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The Native American Health Center (NAHC) in Oakland, California announced on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023, Natalie Aguilera, MPA (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma) as the organization's new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Having dedicated over 18 years to NAHC, Aguilera previously served as the Chief Administrative Officer.

“NAHC is in good hands with Natalie. She has shown unwavering dedication to our community, and has always been willing to meet the challenges to heal our community. I am proud of the work we've accomplished together, and I know she will lead NAHC to greater heights, keeping the dreams alive for our children, grandchildren, and the generations to come. Our legacy continues, and it is bright,” Martin Waukazoo said. Waukazoo served as NAHC’s CEO for 40 years before retiring on November 1, 2023.

Aguilera has led significant initiatives, including launching the Seven Generations Scholarship Fund, through which NAHC has expanded its commitment to the future wellness, healing, and success of the Native American community. With a strategic vision, she has also accelerated NAHC's expansion into housing development. In 2024, NAHC will own 36 affordable housing units above their 7 Directions clinic, and the new 3050 International Boulevard building that NAHC is breaking ground on in early 2024 will feature expanded dental services, a cultural community center, and an additional 76 units of affordable housing.

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"The projects we've been working on will help NAHC grow and further support our community members by expanding access to care and addressing the most pressing social determinants of health, including housing. The intersection of healthcare and housing is critical, and we are committed to ensuring affordable housing is available to our community members here in the Bay Area,” Aguilera said.

Natalie’s work and advocacy extends to the statewide and national level.  Natalie is an active leader and serves as a Board Member with the California Consortium for Urban Indian Health (CCUIH), as well as a leader with the National Council of Urban Indian Health organization (NCUIH). 

“When I started here 18 years ago, I never envisioned that this was where I would be. I'm grateful and excited for the opportunity to carry forward the legacy of Martin and the profound work he initiated over the past 40 years,” said Aguilera.

With a Bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a Master's in Public Administration from Syracuse University, Aguilera brings extensive experience and a profound understanding of the local community to this role. She follows in the footsteps of her grandmother, Alice Carnes, who worked tirelessly for the Native community and was instrumental in establishing the Intertribal Friendship House (IFH) in 1955.

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The Native News Health Desk is made possible by a generous grant from the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation as well as sponsorship support from the American Dental Association. This grant funding and sponsorship support have no effect on editorial consideration in Native News Online. 
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