North Fork Rancheria of the Mono Indians Tribal Chairperson Judy "Elaine" Bethel-Fink was recently appointed to a federal advisory committee to reform and enhance how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services works with Indian Country.
Chairwoman Bethel-Fink will serve as the primary representative for the California Area of the Indian Health Service on the HHS Secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee. Stacy Dixon, Chairman of the Susanville Indian Rancheria, has been selected to serve as the alternate representative for the California Area.
The committee was established in 2010 by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathryn Sebelius as part of an Obama Administration directive to improve services, outreach, and consultation efforts with the nation's nearly 570 federally recognized tribes. across all federal departments and agencies. The committee will provide critical tribal guidance for Health and Human Services priorities and budget items as well as participate in forums and meetings to ensure the perspectives of tribal nations are fully included in policy discussions.
The California Area, one of 12 Indian Health Service regions in the nation, is distinguished as one of the largest, in terms of number of tribes served, and most advanced in the development and operation of tribal health care facilities.
"It is a great and humbling honor to serve alongside so many distinguished and committed tribal leaders from across the nation," said Bethel-Fink. "I am pleased to have been selected by to serve on this tribal advisory committee. I look forward to representing the California service area and all of Indian Country."
Bethel-Fink has served on the tribal council of the North Fork Rancheria since May 2002, mostly as tribal chairperson. During Bethel-Fink's tenure, the tribal council has established a Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to promote self-sufficiency through education and cultural awareness.
Using a combination of local and federal funds, the tribe has also overseen construction of a community/elder center, tribal housing units and a community fire station, among other projects.