UNHS 2018 Year in Review...

unhs 2018 in review data.jpgFrom the opening of a new 50,000 square-foot clinic in Montezuma Creek to several new programs and providers being added, 2018 was a very eventful year for Utah Navajo Health Service, Inc. We thought we’d touch on some of the highlights from the year.


  Utah Navajo Health System and the Grand Junction, Colorado Vet Center sponsored a Stand Down for all area veterans in the Montezuma Creek area.

  Melissa Cleveland, VA Coordinator for UNHS, helped organize the event with the help of the Vet Center. The Stand Down brought together several providers and resources that assist veterans in utilizing all the benefits they are entitled to because of their service to America.


  After years of difficulty in sharing information, officials from the State of Utah, Utah Department of Health, San Juan Public Health, UNHS Public Health and the Navajo Nation Epidemiology Department, discussed ways of improving communication and data sharing among the several agencies. The fact that these agencies are discussing this important issue is extremely encouraging.


  Dar Quealy, PAC, began working at the UNHS Blanding Family Practice clinic the first week in February as the walk-in provider. He will see patients who come to the clinic needing to see a provider but have no appointment.



  In an effort to help lower prescription costs for patients using the pharmacy services of Utah Navajo Health System, Inc., UNHS has initiated a $4.00 Club program, in conjunction with the Leader® Prescription Club.

  All that’s required is a $10 annual fee that will be assessed with your first prescription. This fee covers the entire family for one year and can even include family pets. After the fee is paid, patients pay the normal $4.00 fee instead of paying a co-pay.



  Utah Navajo Health System Inc. held the official groundbreaking ceremony for its new Blanding Health Center.

  The Blanding Health Center site is on 300 West, across from Blue Mountain Hospital. Korte Company, is the general contractor for the new 43,000 square-foot clinic.

  UNHS CEO Michael Jensen said, “This is a great day. We’re going to build a beautiful clinic... It’s going to be a real blessing to this community.”


  Dr. Kirk Mosley D.D.S. says returning to Blanding, forty-nine years after his family left to live in Arizona, is like living in a time warp. But he’s glad to be back as a contract dentist with UNHS at Blanding Family Dental.

  Dr. Mosley grew up in Blanding, and attended school here until his junior year of high school, in 1969, when his family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. His mother was the daughter of Oscar Parley Hurst. .


  Susie Martin’s experience, knowledge and connections, make her a perfect fit for the UNHS Behavioral Health staff as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate.

  She was born in Monument Valley at the old Seventh-Day Adventist Hospital and grew up in Monument Valley. UNHS Behavioral Health Director, Rick Hendy, said Susie has already made an impact.



  Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. held the Grand Opening for the new Montezuma Creek Clinic on June 1. More than 500 people attended and observed the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony by UNHS Board and Staff.



  Dr. Vance Telford DDS has returned to UNHS after a four-year absence, and he says he’s glad to be back among the people and the work environment he really enjoys.

  Dr. Telford joined the UNHS Dental team in 2009, after graduating from the Creighton University Scho-ol of Dentistry in 2008 and serving a one-year residency at University of Utah.


  The San Juan County Zero Suicide Coalition has been busy in recent months attempting to address the issue of gun safety in helping to prevent suicide. As part of this effort, the coalition has initiated the Means Restriction Project, intended to help secure firearms in a locked gun safe and prevent individuals who might have suicidal tendencies from gaining access to a firearm. The UNHS Behavioral Health Unit secured several gun safes from Sportsman’s Warehouse, in Heber City, in May. These gun safes were offered at discounted prices, for distribution in San Juan County.



  Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. received a $1 million grant for an upcoming remodeling project scheduled for the Monument Valley Community Health Center in 2019.

  The Indian Health Services Division of Facilities Planning and Construction awarded its Small Ambulatory Program Grant to five recipients nationwide. It is the first time this grant has been awarded since 2006.


  For three days, during the last week of July, UNHS administrators, providers and staff were busy making the move from the old Montezuma Creek Clinic facilities into the new 50,000 square-foot, two-story community health center.

  The move was accomplished in time to open the new building on Friday, July 27, as scheduled.


  Dr. Christy Kopasz D.D.S. has been working with UNHS Dental for the past year-and-a-half as a contract provider, but she has recently agreed to practice in the new Montezuma Creek Clinic every Monday and Tuesday.


  Dr. Nathan Einerson D.M.D. graduated from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in May of this year, after completing a four-year program, and began working with UNHS Dental at the end of July.

  Dr. Einerson is the son of Dick and Dantzelle Einerson, of Blanding, and a 2009 graduate of San Juan High School. He is married to another Blanding native, Sagan Shumway, the daughter of Shane and Merry Shumway.



  UNHS Behavioral Health Director Rick Hendy reported that a new grant from the State of Utah’s Office for Victims of Crime will help domestic violence victims find immediate emergency housing and assistance.

  According to Hendy this $200,000 grant is being offered for the first time this year. It was granted to ten sites throughout Utah on a test basis.


  The newest addition to the Pharmacy team at Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. is a Blanding native, who is thrilled for the opportunity to return home and ply his trade as a PharmD with UNHS.

  Ryan Palmer is a 2000 graduate of San Juan High School. He is married to Cami Flannery, who is also a 2000 graduate of San Juan High.


  The UNHS Public Health Department has started a new program to help parents and their young children build a stronger bond and give parents tools to begin educating children through age 3.

  According to Public Health Director Shawn Begay, the new Parents as Teachers program replaces the Family Spirit Program that has been run for the past two years. He said the Parents as Teachers curriculum provides materials and aids that help stimulate growth and learning in children from newborn to age 3 within the home.


  Dr. Sterling Black DC has joined the provider team at Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. adding Chiropractic care to the UNHS medical arsenal.

  Dr. Black is a native of Blanding and a graduate of San Juan High School. He has been practicing Chiropractic care for the past 18 years, 11 years in Blanding at San Juan Chiropractic. He said UNHS has been talking with him since the first of the year and he feels now is the right time to make the move.


  The Radiology team at the UNHS Montezuma Creek Community Health Center is raving about their new state-of-the-art Siemens Multitom R.A.X. Only a handful of these machines are in use throughout the entire United States. There are now three in Utah, including one at University of Utah, and one that was recently installed at a hospital in Layton.



  Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. has just added a second Doctor of Chiropractic to its arsenal of medical providers with the announcement that Dr. L. Adam Black D.C. has joined the family.

  Dr. Black is a 1991 graduate of San Juan High School. He is married to Brittney Shumway, the daughter of Kathryn and the late Eugene Shumway, of Blanding.


  Alan Wygant recently completed his Masters Degree at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, to become a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner, and began working as an FNP-C with UNHS in September.

  Wygant grew up in Kearns, Utah and graduated from Kearns High School in 2003. He is married to Saralee Brown, daughter of Ken and Alveta Brown, of Blanding. After they were married they moved to Blanding, where Alan began pursuing a career in nursing; first as a CNA, then an LPN and finally an RN. He now practices at the UNHS Monument Valley Community Health Center on Mondays and Fridays, Thursdays at the Montezuma Creek Clinic and at the Blanding Family Practice Clinic on Wednesdays.



  A new $5 million federal grant will help UNHS Behavioral Health assist Native American youth, who have experienced trauma or are at risk for mental health conditions, make a successful transition to adulthood.

  According to Behavioral Health Director Rick Hendy, this is the largest grant ever received by Utah Navajo Health System, Inc.

  The English name for the grant is the Healthy Transitions Initiative, but the grant’s Program Director, Kolenya Holly, said the Navajo name for the grant describes it much better.

  “The Navajo name is iinabihoo’aah, (iina meaning life, all elements, earthly and individual senses) and Bihoo’aah (meaning constant teaching, preparations),” Holly instructed. “It says so much more.”


  Tonya Grass was recently hired as the new Victim Advocate at Utah Navajo Health System, Inc., replacing Lynn Bia, who has moved to a new position with UNHS herself.

  Tonya was raised in the Narrow Canyon community near Monument Valley and attended Monument Valley High School, in Kayenta, Arizona. She graduated in 2006.

  "I really like UNHS. I get to meet a lot of new people and every day is a learning experience," Tonya said.



  Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. recently increased its commitment to end domestic violence with the formation of a Sexual Assault Response Team.

  According to UNHS officials, a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a group of community, medical, law enforcement and social services professionals, who work together to coordinate an immediate and supportive, victim-centered response to the act of sexual violence. The object is to help victims of sexual violence, and their families, regain their sense of self after a sexual assault.

  A vital part of the SART effort is the work of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE); Registered Nurses specifically trained to provide medical forensic examinations, and care, to a survivor of sexual assault. UNHS has added five new SANE nurses in the past two months. These new UNHS SANE nurses are: Katarina Benally, Kendra Tortalita, Yikanee Sampson, Don Benally and Bernadine Grayeyes. They are all RNs and all underwent an extensive four-day training course in early October, in Provo, according to UNHS RN Summer Wojcik. She has been a trained SANE nurse for the past four years, and up until now, the only one in San Juan County.

  Wojcik explained that adding the new SANE nurses will hopefully encourage girls on the Reservation, who have been sexually assaulted, to come forward, agree to have an exam done and receive help. They can even receive a protective order, if needed. Wojcik stressed that these exams must be requested by the survivor. The goal is to make these examinations more available to sexual assault victims on the Navajo Reservation and throughout San Juan County.


  The long search for a new Registered Dietitian at UNHS has ended with the employment of Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Aeron Clason, who came onboard October 29.