Video: Cherokee Nation Amo Health Center breaks ground for dental clinic
DentalSenior Director Dr. Stefan Hacker, left, members of Cherokee Nation HealthServices and CN elected officials commemorate the announcement of a new dentalclinic with a ground breaking on Feb. 23. in Salina, Okla. (Photo by Jami Custer)
SALINA, Okla. – Cherokee Nation Health Services officials on Feb. 23 broke ground at the Amo Health Center on the tribe’s sixth dental clinic, something that has been in the works for nearly a decade.
“This will tremendously help our patients in this area,” Melissa Gower, Health Services group leader, said. “Once opened, the facility will be adding new staff and equipment to ensure the best overall care for our citizens and our patients from other tribes. We have looked forward to this day for a long time.”
The clinic is expected to have eight dental chairs and state-of-the-art equipment, costing more than $500,000, to allow citizens a more enjoyable time while utilizing the clinic. Clinic plans also include electronic dental records, digital radiology for X-rays and monitors for patients.
Officials said tribal citizens in the area travel great distances to receive dental care since the only CN dental clinics are located in Tahlequah, Muskogee, Jay, Sallisaw and Stilwell. However, in less than a year, tribal officials said that should not be the case because they hope the Salina dental clinic to be functional. Another dental clinic is planned for Vinita.
The groundbreaking in Salina was music to some local residents’ ears.
“I never thought I would see this day come,” said CN citizen Lavonne Littledave. “It is great that we are going to have a dentist here. I’m very excited.”
Gower said the addition would not only make dental care more accessible for citizens, but the clinic would also stimulate more jobs for the area, including dentists, a dental hygienist, two desk attendees and dental assistants.
The Amo Health Center currently provides outpatient medical services, pediatrics, public health nursing, laboratory, pharmacy, community nutrition, radiology, optometry, behavioral health, WIC and contract care. In 2009, the health center provided more than 45,000 patient visits to individuals needing health care.
The center is located on 10 acres of land where it is said CN citizens and other area residents traded for salt. This is why the facility is referred to as Amo, which translated in Cherokee to “the salt place.”
Gower said Dist. 6 Tribal Councilors Meredith Frailey and Chris Soap have worked diligently with the health group on making this idea reality.
“(Meredith) and Chris worked very hard with us to insure that we are able to fulfill this day for the community members that live here in Mayes County,” she said. “We’re excited to do that so you don’t have to drive to Jay or Tahlequah or some other place to get your dental services.”
Principal Chief Chad Smith said it was a great day for the CN, its citizens and other Native Americans living in the area.
“We are dedicated to working with our communities, families and individuals to promote and improve their health. This clinic will help us achieve that goal,” he said. “This will result in healthy communities for this and future generations.”
ᎦᏙ ᎤᏂᏲᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎼᎯ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗ ᎤᏃᏢᏗᎢ
ᎠᎼᎯ, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ.--- ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᏰᎸ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏴᏍᏗᏕᎩ ᏄᏂᎬᏫᏳᎡᏕᎩ ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᎨᏄ ᎧᎦᎵ. 23 ᎦᏙᎯ ᎤᎾᏍᎪᏎᎢ ᎭᎢ ᎠᎼᎯ ᎠᏰᎸ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏴᏍᏗᏕᎩ ᎠᏰᏟᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏍᎳᏢᎢ ᏑᏓᎵᏁ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗᎢ ᎦᎾᎬᏘᎢ, ᎯᎸᏍᎩ ᎾᏕᏘ ᎾᎾᏁᏟᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
“ᎯᎠᏃ ᏭᏓᎪᎾᏛᎢ ᏓᏳᏂᏍᏕᎸᎯ ᏗᎦᏤᎵ ᏧᏂᏢᎩ ᎡᏍᎦᏂ ᎠᏁᎯ,” Melissa Gower, ᎠᏰᎸ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏴᏍᏗᏕᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᏗᏘᏂᏙᎯ, ᎤᏛᏁᎢ.
“ᎠᏂᏍᏚᎢᏒᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎭᎾ ᎠᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᏄᎾᏓᎴ ᏕᏥᎾᏢᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ. ᏫᏓᏤᏢᎢ ᏗᎬᏎᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎦᏤᎵ ᏧᎾᏓᏂᎳ Ꮎ ᏄᎾᏓᎴ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎤᏓᏳᎾᏛᎴᏅᎢ. ᎾᎪᎯᎳ ᏃᏥᎦᏖᏃ ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ ᏥᏂᎦᎵᏍᏓ.”
ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗᎢ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅᏃ ᏧᏁᎳ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗᎢ ᏗᎦᏍᎩᎶ ᏕᎦᏍᎩᎴᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏬᎯᏍᏗᏴ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ, ᏱᎦᎢ ᏚᎬᏩᏟᏛᎢ ᏫᎬᎶᏒᏍᏔᏅ $500,000, ᎠᎵᏍᎪᏟᏗᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᏴᏫ ᎤᎪᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎤᏂᏰᏟ ᏱᎪᎯᏓ ᎪᏁᏙᎲᎢ ᎭᎾᎢ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗᎢ.
ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗᎢᏃ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏧᏄᎪᏔᏅ ᎠᏠᏯᏍᏗᏍᎨᏍᏗ ᏗᎾᎦᎵᏍᎩ ᏗᎿᎩᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏓᏍᏆᏂᎪᏛᎢ. ᎥᏰᎸᎢ ᏧᎾᏓᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏓᏴᎳᏗᏍᎩ ᏧᏅᏙᏗ ᏧᎾᏓᏂᎳ.
ᏄᏂᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ ᏄᏂᏪᏒᎢ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢᎢ ᏴᏫ ᎡᏍᎦᏂ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎢᏅᎯᏊ ᎠᎾᏂᎩᏍᎬᎢ ᏛᎨᏥᏅᏕᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏱᏗᎨᎬᏁᏗ ᏓᏂᏙᎬᎢ. ᏙᏗᎪᏢᏒ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎾᎿᎢ ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎫᏐ, ᏜᏱᎪᎢ, ᏌᎷᏂᎨᏴ ᎠᎴ ᏍᏗᎵᏪᎵ. ᏫᏄᏕᏘᏴᎲᎾᏃ, ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢᎢ ᏄᏂᎬᏫᏳᏒ ᎾᏂᏪᏍᎬᏃ ᎥᏝ ᎥᏍᎩ ᏱᏄᏍᏕᏍᏗ ᏂᎬᏂᏏᏍᎬ ᎤᏚᎩ ᎤᏅᏐ Ꮎ ᎠᎼᎯ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏂᎩᏍᏕᏍᏗ.
ᏐᎢ ᏧᎾᏅᏕᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᏂᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᏓᏄᎪᏗᎢ ᎤᎾᏁᎩᏍᏗ ᎾᎿᎢ ᏙᏧᏓᏝᎥᎢ. ᎾᏃ ᎦᏙᎯ ᎠᎾᏍᎪᏍᎬᎢ ᎭᎾᎢ ᎠᎼᎯ, ᎧᏃᎩᏍᏗ ᏍᎩᏯᎢ ᎠᎾᏛᎩᏍᎬᎢ ᎡᏍᎦᎯ ᏗᏁᎯ ᏴᏫ,” ᎤᏛᏁᎢ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎡᎯ Lavonne Littledave. “ᏙᎯᏳᎯᏯ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏜᎪᏢᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏛᏅᏙᏛᎢ ᏧᏂᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗ. ᎢᎦ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᎩᏰᎸᎭ.” Gower. ᎤᏛᏁᎢ Ꮭ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗ ᎤᏩᏌ ᏱᎦᎩ, ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏅᏗ
ᎠᎵᏍᎪᏟᎢᎠ, ᏗᎾᏓᏕᎩᏍᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏛᎦᏅᏙᎬ ᏗᎾᏓᏅᎦᎸᏒ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏔᎵ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᎩ ᎠᎾᏓᏍᏕᎸᎯᏙᎯ.
ᎾᏃ ᎠᎼᎯ ᎠᏰᎸ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏴᏍᏗᏕᎩ ᎠᏰᏟᎢ ᎠᎵᏍᎪᏟᏗ, ᏧᏂᏢᎩ ᎤᏂᏴᏍᏗ ᏂᎨᎲᎾ ᏅᏬᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏍᏗ ᏗᏂᎦᏘᏯ, ᎦᎦ ᎤᎾᏓᏁᎩᎡᏗ, ᏅᏬᏘ ᏩᎩᏍᏗ, ᏧᎾᏓᏟᎶᏍᏗ ᎥᏰᎸ, ᏨᎬᏙᎵ ᏧᏂᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᎠᏰᎸ ᏄᏛᎾᏕᎬ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᏣᏘᎾᏗᏜ ᏧᏂᏢᎩ ᏫᏗᎨᏥᎧᎲᏍᎬ ᏗᎪᏪᎸ ᏧᎾᎦᏎᏍᏗ. 2009 ᏥᎨᏒᎢ, ᎠᏰᎸ ᎤᎾᎦᏎᏴᏍᏗᏕᎩ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᏚᎵᏍᎪᏟᏔᏁ 45,000 ᎢᏯᏂᎢ ᎨᏥᏍᏕᎵᎰᎢ. ᏍᎪᎯ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎦᏓ ᎠᎲᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎾᏓᏁᎳ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏂᏪᏓ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎠᏁᎳ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎡᏍᎦᏂ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᎾᎵᎢᏗᏍᎬ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎹ.
ᎥᏍᎩᏃ ᏄᏰᏟᏗ ᎠᎼᎯ ᏥᏚᏙᎠ. ᎠᏁᏟᏔᏅᎯ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏱᏂᎬᏁᎳ ᎠᎼᎯ, “ᎠᎴ ᎤᏃᏢᏅᏗᎢ ᎨᏒᎩ” Gower ᎤᏛᏁᎢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ 6 ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᎦᎳᏫᎩ Meredith Frailey ᎠᎴ Chris Soap. ᏍᏓᏯ ᏚᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎳ ᏓᏂᏍᏕᎵᎲᎢ Ꮎ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ.
“(Meredith) ᎠᎴ Chris ᏓᏂᏍᏕᎵᎲ ᎪᎬᏍᎩ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᏁᎯ,” ᏝᏃ ᏜᏱᎬ ᎠᎴ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎠᎴ ᏗᏐᎢ ᏧᎾᏓᏅᏕᏍᏗ ᏙᏗᎪᏢᏒᎢ ᏪᏓᏍᏗ ᏱᎦᎩ.”
ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ Chad Smith ᎤᏥᏣᏘ ᏳᏪᏓ, ᏭᏓᎪᎾᏛᎢ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᎪᎯ ᎨᏒᎩ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏁᎳ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎠᎹᏰᏟ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ.
“ᎣᎦᏚᏓᎵ ᏦᏥᏍᎶᏟᏗ ᏦᎦᏤᎵ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᏚᏙᏢᏩᏗᏒ, ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏏᏴᏫᎭ, ᎠᎴ ᎤᏁᏉᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎪᏢᎯᏐᏗ ᏦᏥᏰᎸᎢ. ᎯᎠᏃᏅ ᏧᏙᏢᎢ ᏱᎩᏍᏕᎳ ᎥᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏁᎢ. “ᏙᎯᏃ ᎠᏁᎯ ᏱᎩ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᏁᎳ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏂ ᏗᎾᏛᏍᎩ.