North Fork tribal leader named to federal advisory board

The Fresno BeeMarch 3, 2014 

Elaine Bethel-Fink

Elaine Bethel-Fink, chairwoman of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians, has been named primary representative for the California Area of Indian Health Service on the federal Health & Human Services secretary's Tribal Advisory Committee.

The committee is designed to reform how the federal Health & Human Services department works with Native Americans.

Established in 2010 by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as part of an Obama administration initiative to improve services and relationships with the nation's 566 federally recognized tribes, the advisory committee provides guidance for federal priorities and budgets and participates in forums to ensure the perspectives of tribal nations are included in policy discussions.

The California Area, one of 12 nationally, is among the largest in tribes served and among the most advanced in tribal health care facilities.

Bethel-Fink has served on the tribal council of North Fork Rancheria since May 2002, mostly as tribal chairwoman. During her tenure, the tribal council established a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to promote self-sufficiency.

Using local and federal funds, the tribe also has overseen construction of a community/elder center, tribal housing units and a community fire station.

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