ROCKVILLE, Md. - Robert G. McSwain, a member of the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians of California, was officially sworn in on May 7 as the eighth Indian Health Service (IHS) director. McSwain has served as IHS acting director since September 2007.
The IHS, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the principal federal health care advocate and provider for American Indians and Alaska Natives. As the IHS director, McSwain administers a $4.3 billion national health care delivery program composed of 12 administrative area (regional) offices. The IHS is responsible for providing preventive, curative, and community health care to approximately 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in hospitals, clinics, and other settings throughout the United States.
McSwain began his federal career in 1976 as director for the IHS California Area Office. In 1984 he was named Special Assistant to the Director, IHS, and assigned to long-term training at the University of Southern California. In 1986, he was transferred to the IHS Headquarters in Rockville, Md. where he held positions of increasing responsibility and diversity, including Director of the Division of Health Manpower and Training for the Office of Health Programs, Deputy Associate Director for the Office of Administration and Management, and Management Analysis Officer for the Office of the Director. From 1992 to 1997 he served as the Acting Associate Director for the Office of Human Resources.
McSwain was selected as the Director of the Office of Management Support in March 1997. From August 2004 until February 2005, he served as the Acting Deputy Director for Management Operations. McSwain also served as the IHS Deputy Director from February 2005 until his appointment as the Acting IHS Director.
Mike Leavitt, Secretary of HHS stated, "I applaud the Senate's confirmation of Bob McSwain as Director of [IHS]. Bob brings to this role strong leadership skills and more than 30 years of federal service. Throughout his tenure, he has shown a strong dedication and commitment to the health and well-being of the 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives served by this Department. I know Bob will continue to be a tremendous asset to HHS and I appreciate his contribution to the leadership team."
A ceremonial swearing-in ceremony with Secretary Leavitt presiding will be scheduled at a later date.