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College Alumnus Michael Allison Wins Award for Excellence in Tribal Health

Harrah's Ak-Chin Resort & Casino, photo courtesy of Ak-Chin Indian Community

Michael T. Allison, MPH ’03, MBA, was given the Excellence in Tribal Health award at the annual Tribal Opioid & Substance Use Conference, for his many years of collaborative work on tribal health issues with the Arizona Department of Health Services.


Michael T. Allison, MPH, MBA, with Agnes Attakai, MPA

Agnes Attakai, BA ’97, MPA ’99, celebrates with award winner Michael Allison, MPH ’03, MBA.

This November 2021, Michael T. Allison, MPH ’03, MBA, was given the inaugural Excellence in Tribal Health award at the annual Tribal Opioid & Substance Use Conference, for his many years of outstanding work on tribal health issues with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS). He served as the Native American Liaison at ADHS for 21 years and recently retired.

During his time at the department, Allison built effective working relationships between ADHS and Arizona’s Native American health care community comprised of 21 Tribal Health Directors, four Urban Indian Health Directors, three Indian Health Service Area Directors, the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona and the Arizona Area Health Education Center at UArizona. His focus on collaboration and tribal specific solutions to health issues made a big difference in the lives of many Indigenous people. Thank you Michael!

Michael is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. His four Navajo mother clans are Oozei Ta’chii’nii’ (Hopi - Red running into the water people), Naakaaii Dine’e’ (the Mexican Navajo People), Maii Deeshgizhinii (Coyote Pass Jemez), and Tsi’naajinii (Black streak people). He grew up in the Navajo community of Shiprock, New Mexico, earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of New Mexico, and then earned his Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona.

Tribal Opioid & Substance Use Conference

The Excellence in Tribal Health award was presented to Allison at the second annual Tribal Opioid & Substance Use Conference held on November 17-18, 2021 at the Harrah’s Ak-Chin Resort & Casino on the Ak-Chin Indian Community. The theme was “Discover Tribal Approaches to Address Substance Use in Your Community.”

Over 300 people attended the conference, in-person and virtually, including representatives from the UArizona Center for Rural Health, part of the Zuckerman College of Public Health. The conference provided a space for community health professionals to network, discuss their concerns, successes, and challenges, and to share best practices related to substance misuse and abuse presentation treatment and recovery. Sessions focused on Indigenous approaches to building capacity and resilience to address substance use disorder.

The University of Arizona red triangle graphic