Southcentral Foundation’s Kevin Gottlieb Earns National Indian Health Board’s National Impact Award
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - The National Indian Health Board honored Southcentral Foundation Vice President Kevin Gottlieb, D. D. S., with the National Impact Award. The award was presented at this week's annual National Indian Health Board Consumer Conference in Washington, D.C. Awarded to only six individuals or organizations nationally, it recognizes individuals impacting American Indian and Alaska Native health care on a national level.
"To be recognized in this manner is not just a tribute to me," said Dr. Gottlieb, vice president of resource and development and chief of staff. "The National Indian Health Board also recognizes the 27 years of health care transformation led by the Alaska Native Community. Partnership, from all corners of Alaska to Washington, D.C., is critical for continued health care successes."
Dr. Gottlieb's contributions to the health care industry began when he entered the Indian Health Service for his dental residency, after graduating from Georgetown University's School of Dentistry in 1976. He went far north to Alaska to help the people IHS identified as having the worst dental health in the country. As an IHS commissioned officer, he helped develop and implement the largest ongoing preventive dental health care program in the State of Alaska.
He also provided dental services in various rural Alaska villages, including villages without electricity and running water. While working with patients in an aging Alaska Native Hospital in Anchorage, he recognized the gross inefficiencies in a system that focused only on dental emergencies and set foot on a path to effect real change.
Dr. Gottlieb left IHS in 1980 to become the first doctor for the fledgling SCF. Dr. Gottlieb recognized early on that, in order to be effective, SCF's health care services would have to be based on the values of the Native people. He helped establish SCF's first clinic-a clinic for dental care. It was SCF's first attempt at providing a "family practice" model of service delivery.
Working from a small dental facility in Anchorage, Dr. Gottlieb expanded dental services to help address the unmet needs of the entire Native family, including dentures for Elders and preventive care for all family members. In addition to implementing one of the first computerized billing systems in the IHS system, Dr. Gottlieb spearheaded comprehensive training programs to develop health care leaders from within the Native Community to build and sustain the system.
To ensure professional development of Alaska Native and American Indian people, he instituted mentoring, formal education support, individual development plans and career ladders. Today, 96 percent of SCF's dental assistants are SCF-trained members of the Native Community; three are enrolled in dental school, and one has already become an award-winning Public Health Service dentist. Dr. Gottlieb also facilitated a pediatric dentistry residency program to meet future needs in Alaska.
About Southcentral Foundation
Established in 1982, SCF's mission is to work together with the Native Community to achieve wellness through health and related services. The nonprofit health care affiliate of Cook Inlet Region, Inc., SCF has grown in its 26 years, from a single dental clinic to an internationally recognized, award-winning health care organization that employs more than 1,400 people and administers a budget of more than $181 million annually to manage more than 60 health care programs and services.