Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, News
Copyright © 2002 CNO
SALINA, OK - The Cherokee Nation began construction on a 9,000 square foot expansion on the AMO Community Clinic in Salina with a groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremony earlier this month.
Cherokee Nation officials cut a ribbon for the AMO Salina clinic expansion. Pictured, from left to right, are Shawn Terry, director of operations for Cherokee Nation Health Services, District Six (Mayes County) Tribal Council member Stephanie Shepherd, District Six (Mayes County) Tribal Council member Johnny Keener, Principal Chief Chad Smith, Dr. Brett Gray, MD, interim senior clinic director and medical director at AMO Salina Clinic, and Chris Walker, executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services.
The expansion, which should be completed by late summer, will add extra space for pharmacy services, a new eye clinic, six examination rooms and a treatment room.
"I'm thankful we have a facility and doctors and nurses that we can depend on", said Duke Sullateskee, one of the 21,000 patients with active charts at the clinic. "They always say hello when they see me walking through the door."
"Meeting the health care needs of our tribal citizens is a top priority", said Principal Chief Chad Smith. "The Indian Health Service has consistently underfunded Indians in Oklahoma, but the Tribal Council and I have worked together to identify other funding sources for this expansion, as well as expansion at other clinic sites."
"Fortunately, the Tribal Council and Chief Smith made health care one of the top priorities and listened carefully to the need here in Salina", said Shawn Terry, director of operations for Cherokee Nation Health Services and a former clinic administrator at Salina.
Tribal Council member Stephanie Shepherd noted that the AMO Salina Clinic is the first clinic on the Cherokee Nation’s list of expansion projects. "The Tribal Council made an effort to provide direct services to the people, and set aside money for this clinic."
Shepherd and Johnny Keener represent Mayes County on the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council, and both said they have a strong emotional feelings about the clinic.
"My grandmother first started using this clinic when she was 88 years old", Shepherd said. "The people here made her feel comfortable about being here and getting care."
Keener was the master of ceremonies at the event, keeping the mood light with his one-liners. But the line of the night may have gone to clinic employee Vivian Pearson, who pointed out the history of the Salina clinic.
"In 1967, the Salina Clinic opened on the main street of Salina, with two little rooms to hold the doctor’s office, the exam room, the medical records and the waiting room,” Pearson said. “Today, we have more than 21,000 active charts."
As Pearson traced the history of the clinic, Sullateskee thought of scripture.
"Proverbs 29:18 says, ‘Where there is no vision, people perish.’ I am thankful that someone had a vision for this clinic."
Related path(s) and contact information:
Mike Miller, Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma