by Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Health. Discussion »
CHICAGO - Kenneth Scott (Choctaw) is in his second stint as the executive director of the American Indian Health Services of Chicago, a non-profit agency that was established in 1974. Scott ran the health agency from 1978 - 1981, He returned in 2003.
Kenneth Scott (Choctaw) Executive Director, American Indian Health Services of Chicago
Originally from Oklahoma, where he was one of eleven children, Scott enjoys working at the health services in the urban setting, even with the constant challenges that face urban Indian agencies, such as threats of decreased funding.
At 66, he contemplates retiring, but the lure of being involved with his American Indian clients appeals to him more than sitting home in rocking chair.
“I like what I do,”
said Scott, as he grants time for an interview from his busy schedule. On Wednesday afternoon, he was working on a grant that has to be turned in this week into Indian Health Services, the funding agency that provide the bulk of his annual budget.
Before coming the Chicago the first time, Scott was the executive director of the Denver Indian Center.
His longevity of working with urban Indian agencies has gained the respect he gets from employees and American Indian clients who access the health services clinic.
It is obvious he cares for the American Indian clients entering the clinic. He greets clients by name and inquires about their ailments. One client told Scott he was using a cane because his diabetes was “acting up.”
Scott talks freely about the need to do more for American Indians who suffer from diabetes:
“I am not sure we are suffering more from it than we did years ago.
I mean there was a time when we did not have it among us, but now it is being talked about and it is being reported more.”
“It seem every time we turn around, we Indians are leading something,”
said Scott, speaking frankly about how Indians suffer from high rates of diabetes, alcoholism and other diseases.
Services include general care for aliments, such as the flu to diabetes. Each Wednesday, the podiatrist comes to the Center to provide care to American Indian clients. There is also outpatient substance abuse counseling and mental health services.
The clinic has three examination rooms and has a medical doctor on staff.
“I love it,”
commented Dr. Ashley Allen, who has worked at the American Indian Health Services for one year.
Learn more about the American Indian Health Services of Chicago »
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