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Terri Schmidt, Indian Health Advocate

Terri Schmidt leads the ORAP for the Indian Health Service, which is the principal federal health care advocate and provider for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Schmidt is Arapaho and a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.

As acting ORAP director, Schmidt is responsible for providing direction and leadership in the areas of contract care, business office/third-party collections and partnerships with other agencies/organizations. The office deals with over $1.9 billion in collections, contract care funds, and agency agreements. It concentrates on supplementing funds provided by the IHS with other federal, state, and private sector resources and to enhance federal and tribal access to those resources.

Schmidt has a broad array of management experience, and her career progression includes both direct clinical care and service unit leadership experience. She began her IHS career as a staff nurse in 1989 and through the years she served as the chief nurse executive, acting Contract Health Services supervisor, public health nurse, and chief executive officer for the Clinton Service Unit in the Oklahoma City Area IHS. In 2007, during her tenure as CEO, she partnered with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes on the design, building and move from the Clinton Indian Hospital to the Clinton Indian Health Center.

In 2008, Schmidt became the Area Contract Health Service Officer for the Oklahoma City Area. In 2010, she moved to IHS headquarters to work as a management analyst for ORAP. From October 2011 to December 2014, she served as the director of the Division of Contract Care in ORAP.

IShe most recently served from December 2014 to January 2016 as acting director of the IHS Office of Management Services. In this role Schmidt provided senior advisory services to the IHS director and senior management staff in the areas of grants, acquisitions and management policy. She ensured the agency policies for these administrative functions were consistent with applicable regulations and directives.

Schmidt has received numerous awards during her professional career, including an IHS Director’s Award for personal dedication, commitment and accomplishments toward the mission of the Indian Health Service. She and her husband, Bob, have three children and four grandchildren. She graduated from Weatherford High School and was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from SWOSU.

Schmidt was inducted into the SWOSU Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2016

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