Message from the Executive Director

November 19, 2015
Posted by Executive Director on 11/19/2015


Dear AAIP membership and community,

It is an honor to serve as the new Executive Director for the Association of American Indian Physicians.  I arrived safely in Oklahoma City in September 2015 and got quickly to work meeting the staff, talking to local Member Physicians and connecting with local tribal organizations and partners within Oklahoma City. 

It was an exciting adventure traveling from Washington State, where I have lived most of my life, to Oklahoma.  I worked for the University of Washington for the past 14 years. I held professional positions as the director of UW Native American Center of Excellence within the School of Medicine 2001-2007. Due to the defunding of the COE, I made a transition to academic/ community based research as the Community Relations Director for the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute within the UW’s School of Social Work 2007- 2015. This career path has provided me with the knowledge and experience that I know will be important to AAIP.

As AAIP’s Executive Director, I feel that it is important to share my vision. Let me first express that I am fully committed to serving AAIP’s mission. In order to create positive change we have to collaborate in projects, policy initiatives and continue to provide opportunities for our Native youth to succeed in health career development.  As AAIP Members, your stories and successes are the foundation to AAIP’s purpose and existence.  Please join us in bringing voice and visibility to academic settings, government decision-making arenas, tribal and urban governing systems and especially to the people.

My Native upbringing and teachings have prepared me to serve the people, community, and provide social justice and education when necessary.  I humbly embrace the opportunity to work with you addressing and improving AI/AN health, education, workforce development, research and policy. We are beautiful, strong, resilient peoples.


Polly Olsen

Executive Director, AAIP