Lt. Gov. Antone Highlights GRHC and GRIC at Tribal Health Symposium

December 3, 2022


Emma Hughes

Community Newsperson



The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona, and Arizona Blue Cross Blue Shield held a Tribal Health Symposium on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass. 


Healthcare leaders and staff within tribal communities throughout the state came together to present, discuss, and engage in sessions on the impacts of COVID-19, access to health care, community engaged health research, and more.


Lt. Gov. Monica Antone was in attendance and  was featured in a panel discussion among tribal leaders, where she spoke of her involvement as a member of the state’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Study Committee. She is the only tribal leader to serve on the study committee.


She shared the continuous work of the MMIP Study Committee, which has made compensation available for families of those missing or murdered. In Oct., the study committee began holding hearings in tribal communities.


Lt. Gov. Antone also highlighted the Gila River Indian Community which has led by example and inspired other tribal communities by establishing their own healthcare entity, Gila River Health Care (GRHC) in 1995.


“Gila River Health Care has been able to grow its footprint and enhance services to patients,” said Lt. Gov. Antone. 


GRIC and GRHC worked together to combat the COVID-19 virus and mitigate the spread by implementing drive-thru testing and vaccinations made available for all GRIC members, residents, and employees. Establishing an incident management team, COVID-19 hotline, and dedicated hub with the latest information and resources were additional highlights Lt. Gov. also shared.  


Gila River Health Care received further recognition during the event for its continued work addressing the Community’s needs. One such effort included spotlighting a new innovative approach to meet behavioral health needs through technology. 


With grant funding from Blue Cross Blue Shield, GRHC has developed a mobile app geared towards substance abuse prevention and suicide prevention. 


“This project gave us the ability to dive deep and collect information from key stakeholders and the Community to personalize the app to match our Community efforts,” said Jaime Lee, Assistant Director for Gila River Health Care. 


The grant also supported a mobile RV that will allow mobile behavioral health visits throughout the Community.