ORH News

Association of American Indian Physicians Awards R. Dale Walker, MD, Indian Physician of the Year 2009

04/05/10  Portland, OR

The Association of American Indian Physicians has named R. Dale Walker (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) as the 2009 “Indian Physician of the Year.” Dr. Gerald Hill, AAIP Board of Director’s President will present this award to Walker during the organizations 38th Annual Meeting and National Health Conference on July 22, 2009 in Alexandria, Virginia.

The AAIP honor is “For Distinguished Service and commitment to improving the quality of health care for Native Americans and Alaska Natives.” This will be Dr. Walker’s second award from AAIP for “Indian Physician of the Year.” He received the honor on August 10, 1989. Walker is a one of two Native American psychiatrists’ in the nation certified in addictions. He has nearly 30 years’ experience in the addictions field.

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. Dr. Walker is professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. He is currently the Director of the One Sky Center and Center for American Health Education & Research located at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon.

His current efforts address the disparity of Native students in the health care fields and draws attention to best practices for the prevention and treatment of addiction and mental health disorders with American Indian populations.

Nationally, Dr. Walker participates in numerous community consultations and provides technical assistance promoting access to care, best practices, and effective research integration into community settings, especially focusing on American Indian populations. Special focus is placed upon methamphetamine abuse and suicide prevention/intervention. He has presented testimony in both houses of Federal Congress focusing on these issues, and provides leadership, direction, and advocacy for mental health and addictions parity for all citizens.

Throughout his career, Dr Walker has served locally and nationally as an advocate and activist for access to healthcare and the elimination of the stigma of mental illness and substance use disorders. A major focus of his research has been on addictions and mental health issues of American Indians. Over the past 30 years the American Indian Research Group has studied the prevalence and natural history of addiction disorders, risk and protective factors relating to addiction disorders, the relationship between mental and addictive disorders, and treatment strategies. He and his colleagues have consulted and lectured throughout North America on American Indian/Alaska Native issues and have authored over 100 scientific articles in this area.

For more information about the One Sky Center and its efforts in Indian Country visit www.oneskycenter.org or contact 503-494-3703.