New Health Services Manager aims to improve care

Tribal member Estelle Valenzuela has stepped up to take on the role of managing Health Services. Valenzuela took over the role officially last month but has been “acting” in that role since April.

Valenzuela is passionate about her new role and says that she is truly looking forward to making a positive impact in the community she serves.

“I want to look forward … in the past quality care suffered and tribal members noticed,” she said. “ I want to provide a compassionate, sensitive service to make a difference in people’s lives.”

Valenzuela, most recently served as the Health Services administrative assistant, so she is familiar with the office and the clientele, but she said stepping up into a managing role means more work and more control to do good.

“I’m not a typical manager, I take it personally,” she said. “I do home visits and I’m able to communicate with the membership, I treat them the way I would want my parents to be treated.”

So far Valenzuela is seeing what needs to be done and what resources the division needs to help make it a success. Valenzuela said a full staff and a new fleet of vehicles would help her vision of providing top-notch quality care.

“If it wasn’t for my staff this wouldn’t be possible,” she said. “But more staff would help provide more services for more people.”

Valenzuela said her approach to providing care is leading to her staff spending more time with patients, and she likes that.

“It’s not cut and dry anymore,” she told her employees. “It’s okay to show compassion and to sit down and talk with them.”

Health Services has also been working closely with the Division of Social Services sending staff out to the Four Corners Health and Rehabilitation and Cottonwood Inn Rehab Center to visit with patients and take them out to enjoy activities during the day.

“I feel that it is important for their spiritual health as well to be outside and feel the wind blow,” she said.

Valenzuela is not shying away from the responsibilities of her new role and said she looks forward to the overcoming the challenges associated with the job.

“It’s one of the most rewarding and demanding jobs I’ve ever had.”

She added that the door to her office is always open to answer questions and concerns, or to simply have a conversation.

For information about the Health Services Division and the services they provide you can call their main line at 970-563-0154.

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