James Driving Hawk becomes CEO of the Phoenix Indian Medical Center


Ethan Kispert


The Indian Health Service (IHS) announced James Driving Hawk as the new chief executive officer of the Phoenix Indian Medical Center on August 25.


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Driving Hawk, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, has served as both the director and the acting director at the IHS Great Plains office since 2017. While there, he helped establish a comprehensive federal, tribal, and urban health care system for Native Americans. 

He also led the IHS Great Plains Area in establishing a new governance structure for all hospitals and clinics including the founding of the Division of Quality and Compliance for the area, according to IHS. He also emphasized improved transparency and communication to better respond to input from tribal officials. 

Driving Hawk said:

“I am grateful for the opportunity to return to the Phoenix Area, where my IHS career began, and join the team at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. I look forward to continuing our efforts to provide high quality, comprehensive health care services for American Indians and Alaska Natives in the Phoenix area.”

With a bachelor’s degree in business administration and more than 23 years of service to IHS under his belt, according to the IHS, he brings expertise in financial management, healthcare administration, purchased/referred care, business office operations, and tribal budget consultation. 

Dr. Ty Reidhead, IHS Phoenix Area Director, shared his excitement at the announcement. 

“The Phoenix Indian Medical Center is the largest hospital operated by the IHS, providing comprehensive multi-specialty outpatient and inpatient care to people in the Phoenix Area. I am excited to have an experienced and accomplished leader at the helm.” 

U.S. Public Health Service Capt. Brent Rohlfs will serve as the acting director for the Great Plains Area.