Ashley Tuomi Shares Personal Message on Infant at Work Policy

Hi my name is Brendyn Alexander Smallwood and tomorrow I wil be 3 weeks old. Today is my first day of work at American Indian Health and Family Services of  South  Eastern  Michigan! 

Because of an infant at work policy, I am able to return to work after just three weeks from giving birth. This policy was implemented in 2011, before I started working for American Indian Health and Family Services. Even though I did not create the policy, I immediately saw the benefit of the program. There have been a number of employees who have used this program successfully in the last five years. Today, I begin my adventure of returning to work with my son.

I’m not going to sugar coat things and say that our program is perfect or that there are zero distractions with an infant at work, but so far from what I have seen the benefits outweigh any of the negatives. I also have to say that we are in the process of revising our program and policies to fix some of the programs that we have come across.

Some of the benefits include: Getting the employee back quicker (As in my case- although most people still take a longer leave than I did), bonding doesn’t stop because the parent has to go back to work, retention increases, higher morale, and in many cases increased breastfeeding rates.

The reason that I am sharing this today, is that I want to encourage other organizations to look at the possibility of creating an infant at work policy. I would love to share our policy and have a conversation with your leadership about the possibility of implementing the program. There are also a lot of resources available online including the Parenting in the Workplace Institute (

15 UIHPs awarded IHS Grants to Support Behavioral Health Programming

Contact: (301) 443-3593,

IHS Awards $16.5 Million in Grants to Support Behavioral Health Programs

Indian Health Service (IHS) made awards to four behavioral health programs serving American Indians and Alaska Natives across the United States. The four programs are Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention (SASP) and Domestic Violence Prevention Program (DVPP), as well as Behavioral Health Integration Initiative (BH2I) and the Preventing Alcohol-Related Deaths (PARD), which are both new programs.

“These awards will address the critical behavioral health needs seen in our tribal clinics, hospitals and Native communities,” said Rear Adm. Michael D. Weahkee, acting director of the Indian Health Service. “IHS is committed to providing resources to facilities to provide coordinated community responses, increase access to preventive care, integrate behavioral health with primary care, provide alcohol detoxification services, and incorporate culturally appropriate practices and services to our patients.”

Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention Program

The SASP funding opportunity provides culturally appropriate prevention and early intervention strategies aimed at reducing suicide and substance use and misuse among Native youth up to age 24. Funded projects work to implement evidence-based, practice-based, and emerging practices to build resiliency, foster positive development, and promote family engagement. IHS awarded $5.6 million to 43 projects.

The following IHS facilities, tribes, tribal organizations and Urban Indian Organizations received funding:

  • Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, $236,407
  • Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association, Inc., $299,828
  • American Indian Health & Services, Santa Barbara, California, $200,000
  • American Indian Health Service of Chicago, Inc., $115,000
  • Anadarko Indian Health Center, Anadarko, Oklahoma, $296,157
  • Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Odanah, Wisconsin, $136,919
  • Bay Mills Indian Community, Brimley, Michigan, $100,948
  • Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Alaska, $141,828
  • Copper River Native Association, Copper Center, Alaska, $155,346
  • Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, Alaska, $100,000
  • Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, Roseburg, Oregon, $27,667
  • Eastern Aleutian Tribes, Alaska, $299,038
  • Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, $50,000
  • Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, $100,000
  • Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians, Peshawbestown, Michigan, $42,950
  • Ho-Chunk Nation, Black River Falls, Wisconsin, $125,000
  • Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, $51,657
  • Indian Health Care Resource Center of Tulsa, Oklahoma, $107,035
  • Indian Health Center, Inc. Lincoln, Nebraska, $100,000
  • Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, $50,000
  • Kenaitze Indian Tribe, Kenai, Alaska, $250,000
  • Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Carnegie, Oklahoma, $152,258
  • Kyle Health Center, Kyle, South Dakota, $144,454
  • Native American Community Health Center (Phoenix), $190,064
  • Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, Portland, Oregon, $27,666
  • Norton Sound Health Corporation, Nome, Alaska, $275,858
  • Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, $151,811
  • Orutsaramiut Native Council, Bethel, Alaska, $239,097
  • Passamaquoddy Indian Township, Maine, $25,000
  • Phoenix Indian Center, $197,443
  • Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Kingston, Washington, $132,332
  • Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation, Mayetta, Kansas, $300,000
  • Pribilof Islands Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, Alaska, $118,500
  • Ramah Navajo School Board, Inc., Pinehill, New Mexico, $50,000
  • Seattle Indian Health Board, $100,000
  • SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, Juneau, Alaska, $50,000
  • Southern Indian Health Council, Inc., Alpine, California, $50,000
  • Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Ignacio, Colorado, $50,000
  • Taos Pueblo Central Management System, Taos, New Mexico, $50,000
  • White Earth Band of Chippewa Indians, White Earth, Minnesota, $11,750
  • Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Winnebago, Nebraska, $90,997
  • Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma, Wyandotte, Oklahoma, $102,803
  • Yankton Sioux Tribe Boys and Girls Club, Yankton, South Dakota, $96,193

Domestic Violence Prevention Program

The DVPP funding opportunity expands outreach and increases awareness of domestic and sexual violence, provides victim advocacy, intervention, case coordination, policy development, community response teams, community and school education programs, and forensic healthcare services. IHS awarded $2.9 million to 20 projects.

The following IHS facilities, tribes, tribal organizations and Urban Indian Organizations received funding:

  • California Rural Indian Health Board, Inc., Sacramento, California, $144,000
  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Siletz, Oregon, $125,000
  • Crownpoint Health Care Facility, Crownpoint, New Mexico, $200,000
  • Fairbanks Native Association, Fairbanks, Alaska, $200,000
  • Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Inc., Rio Rancho, New Mexico, $150,000
  • Kawerak, Inc., Nome, Alaska, $207,341
  • Minneapolis American Indian Center, Minnesota, $100,000
  • Nebraska Urban Indian Health Coalition, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska, $100,000
  • Nevada Urban Indians, Inc., Reno, Nevada, $100,000
  • Nez Perce Tribe, Lapwai, Idaho, $50,012
  • Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, Portland, Oregon, $83,000
  • Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, Cedar City, Utah, $166,321
  • Pawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, Pawnee, Oklahoma, $200,000
  • Phoenix Indian Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona, $199,997
  • Pine Ridge Indian Hospital, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, $80,000
  • Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Red Cliff, Wisconsin, $204,000
  • Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Agency Village, South Dakota, $200,000
  • Urban Indian Center of Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, Utah, $100,000
  • Utah Navajo Health System, Inc., Montezuma Creek, Utah, $194,500
  • Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, Winnebago, Nebraska $50,000

Behavioral Health Integration Initiative

The BH2I is a new funding opportunity at IHS and will assist awardees to plan, develop, implement, and evaluate behavioral health integration with primary care. Projects will operate on a 3-year funding cycle. IHS awarded $6 million to 12 projects.

The following IHS facilities, tribes, tribal organizations and Urban Indian Organizations received funding:

  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Durant, Oklahoma, $500,000
  • Ho-Chunk Nation, Black River Falls, Wisconsin, $500,000
  • Indian Health Board of Minneapolis, Inc., $500,000
  • Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley, San Jose, California, $500,000
  • Kodiak Area Native Association, Kodiak, Alaska, $500,000
  • Muscogee Creek Nation, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, $500,000
  • Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Lame Deer, Montana, $500,000
  • Red Lake Hospital, Red Lake, Minnesota, $500,000
  • Rocky Boy Health Board, Box Elder, Montana, $500,000
  • South Dakota Urban Indian Health, Inc., Pierre, South Dakota, $500,000
  • United American Indian Involvement, Los Angeles, California, $500,000
  • Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, Pendleton, Oregon, $500,000

Preventing Alcohol-Related Deaths

The new Preventing Alcohol-Related Deaths (PARD) grants will increase access to social detoxification, evaluation, stabilization, fostering patient readiness for and entry into treatment for alcohol use disorders and, when appropriate, other substance use disorders. Organizations that qualified for the grant must have a fully operational and staffed social detoxification program that primarily serves Indians. Projects will operate on a 5-year funding cycle. IHS will award $2 million to two projects.

The following tribe and city received funding:

  • City of Gallup, Gallup, New Mexico, $1,500,000
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, $500,000

The IHS Division of Behavioral Health serves as the primary source of national advocacy, policy development, management and administration of behavioral health, alcohol and substance abuse, and family violence prevention programs.

Best Practices Research Memo: American Indians and Alaska Natives Living with Disabilities in Urban Areas

American Indians and Alaska Natives living with disabilities in urban areas (“urban Indian”) face tremendous challenges to participate in their communities given their circumstances stemming from compounded biopsychosocial factors. Urban Indians living with disabilities remain largely unheard and marginalized. There are currently few resources and programs that allow for full participation and/or integration.1 Available data on this population is scarce, as current federal restrictions prevent the Census Bureau from delineating detailed information on disabilities in Indian Country. Cultural barriers can also restrict access to federal and state programs for which they are eligible, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Read full Memo here>>>