MISSOULA URBAN INDIAN HEALTH CENTER – HISTORY
Welcome to the Missoula Urban Indian Health Center, The Center is a 501 © (3) organization and one of 34 Urban Indian Health Programs (UIHP) located throughout the United States. It’s major funding source comes from H.H.S. and Indian Health Services. UIHP’s are varied in size and services provided. You can check out the types of services and the locations of the other UIHP’s at the “National Council of Urban Indian Health” web site at www.ncuih.org or at the Indian Health Service website.
The Missoula Urban Indian Health Center has been incorporated as a non-profit 501 (c)(3) community based organization since 1970 governed by a volunteer board of directors elected by the Native American community. Originally known as Qua-Qui, the founders of this organization saw a need for those Native Americans who have left their reservation to seek a better way of life through higher education and/or employment to have a place to come together as Indian people to practice and preserve their culture. There is a need that still exists today to assist in the transition from reservation life into mainstream society.
The Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976 provided a clear Federal policy “to elevate the health status of Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest possible level” and began to articulate specific components of the national strategy to accomplish it’s stated goal. This Act also established the role of Indian Health Service in the assistance and provision of services to Indians living off-reservation in urban areas. With this came the opportunity to focus our attention towards providing health care services to our Indian Community.
EARLY HEALTH SERVICES
Qua-Qui began offering health services in the late 70’s and by 1982 the health program provided weekly on-site clinics facilitated by volunteer nurses from the Montana State University Student Nursing Program and a volunteer Family Health Practitioner. The clinic offered minor health care services including well child and special clinics for women. By 1986, Qua-Qui had experienced many organizational changes including relocation, phasing out on-site clinical services and changing the name from Qua-Qui to Native American Services Agency. In 1993, we merged our services with the Missoula Indian Alcohol & Drug Services Agency in order to provide one stop comprehensive health and chemical dependency services to the Indian community. We changed our name one last time from Native American Services Agency to The Missoula Urban Indian Health Center.
WHERE WE DELIVER
Since phasing out clinical services in 1986, health services continued to be our main focus but now were provided through outreach and referral activities with an emphasis on prevention and education. The health staff did extensive networking in the community with local heath care providers and organizations to form long lasting partnerships that still exist today. Services began expanding with the addition of several new programs such as Health Promotion/Disease Prevention, Immunization, Mental Health, and the ASAP program or (Substance Abuse Prevention Program). We began to develop culturally sensitive education materials and providing culturally appropriate presentations and workshops.
The Missoula Urban Indian Health Center is working hard to establish a full service clinic to support all your needs. Check back to see our progress.