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Past Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Sally N. Pete

Photo: Sally PeteClass of 1981

Sally Pete received the UNM College of Nursing’s 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award. She has worked for the Indian Health Service for more than twenty years. She provided direct patient care as a public health nurse at Crownpoint, N.M., Fort Defiance and Winslow, Ariz. Becoming a Nurse Consultant to the Navajo Area public health nursing Program, in the late 1980s, she provided technical assistance to all of the Public Health Nursing programs within the Navajo Nation.

When Sally was appointed director of public nursing, she centered her priority concern on patient quality care from infancy to the elderly. She worked closely with all of the health professionals including nurses, physicians, Navajo Nation Community Health representatives, state and county health departments. Sally gave particular attention to high risk children and school health programs which encompass a number of significant health screenings and critical immunizations.

Since 2002, Sally has been the chief executive officer of the Winslow Indian Health Care Center, Inc. (WIHCC). This position requires an oversight of three health care facilities at Winslow, Dilkon and Leupp, Ariz. providing health services to a population of more than 15,000 within eight Navajo Nation Chapters service area, the southwest region of the Navajo Nation. When the WIHCC became the first Navajo Indian Health Service facility to transition to Indian Self Determination under P.L. 93-638 contract status, its challenges were formidable. Equipped with calm, competent leadership, Sally has managed to maintain an impressive level of stability with the staff, executive management team, board of directors, community stakeholders and the Navajo Nation leaders. The WIHCC is an organization with 287 employees and a budget of over $30 million, certainly a more complex, autonomous corporation that it was originally with a $16 million budget and 189 employees.

Sally Pete's distinguished career in Navajo Area Indian Health Service along with her exceptional commitment, her immense contributions and professionalism as a public health nurse and a health administrator are deserving of our recognition.

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