SHIPROCK, N.M. (AP) -- The woman who has headed Northern Navajo Medical Center for the past 10 years will leave in mid-July to take a similar position at the Alaskan Native Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska.
Dee Hutchison, 42, will take over as administrator of the largest American Indian health facility in the United States. The 150-bed hospital serves Alaska's 110,000 Natives. It employs 1,500 people and has an operating budget of over $125 million.
Hutchison replaces Dr. Richard Mandsager who will be retiring this summer after nearly 15 years as administrator. He will continue at the medical center as a pediatrician.
The founders of the Alaskan Native Tribal Health Consortium have operated their own health care system for 25 years. Mandsager oversaw the transition of ownership and management of the medical center to the consortium in January 1999.
Hutchison will report as administrator for the Alaskan Native Medical Center Aug. 7. She said it will take about three months for the Indian Health Service to find her replacement at the Shiprock hospital.
Hutchison, a former prevention administration officer for the Crownpoint Indian Hospital, has been with the Indian Health Service on the Navajo Nation for 17 years.
She said she expects to return to her native Navajo reservation in the future.
''Some day, when I return, I will be able to assist and advise my tribe so they can be successful'' in eventually taking over the area's Indian Health Service system, Hutchison said.
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