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The Indian Health Service and Professional Counselors
The Indian Health Service (IHS), the federal health program for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), does not recognize professional counselors as eligible health care providers. Among other problems, counselors are not eligible for the IHS scholarship program, a key IHS provider recruitment tool.
A report released in September 2011 showed a shortage of mental health professionals in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities. The National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) is working with Congress and IHS to make counselors eligible for IHS employment to help address this provider shortage for the American Indian population.
Read more about counselors and IHS recognition.
On August 16, 2012, NBCC participated in a conference call hosted by IHS. The call was to discuss the role of counselors within IHS and efforts to increase education and employment. The discussion focused on using dissemination outlets and Web sites to share information, as well as including counselors in IHS scholarships and other agency programs.