Better Healthcare, One Project at a Time
Self-reliance has been a successful advantage for the Navajo Hopi Health Foundation in maintaining the mission of benefiting TCRHCC. Several projects have been developed and implemented not only adding quality to the health care facilities, but adding a value of community for employees.
2016 Drouhard Award
The Navajo Hopi Health Foundation (NHHF) Thomas J. Drouhard, M.D. Provider of the Year Award recognizes physicians whose dedication, talents and skills have improved the lives of countless patients and communities in the Tuba City Service Unit, which includes Cameron, Gap/Bodaway, Coppermine, Coalmine, Kaibeto, LeChee, Tonalea, Tuba City, and lower and upper Moenkopi.
We recognize our doctors know their patients personally and dedicate themselves to the care of the community. To honor these exceptional physicians and recognize their continuing contribution to rural healthcare, the Navajo Hopi Health Foundation is proud to sponsor the Thomas J. Drouhard M.D., Provider of the Year Award.
The award is presented each December to a physician who best exemplifies the spirit, skill and dedication of Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation medical practitioners.
This year, the Thomas J. Drouhard, M.D., 2016 Provider of the Year Award recipient is Dr. Kenneth Moran.
Foundation Canyon House
The Foundation Canyon House had its grand opening on October 15th. The Restored house will provide so much for the community, a quaint little thrift shop, a yogurt shop and native arts and crafts. Legendary Native actor Gary Farmer was invited as guest of honor and gave his endorsement to the Foundation’s mission in establishing an oncology center on the Navajo Reservation. We appreciate you, Gary Farmer!!
In remembering one of the Foundation’s most committed volunteers, Leona Canyon, who tragically succumbed to cancer in March 2016, We called the house “ NHHF Canyon House”
Leona’s passing sheds light on how common cancer is on the reservation and that a majority of the people cannot seek treatment due to financial restraint and the distance to an adequate facility. By fate, she’s managed to fuel the beginning of the first oncology center on the reservation.
Below is an open letter from Leona’s daughter, Brooke Canyon. In it, she shares the vulnerability she and her family faced when Leona was diagnosed...
You might be asking, why Oncology services on the Reservation in Northern Arizona? Please allow me to share my experience with you.
I walked into the Flagstaff ER expecting to find my mother and best friend, sitting up providing me with moral support, assuring me everything was fine. Instead I found a weeping confused mother, barely able to speak. She’d undergone surgery a few months earlier for a broken femur and cracked knee cap from a fall on the ice, but both issues were resolving.
I also knew she had a doctor’s appointment this morning, I didn’t know she had missed it because the native transport company couldn’t make room for her and she had to make other arrangements or that once she arrived, the office told her she had to reschedule, even after she told them she was bleeding and in pain, defeated, she asked the transport driver to drop her off at the ER!
Moments after I arrived at the ER, the doctor came in, stated they had done various tests and concluded she had cancer. I heard him say her prognosis was positive, but she would need surgery right away, and they were releasing her, and she would need to follow up with an Oncologist. I
struggled with the suddenness of the situation. Intellectually numb, raw with emotion, I yelled after him, she’s bleeding and in pain, and we are not leaving! She needs to stay in the hospital and have the surgery! Thinking to myself, I’m not stupid because I’m Native American…The nurse came rushing in to calm me down and explain that there were no beds available and currently no oncologist available. Within minutes the doctor returned to say they were calling around to find a bed. I realized at that moment, I needed to take an active part in securing my mother’s care.
My mother, Leona Canyon, like many Native American women was an intensely private person. She only told her closest friend that she was having “serious female problems,” making her a promise to see the doctor. Unfortunately she would have to wait 3 months to get an appointment. Mom didn’t share the seriousness of her symptoms with us, fearing the news would cause my brother and I too much anxiety, depression and disrupt our lives.
The following morning they told us they were transferring her to UAMC 350 miles away. I called my brother and told him what was happening. His wife had started a new job and he was watching the kids, but he would make arrangements and come down as soon as possible.
When we arrived in Tucson they put my mother in the Progressive Care Unit, got her started on IVs and she started to rally. While we waited for surgery, she talked to a couple of friends on the phone and assured them it would be ok, and then she was whisked away by the OR staff.
I was alone and scared, worrying about my brother, trying to drive his old car 350 miles, leaving his pregnant wife and three kids. How I was going to eat? Where I would stay? I had $248.00 in my bank account until pay day. What was going to happen to us? The hospital kept asking me about my mom’s insurance, was she still on medical leave from her fall. I had no idea and without “Power of Attorney”, I couldn’t find out.
When my mother returned from surgery, I knew her situation was serious, but I didn’t realize she was barely clinging to life. I spoke softly to her and caressed her beautiful bronze wrist, but quickly became overwhelmed and ran from the room crying, leaving a bewildered nurse in my wake. I wanted my family; I needed to be near them on the reservation. I knew no one here, and they had no understanding of what it was like to be native in a cultural vacuum.
The doctor came in and said the cancer had advanced aggressively and she had experienced some low oxygen levels in surgery, but she should be fine and they would start chemotherapy after she recovered in a couple of weeks. Though I knew of people who passed from the disease, cancer was their tragedy not mine, I had no understanding of the havoc it wreaked. My mom was a three-dimensional virtuous woman, who was always making plans to improve her part of the world, while painstakingly caring for her family. Now she was bedridden in an ICU with her hands restrained, lest she become agitated and rip out the many IVs and tubes used to sustain her ebbing life.
My brother arrived…and from the moment he saw her, he began grieving in deeply visceral ways. Without a support system would his sobriety suffer, his progress be lost? I called family, I knew it would be a hardship for them to make the trip, but if she was nearing the end of her life they needed to know.
I had so many questions: What is a SNF, “skilled nursing facility”? Do we have one closer to home, why Tucson? How can I leave her alone, what about my job, my house? Who can I ask for help? I don’t have Mom’s “Power of Attorney”, I can’t find out about her insurance. My brother needs gas money to get back home, on and on my mind spiraled into exhaustion.
My aunts arrived the next day and we all got a hotel room together. Natives are good at sleeping in one room, it’s called a Hogan and it felt good to be together, to have their wisdom and support. I had been there for three days sleeping in my car and it was great to take a shower and stretch out on a floor and rest.
Then the call… something went wrong and they were taking her back to surgery, then another event in surgery with the oxygen, then infection. Waiting at her bedside, praying, and thinking if only my mother had access to care on the Reservation; where people understood us, near family, ceremonies, and prayer offerings, spiritual and psychological support.
When it became clear she wouldn’t survive, we waited out her passing, which was the most painful experience of my life. We sat vigil at her bedside, watching her breaths become slower and longer. It was almost impossible to reconcile the sick, weakened body with memories of my mother, ebullient, effusive, her crackling energy propelling her to meetings and planning family gatherings. It was a humbling reminder of our collective mortality; despite our rich, complex lives and particular attributes, we are ultimately reduced to mere bodies that cease to function.
As is commonly said, grief tends to come in waves; there are times when it feels like she’s still very much here, only a text message away. Other times, her absence is maddening, and I can barely bring myself to operate normally. It’s astounding that any conversation I have, concerns something besides this major loss, that people are moving on with their lives all around me like nothing happened. My mother will pervade my life forever, enabling my achievements and cushioning my failures. Though not physically present, her maternal love transcends death.
I take solace in knowing that my mother’s passing may help to progress Oncology services on the reservation. This is one story about delayed diagnosis; caused by limited access to care compounded by poverty and language barriers. Native Americans deserve better! May her story change the future of oncology services on the reservation for everyone.
It is often difficult to separate reality from our preconceived truths. So just too quickly explain, not all Native Americans get casino payouts or payouts of any kind. Being traditional, Navajos and Hopis were slow to step into that arena and are not expected see any profit from their venture for many years. When and if they do, the money is earmarked for basic life sustaining improvements, clean wells, solar/electricity, and paved roads. On the Navajo Nation there is Diabetes and obesity from subsidy food, and an alarming 50% unemployment rate. The life expectancy on the reservation is 17 years shorter than the average American, and for much of their life they will be burdened with third world health conditions. There are over 550 Uranium Mines that leach into the ground water on the reservations in Northern Arizona, tainting wells, the plants, the animals. the people.
Thank you for allowing me to share with you this all too common patient experience.
Please help us build a cancer center on the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation campus
Wishing you the very best,
Donate to the Cancer Center
The TCRHCC serves the Native Americans of the western region of the Navajo Nations and its immediate neighbor the Hopi Reservation, as well as the immediate user population of the 37, 885 is primarily located in Coconino County, Arizona.
TCRHCC's initial Specialty Program intent is to strengthen the organizations stature and capability to offer accessible care to Our Native Communities.
Advantages to Local Cancer Care:
• Less travel for Patients, esp. patients receiving chemotherapy
• Better follow up, surveillance and survivorship
• Early recognition and managemenr of cancer therapy-related toxicities
• more accurate numbers and statisticsView Our PDF for More Information
Strive For Five
An step toward to change can be as simple as donating $5.00 a paycheck to improving the patient experience, clinical enhancements, upgrading the facilities, and funding a small town's summer youth volunteer program.
Legacy Brick Program
Support the Navajo-Hopi Health Foundation and become a permanent part of the hospital’s history by purchasing a Heritage Garden Engraved Brick.
Your personalized brick will be laid in the Heritage Garden at the West Entrance of the hospital’s sliding glass doors. This prime location will guarantee that your bricks will be seen by hundreds of visitors each year.
Your donation through this purchase will go to the hospital’s foundation to support new Foundation Projects. If you would like to learn more about these projects, contact Barbara Peters at 928-274-0888 or pick up a flyer at the TCRHCC Gift Shop.Order Here
The Navajo Hopi Health Foundation hosts it's annual Winter Gala at then end of the year in an attempt raise money for the hospital’s ongoing needs and to celebrate Tuba City Regional Health Care employees and their hard work throughout the year.
Navajo Hopi Health Foundation is very excited to host the Holiday Party and Fundraiser. The Winter Gala is a fun, glamorous and exciting night of dancing, entertainment, and laughs. We are excited to bring good cheer to the employees, honor our wonderful benefactors, and support the efforts of the Foundation.
donations are tax deductible.
proceeds go directly to the Navajo Hopi Health Foundation’s many hospital projects.
Foundation staff are volunteers.
Winter Raffle Baskets
Near the holidays, participating departments assemble and donate gift baskets containing so many goodies inside. Displayed for nearly two months in the clinic display cases, patients, visitors and employees marvel over each basket and pay $2.00 a raffle ticket, hoping to win. End of the year 2015 brought over 14 baskets from 14 departments and ticket sales accumulated to over $2,000+
Baskets were donated by various departments of the hospital, such as:
• Safety Officer
• Mobile Health
• House Supervisor
• Clinical Services
• Clinical Education
• OR Department
• Emergency Services
• Finance and Revenue
• Information Technology
• Facilities Management
• Human Rescources
Summer Youth Program
Working alongside the community's employment programs, Workforce Development and Office of Youth Development, students from Tuba City's school systems spend their summer at TCRHCC. As volunteers, students rotate weekly throughout the hospital aiding in departments of their interest, learning about medicine and the operations of the hospital. The prime goal is to open curiosity and uncover what medical careers exist while developing skills for the workforce. After completion of the summer program, several students continued to volunteer throughout their school year. The program’s impact led to a few pursuing certified positions in the clinics and are expect to become medical professionals.
The Hogan Project
In keeping with benefiting the tribes of northern Arizona, the NHHF funded the development of a Hogan on TCRHCC property. The Hogan is a beloved and well-respected structure in old Navajo culture. The Office of Native and Spiritual Medicine within TCRHCC uses the Hogan in times of spirituality—ceremonies for patients and staff and meetings/presentations are held inside.