Strengthening health services so that the American Indian people have access to stable, well-run, high-quality, tribally-led health care.

The goal of this initiative is to strengthen American Indian health services so that American Indian people in Montana have access to stable, well-run, high-quality, tribally-led health care.

American Indian people in Montana often lack adequate access to quality preventive, primary, and specialty health care. Specific problems include fragmentation among the Indian Health Services (IHS), tribal, urban, and private health care systems; longstanding underfunding; complex state and federal funding and regulations with frequent changes in policy; under-funding of urban Indian health centers relative to other parts of the American Indian health care system; and missed opportunities to generate stable funding for improved health services through billing insurance. National experience shows that tribally-run health systems can achieve outstanding clinical care and better health outcomes, yet there are relatively few tribally-led health services in Montana.

Only tribes, tribal government agencies, and urban Indian health programs may apply for funding under this initiative to carry out projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must describe a plan for creating, strengthening, or assuming management from IHS (via public law 638) of a specific program or service that responds to a clearly identified health priority.
  • Applicants must identify a viable source(s) of revenue (such as billing insurance or using T-HIP funding) to support the program beyond the term of the grant.
  • Applicants must consider whether there may be any potential partnerships with outside organizations such as hospitals or health departments that could strengthen the project.
  • Applicants must demonstrate that they have the capacity to carry out the project.

If you are interested in applying for support to strengthen American Indian health services, please contact MHCF Senior Program Officer Tressie White

Grant decisions will be based on our general selection criteria (which can be found in our 2018 Call for Proposals) and the specific requirements for this initiative.

Reducing American Indian Health Disparities

Focus Area: American Indian Health

Our Work in Strengthening Health Services

Strengthening Health Services Grantees

Two Eagle River School

Two Eagle River School Wellness Project

Project Term: 12 months; 2017-2018
Grant Amount: $50,000

This grant will fund a partnership between Two Eagle River School and Tribal Health of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) to bring a licensed mental health counselor into the school to provide behavioral health services to the students. Two Eagle River School is a tribal alternative middle and high school serving 110 students on the Flathead Reservation. After multiple suicides in the community over the past year, the school has identified an immediate need to address the mental health and historical trauma needs of the students. The project is supported by the CSKT Tribal Council and will form a new partnership with CSKT Tribal Health. Freedom Lodge is a non-profit that will provide training to the therapist to address historical trauma within the school and assist with the evaluation of the project.  


Blackfeet Tribal Health

Blackfeet Emergency Medical Services Program

Project Term: 24 months; 2017-2019
Grant Amount: $75,136

This project will train and certify six paramedics from Blackfeet Tribal Health’s current emergency medicine technician staff. A consultant will provide classroom and skills training, and paramedic students will have the opportunity to do ride-alongs and work in the emergency departments of partner organizations including. Trained paramedic staff will allow the tribe to address workforce challenges and provide much needed services for the community.


Missoula Urban Indian Health Center

Qua Qui Connection: The Circle of Good Medicine and Holistic Health

Project Term: 24 months; 2017-2019
Grant Amount: $150,000

This project will add primary care services to the current behavioral health and diabetes programming at Missoula Urban Indian Health Center (MUIHC). The addition of a primary care services will help MUIHC become a fully-functioning urban Indian health center that provides comprehensive, culturally appropriate care for one of the largest urban Indian populations in the state. Grant funding will be used to support a primary care provider to launch the medical clinic.

Fort Belknap Tribal Health

Diabetes Care Clinic

Project Term: 18 months; 2017-2019
Grant Amount: $90,000

This project will expand Fort Belknap’s current diabetes program by establishing a Diabetes Care Clinic to provide consistent, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate primary care to patients diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes. The project will also create an independent, tribally-run health board to administer the clinic and provide a stable governing body to oversee its functions. Grant funding will be used to contract with a health system administrator to assist in developing the tribal health board and oversee the Diabetes Care Clinic and its supportive components. Partners include the Indian Health Service, and the Fort Belknap Tribal Health and Centralized Billing Departments.

Eagle Shield Center

Blackfeet Community Hospice Project

Project Term: 12 months; 2017-2018
Grant Amount: $26,262

This planning grant aims to achieve two primary objectives: establish a partnership among tribal agencies on the Blackfeet reservation who will collaborate toward developing hospice services for the community and provide a one-day workshop to educate the Blackfeet community about hospice and end-of-life care. Since 2007, Blackfeet community members and a researcher from Montana State University have been collaborating on end-of-life experiences among Blackfeet people using a participatory approach. The partnership includes the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council, the Eagle Shield Center, the Blackfeet Tribal Health Department, Tribal Planning, Blackfeet Community College, Blackfeet Family and Child Services, Indian Health Service, and the Tribal Diabetes Clinic. At the conclusion of this project, a solid partnership will be established in the community and the workshop on available hospice services in the Blackfeet community will increase the community’s knowledge of end-of-life care needs and services.

2018 Call for Proposals

Find out about this year’s available grants.