New director to lead Indian Health Service Navajo Area

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
Roselyn Tso

FARMINGTON — The Indian Health Service has named a new director for its Navajo Area office.

Roselyn Tso was appointed on July 29 to administer the office, which is one of 12 regional administrative units under the IHS, and will start her service on Aug. 4, according to the agency.

Tso has worked for the IHS for more than 35 years and brings expertise in policy development and technical assistance for contracts between federal government agencies and federally recognized tribes.

Her most recent position was director for the IHS Office of Direct Service and Contracting Tribes in Rockville, Maryland.

"I'm proud to lead the IHS Navajo Area and I'm excited about the opportunity to continue working with our healthcare partners to provide quality, comprehensive health care for the patients we serve," Tso said in the agency's press release on July 29.

Rear Adm. Michael Weahkee, the agency's acting director, announced Tso's selection at the fourth quarterly meeting for the IHS Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee in Albuquerque, according to a release from the Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President.

Roselyn Tso speaks at the quarterly meeting for the Indian Health Service Direct Service Tribes Advisory Committee on July 30 in Albuquerque.

"Roselyn's wealth of experience and leadership skills will be a welcome addition to the IHS Navajo Area as we continue to improve and provide access to quality health care services for American Indians and Alaska Natives," Weahkee said in the IHS press release.

It has been nearly three years since the area office, located in St. Michaels, Arizona, has had a director. Prior to the July 29 announcement, Capt. Brian Johnson served as acting area director.

Tso is a member of the Navajo Nation and her appointment was commended by tribal leaders, including President Jonathan Nez and Navajo Nation Council Delegate Daniel E. Tso, who serves as chairman for the Health, Education and Human Services Committee.

The Navajo Area IHS is comprised of five federally-operated hospitals and six facilities under the authority of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act.

Together, the facilities serve members of the Navajo Nation, the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe and other Native Americans in the region.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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