership, Winslow Indian Health Care Center, Inc. and board, the Dilkon Health Center Steering Committee, Navajo Area Indian Health Service Director Tso and her team, and all of the hard-working construction crews for their contributions to the new Dilkon Medical Center. We look forward to the opening of the facility soon,” added President Nez.
Construction is nearly two years ahead of schedule and the community is expected to host a grand opening ceremony for the new 154,000 square-foot facility in July, with medical services opening to patients in August.