Banner Health presents plaque of appreciation to the Gila River Indian Community

Christopher Lomahquahu

Gila River Indian News


Representatives from the Banner Health Foundation located in Phoenix thanked the Gila River Indian Community at a regular Community Council meeting on Feb. 20., for a three-year grant from the GRIC State Shared Revenue in October 2018. The purpose of the grant is for a program called Better Beginnings Neonatal Intensive Care Support Program for mother and child. 


Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis said he appreciates the Community’s relationship with Banner Health because it is in-line with the Community’s values of caring for their youngest members. 

Loren Bouchard, Director of Foundation and Corporate Giving and Melissa Rothlishberger, NICU RN Director, said the grant will support the neonatal care unit at Banner University Medical Center in Phoenix. 


“We are just very grateful you awarded this grant towards an important cause,” said Rothlishberger, “With the grant, we are going to be moving forward with a program, called ‘Better Beginnings.’” 

Banner Health, a non-profit healthcare system, provides services across Arizona and the greater Southwest. Bouchard said partnerships, such as the one with the Community, advance the research for important patient support. 


The NICU also provides care for newborns with complex medical conditions and promotes breast feeding for premature babies. With assistance from the Community, NICU will also address the increased incidence of newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. 


According to the grants submission, “every 25 minutes, a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal, unable to control or avoid the intense and painful symptoms.”