OHSU’s R. Dale Walker, M.D., honored as 2009 Indian Physician of the Year

07/28/09  Portland, Ore.

R. Dale Walker, M.D., director of the One Sky Center and Center for American Indian Health Education & Research at Oregon Health & Science University, has been named the 2009 Indian Physician of the Year. Walker is being honored by the Association of American Indian Physicians “for distinguished service and commitment to improving the quality of health care for Native Americans and Alaska Natives.” He received the award Wednesday at the organization’s 38th annual meeting and national health care conference in Alexandria, Va.

Walker, who is Cherokee, also was honored as Indian Physician of the year in 1989. He is a one of two American Indian psychiatrists’ in the nation certified in addictions treatment.  

Walker is a professor of psychiatry and public health and preventive medicine in the OHSU School of Medicine.  Throughout his career, he has served locally and nationally as an advocate for health care access and elimination of the stigma of mental illness and substance use disorders. His research is focused on addictions and mental health issues among American Indians. His current efforts address the low number of Indian students in the health care fields and draws attention to best practices for the prevention and treatment of addiction and mental health disorders among American Indians.  

Over the past 30 years, OHSU’s American Indian research group has studied the history, prevalence and risks of addiction disorders, the relationship between mental and addictive disorders, as well as treatment strategies. Walker and his colleagues have consulted and lectured throughout North America on American Indian and Alaska Native issues and authored more than 100 scientific articles in this area.

Walker has been an active member of AAIP since 1977.  He is a 1972 graduate of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and completed a residency in psychiatry at the University of California School of Medicine in San Diego.

For more information about the One Sky Center visit www.oneskycenter.org or contact 503-494-3703.