A familiar face around the Citizen Potawatomi Nation recently received notice that she would be honored with an award from the National Indian Health Board, CPN Health Services and Healthy Heart Program Coordinator Torie Fuller MS, RD/LD was named the 2016 Local Impact Award recipient for her service in improving health outcomes in Indian Country.

“Your service to Indian Country has been noted by tribal leaders and advocates across the country and we are honored to have this opportunity to recognize your achievements and service,” wrote NIHB Chairperson Lester Secatero in a letter announcing the award.

Fuller, a registered dietitian who works with groups and departments at CPN to improve health outcomes, has been with the tribe since 2013. She graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2013 with an MS in Nutrition and Food Management and wanted to work in a community setting focused on prevention of chronic diseases through education.

“I fell in love with nutrition as a very important way of life to help with prevention of chronic disease and improve lifestyle changes for my patients,” explained Fuller. “Everyone has to eat to live so I can help my patients with making healthier changes to improve their health.”

Whether it’s teaching cooking classes to produce healthy meals or educating participants in the Healthy Heart Program, Fuller says her own educational background, which includes certifications in adult, adolescent and childhood weight management techniques, are there to help patients make healthier lifestyle choices.

At CPN, Fuller plays an integral role in many tribal programs, including monthly cooking demonstrations for the elder and Healthy Heart Programs and monthly health education classes for tribal youth programs. She also co-founded the CPN Community Garden. In addition to these roles, she has also overseen grant programs focused on preventative health as the Native Telehealth Outreach and Technical Assistance Program and the Notah Begay Foundation Capacity Building program. She currently serves as president of the Oklahoma Inter-Tribal Diabetes Coalition.

“We’re very proud of Torie’s work and her recognition by the NIHB, a prestigious national organization, proves how important her efforts are,” said CPN Health Services Director Chris Skillings.

The National Indian Health Board represents tribal governments that operate their own health care delivery systems through contracting and compacting and those receiving health care directly from the Indian Health Service. The NIHB presents tribal perspectives while monitoring federal legislation, and opening opportunities to network with other national health care organizations to engage their support on Indian health care issues.