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Posts Tagged ‘Indian Health Service’

Presentation by Dr. Lester Caplan about Indian Health Service

David Langford, O.D. on July 23rd, 2015 under Optoblog •  Comments Off on Presentation by Dr. Lester Caplan about Indian Health Service

I was an Indian Health Service optometrist for two years, but my dad was one for 34, beginning in 1971. I believe he was the first PHS-IHS optometrist to join and then serve a full 30 years. (There may have been others that actually retired before him, but they had previous military time-in-grade.)

One of his contemporaries was Dr. Les Caplan, OD, MEd, FAAO. Dr. Caplan is an award-winning optometrist of historical significance. He was the first optometrist assigned as the Clinical Consultant for Optometry to the director of the Indian Health Service. Back in the early 70s, optometrists were barely being integrated into the IHS healthcare system as real eyecare physicians, so Dr. Caplan traveled around the country to help make this monumental transition, paving the way for increased scope of practice for optometrists in all modes of practice.

In June 2015 at the AOA meeting in Seattle, there was a presentation sponsored by the Optometric Historical Society that Dr. Caplan gave, and I got a hold of his presentation. The powerpoint file was 128 MB, so I condensed it to an 18 MB PDF, which you can view here with Dr. Caplan’s permission.

On page 39 there is a picture of some wetlands viewed through an airplane window. That is actually a 5 minute silent video filmed in 8mm that shows highlights from Dr. Kaplan’s trip to Alaska in 1971.

Anyone interested in Indian Health Service optometry should go through the entire presentation. It is also of significance to anyone interested in optometry’s advancement in scope of practice.

Click here to read PDF

Click here to read PDF

To learn more about the AOA’s optometric history initiative, read this.

There is an award given to PHS optometrists named after Dr. Caplan.

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Do Utah Native Americans Suffer Healthcare Discrimination?

David Langford, O.D. on March 20th, 2009 under Optoblog •  Comments Off on Do Utah Native Americans Suffer Healthcare Discrimination?

Uintah and Ouray youth indoor Pow Wow optoblog attended in May 2003

Uintah and Ouray dancers at an indoor youth pow wow.

So the Utah Dep. of Health and the Associated Press sound like they are trying to raise funding. KSL reports:

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Department of Health says the state’s American Indians are disproportionally affected by chronic health problems such as diabetes and asthma.

A report released Thursday shows more than 11 percent of the state’s American Indian population has diabetes. The average for all Utahns is about 6 percent.

Rates of asthma and smoking among American Indians are also above the state average.

The report says Utah’s American Indian population also has lower rates of health care coverage, prenatal care and physical activity.

American Indians make up about 1.7 percent of the state population.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

The AP doesn’t seem to cite their source, but I think the original report is found here (pdf), and it includes these important bullet points:

  • Partner with tribes to obtain grant funding to benefit American Indians;
  • and Eliminate racial health disparities.

You would think that an AP reporter investigating this state report might be a little curious why this could be. Because the AP is liberal, the only answer acceptable to them is that we discriminate against Native Americans and that we aren’t spending enough money.

The real reason would be to look the Native American population in Utah itself. The Uintah and Ouray Reservation has a small population- just over 3000, and about half live within the reservation. In fact, most Utah tribes are small. With such a limited gene pool in each community, you are going to get a lot of people with the same health risks.

So you will have to excuse me if I don’t join the liberal’s hysterics in a made up outrage.

Uintah and Ouray youth indoor Pow Wow optoblog attended in May 2003

Me (far right) at the May 2003 indoor youth pow wow in Fort Duchesne, UT.

I would suggest that if you would like to increase the health of Native Americans, try letting them transfer their health benefits to anywhere they want to live. If a Native American wants to move and marry someone from off their home reservation, they are denied their treaty-established healthcare at any other reservation. I’ve seen patients that lived in another state come back to their home reservation for a few months to re-establish residency in order to have an expensive operation paid for by their benefit. Not everyone is in the position to do this, so healthcare is probably under utilized by the many Indians living off their home reservation; however, if all the sudden you allowed healthcare portability for Native Americans, you would need to significantly increase the Indian Health Service budget.

To a degree, I think this happens already since Native Americans are encouraged to get on Medicaid/Medicare if they qualify. The IHS budget is so low that they depend heavily on income from Medicare/Medicaid. Of course, I would argue the IHS budget is low because of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act of 1976 that allowed one government healthcare agency (IHS) to bill another (CMS).)

Anyway, I just wanted to highlight this liberal tactic promoted by the Drive-by Media that calls attention to some pretended outrage and lays the blame on discrimination and not enough government spending when the real problem is neither. The facts are that the smaller the genetic variation, the more probable that certain health conditions will occur among that population.

For fun, here is a video of my boy dancing to the beat at an indoor pow wow on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation back in May 2003.

Here is another angle (he’s soo cute!):

By the way, for those of you not interested in reading the rest of my website, I lived in or next door to an American Indian reservation for over 20 years. I worked as a Public Health Service optometrist at the Blackfeet Community Hospital in Browning, MT for two years. Everybody admits that there are problems on the reservation, but throwing more tax payer dollars at it will never help. Seriously, if that were the answer, wouldn’t we have a utopia by now? LBJ started the War on Poverty in 1964, and it has been a 45 year quagmire. Let’s try conservative solutions for a change! Policy makers need to listen to the voices of conservatives, like David Yeagley, a descendant of Bad Eagle. And Rush, Sean, Glenn, and Ann.

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