Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Monday, Oct. 25 @ 11:50 a.m. / Community

Rosa Davis, 'One Of The Very First Employees Hired at UIHS,' Celebrates 50 Years

Rosa Davis

Rosa Davis celebrated her 50th anniversary as a United Indian Healthcare employee on Friday.

From a UIHS press release:

With the pandemic wreaking havoc on events and celebrations worldwide, United Indian Health Services wasn't able to properly celebrate their 50 year anniversary in 2020.

2021 has offered UIHS a second chance by celebrating one of their own, who has been with UIHS for an incredible 50 years as of September.

Rosa Davis has worked for UIHS for 50 years. Rosa was one of the very first employees hired at UIHS in 1971.

Davis began her career as a Community Health Representative (CHR). CHRs are the lifeline between the community and health care. They provide education about many health topics, and are a valuable resource providing information and referrals for needed services for UIHS clients.

"We started out with five CHRs and 15 Board members, and now we have multiple clinics with doctors, nurses and all kinds of professionals," said Davis.

In the early 1970's, healthcare was much different than it is today, especially for native communities.

"There were a couple of ladies down at the Head Start who were telling me about how they used to ride the van to Trinidad where our second clinic was to go to the doctor and the dentist. From the Del Norte area it was all about transportation there; you would have to go with your parents, pack a little lunch. It would take you all day.

In her 50 year career, Rosa has worked with thousands of clients. Her specialty has been prenatal and postnatal education and support for many mothers in Del Norte County. Rosa is now assisting the granddaughters of clients that she assisted back in the 1970’s.

"UIHS has changed so much in the last 50 years, I think you would really have to be there in the beginning to even know how much it has changed.," said Davis.

UIHS started with community outreach services, with the first services provided on site being dental care. UIHS continued to expand it’s services into nearly every large town within Humboldt County, as well as servicing tribal members from every Rancheria and Reservation in the areas of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. The use of UIHS mobile services allowed the clinic to provide services to tribal members who still lived in areas that had no electricity or telephones.

Through the 1970's and 80's, UIHS outgrew four sites, started several satellite clinics, and went from offering basic dental and medical services to a thoroughly modern, full spectrum health service agency. Along the way UIHS has increasingly realized it’s goal of incorporating traditional values and customs into daily activities.

Asked about what she'd like to see UIHS do over the next 50 years, Davis didn't hesitate.

"I think I would like to see UIHS in another 50 years with our own professionals where we won't have to send people out to get their hearts operated on - we should get more professionals like that. I just think they should just keep on keeping on, because I think they'll get where we need to go sooner or later."


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