Mark Trahant to tell a new story about the Indian Health System

Tuesday, February 15 2011

MOSCOW, Idaho – Native American journalist Mark Trahant will be telling a new story about the excellence in the Indian health care system at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 1, in the University of Idaho College of Law Courtroom.

His talk is sponsored by the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy. The event is free and open to the public. A reception in the courtroom foyer will follow the panel discussion.

The program will address issues within the current U.S. health care system and how aspects of the current Indian Health System model can help improve it. Trahant’s talk will be followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Elizabeth Topsky from the Coeur d’Alene Tribal Wellness Center in Plummer and Roberta Bisbee, a member of Nez Perce Tribe’s Executive Committee.

Trahant will challenge the conventional narrative about Indian health care, which erroneously dismisses the Indian Health Service as a poorly run government agency.

“The United States operates the most expensive system in the world and it does not get health care results that justify that kind of spending,” Trahant said. “But the Indian health system does just the opposite. It is frugal – and sustainable. And at its best the outcomes demonstrate alternatives for delivery of health care that are both community-based and successful.”

Trahant is the author of "The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars," published last year. He is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock tribe and former president of the Native American Journalists Association. Trahant is the former editorial editor for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and in 2009 won a Kaiser Foundation media fellowship to examine the Indian Health Service and its relevance to the national health reform debate

The James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research provides non-partisan public policy research for Idaho and the region, promotes sustainability, fosters collaborations, improves civic education and increases public dialogue. Research from the center also offers faculty opportunities to meld their scholarly interests with practical application of benefit Idaho and the region. For more information about this and coming programs, contact the McClure Center for Public Policy at or by telephone at (208) 885-6563.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is classified by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation as high research activity. The student population of 12,000 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Bri Gordon, (208) 755-5636,