By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
One Feather Staff
A tribal health official has been appointed as a member of the Board of Directors for the N.C. Institute of Medicine (NCIOM). Gov. Roy Cooper announced the appointment of Vickie Bradley, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and the Secretary of the EBCI Public Health and Human Services (PHHS) division, on Friday, Jan. 7.
“I’ve been a member of the NCIOM for awhile, but to be considered for a position on the NCIOM Board of Directors was humbling, and I’m very honored and excited,” said Secretary Bradley. “It is important that the EBCI have representation in all areas where policy is developed so the needs of our community are considered.”
She added, “The goal of all NCIOM initiatives and research is to improve the health and well-being of North Carolinians by identifying evidence-based solutions with broad stakeholder support. I will continue to work hard to focus on the areas that the Board primarily focuses on, increasing access to health care, improving population health, addressing health professional workforce needs, meeting the needs of special populations, and strengthening North Carolina’s mental health and substance use service systems.”
Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed released a statement on Monday, Jan. 10 praising Secretary Bradley’s appointment. “Vickie has worked in public health for 30 years and has worked in Tribal Public Health serving and caring for the EBCI community for the last 18 years. Vickie’s passion to ensure the health and well-being of our community makes her an outstanding and most deserving choice for this appointment.”
He added, “The mission of the NCIOM is to seek constructive solutions to statewide problems that impede the improvement of health and find the most efficient and effective ways to deliver health care to all North Carolina citizens.”
Secretary Bradley was appointed to a five-year stint on the NCIOM in early 2020. That same year, she also received the Heroes in Health Local Impact Award from the National Indian Health Board.
“The EBCI works closely with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to address health issues facing the state and EBCI citizens,” said Secretary Bradley. “NCDHHS relies on NCIOM for research and recommendations, so it is important for our community to know what initiatives, projects, and recommendations NCIOM is making to the Department. It will be helpful for the Tribe to have a voice on the NCIOM Board because the NCIOM task forces and projects bring stakeholders together to identify evidence-based strategies to address the health concerns.”
She went on to say, “Although I’ve served on various task forces for NCIOM; representation on the Board will allow me greater opportunity to help create agendas that address policies that improve health and share perspectives about Native health issues.”
Secretary Bradley received a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from Western Carolina University and a master of public health degree from Lenoir-Rhyne University. She has worked for 18 years with the EBCI population holding various positions including: certified addictions registered nurse supervisor at UNITY, Community Health nurse, Wound Care supervisor, Tribal Public Health operations director, and currently as PHHS Secretary.