August 28, 2018
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Six U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers were recently promoted during a special ceremony at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah.
The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is an organization of uniformed health professionals who focus on care in underserved areas of the United States.
According to remarks during the ceremony from Capt. Travis Watts, director of the Oklahoma City area Indian Health Service office, there are only 6,500 total Commissioned Corps officers and 300 of those are currently working with IHS in Oklahoma.
“Currently, there are around 60 uniformed officers working in Cherokee Nation Health Services. So, when we think about the Commissioned Corps and the Indian Health Service, especially in the Oklahoma City area, we think Cherokee Nation,” Watts said. “That is something that I hope the officers take with them every day when they come to work here. They should be very proud.”
Lieutenant Commander Dodson Frank also visited from the Oklahoma City area IHS office to express his congratulations to the officers and the importance of partnering with the Cherokee Nation.
“The Cherokee Nation’s continued relationship with the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is a great asset to our health care system,” Cherokee Nation’s W.W. Hastings Hospital CEO Brian Hail said. “The level of expertise and professionalism that each of these officers brings to our patients is truly unmatched, and it is an honor to have them in our health system.”
Tina Kinney, a registered nurse at W.W. Hastings Hospital, was promoted to lieutenant.
Tracey Allen, Billye Jimerson and Colinda Guthrie were promoted to lieutenant commander. All three Cherokee Nation citizens are currently serving as registered nurses at W.W. Hastings Hospital.
Dewayne David, a pharmacist at W.W. Hastings Hospital, and Rebel Nelson, a registered nurse at W.W. Hastings Hospital, were promoted to commander.
During the ceremony, Lt. Alena Korbut was recognized for completing the pharmacy residency program at W.W. Hastings Hospital.