News Release

Indian Health Service

The Indian Health Service announced the appointment of James Driving Hawk as the chief executive officer of the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. The center is the Indian Health Service’s largest hospital, providing direct health care services to more than 150,000 patients.

Driving Hawk, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, has served as director of the Indian Health Service Great Plains Area Office since 2019, where he provided leadership in the administration of a comprehensive federal, tribal, and urban Indian health care system.

With more than 23 years of service to Indian Health Service, Driving Hawk brings deep expertise in financial management, healthcare administration, purchased/referred care, business office operations, and tribal budget consultation to this role. Before joining the Indian Health Service Great Plains Area, he served as executive officer of the Indian Health Service Phoenix Area Office.

James Driving Hawk, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, is named the new chief executive of the Phoenix Indian Medical Center in August 2021. (Photo courtesy of Indian Health Service)

Pictured: James Driving Hawk, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

“I thank Jim Driving Hawk for his continued commitment to the Indian Health Service mission. His wealth of knowledge and experience will be a true asset for the Phoenix Indian Medical Center,” said Indian Health Service Acting Director Elizabeth Fowler.

“The Phoenix Indian Medical Center is the largest hospital operated by the Indian Health Service, providing comprehensive multi-specialty outpatient and inpatient care to people in the Phoenix Area. I am excited to have an experienced and accomplished leader at the helm,” said Dr. Ty Reidhead, Indian Health Service Phoenix Area Director.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to return to the Phoenix Area, where my Indian Health Service career began, and join the team at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. I look forward to continuing our efforts to provide high quality, comprehensive health care services for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Phoenix area,” Driving Hawk said.

Mr. Driving Hawk led the Indian Health Service Great Plains Area as director and acting director for more than four years. During that time, he established a new governance structure for all hospitals and clinics and developed a Division of Quality and Compliance for the area. Under his leadership, all Indian Health Service health care facilities in the Great Plains Area achieved full accreditation. He also emphasized improving transparency and communication to better respond to input from tribal partners.

Mr. Driving Hawk holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Cardinal Stritch University and is a current member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

U.S. Public Health Service Captain Brent Rohlfs will serve as the acting director for the Great Plains Area. Captain Rohlfs is the director of the Indian Health Service Great Plains Area Office of Environmental Health and Engineering. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from South Dakota State University and a master’s in engineering from the University of Idaho. He started his Indian Health Service career in Mobridge, South Dakota, in 1997 as a field engineer with the Indian Health Service Great Plains Area Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction.

The Phoenix Indian Medical Center provides primary care services to four Phoenix Service Unit tribes; the San Lucy District of the Tohono O'odham Nation, the Tonto Apache Tribe, the Yavapai-Apache Indian Tribe, and the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe. The Phoenix Indian Medical Center also works closely with the two other Phoenix Service Unit tribes, the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, that have contracted operations of their primary care. Tribal members who receive care at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center are also often residents of the greater Phoenix area and hail from tribes throughout the country. The Phoenix Indian Medical Center also provides specialty care to rural and remote reservation health care facilities in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and a small portion of California.

The Indian Health Service Great Plains Area provides services to 17 tribes and more than 130,000 American Indian people in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. It encompasses 19 service units consisting of seven hospitals and 10 health centers.

The Indian Health Service, an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services<https://www.hhs.gov/>, provides a comprehensive health service delivery system for approximately 2.6 million American Indians and Alaska Natives who belong to 574 federally recognized tribes in 37 states.

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