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Topah Spoonhunter Appointed to NIHD Board of Directors

Topah Spoonhunter, the Director of the Bishop Paiute Development Corporation, has earned appointment to the Northern Inyo Healthcare District Board of Directors, representing the residents of southeast Bishop, Wilkerson, Big Pine, and Aberdeen.

Spoonhunter took the oath of office during the Jan. 15 NIHD Board of Directors meeting. Chosen from among several applicants, he fills the board vacancy left by the December departure of veteran Director MC Hubbard.

A resident of Big Pine, Spoonhunter will serve NIHD’s Zone V through this November. At that time, he will have the opportunity to stand for election to complete the remaining two years of Hubbard’s term. If he chooses to do so and wins, Spoonhunter will serve until November 2022. At that time, he may then run for election to a full four-year term on the Healthcare District’s Board.

“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to be a part of something as important as the Northern Inyo Healthcare District,” Spoonhunter said. “I know the NIHD Board and NIHD staff have already done some great things and are on their way to doing even more, so I just hope that my knowledge and experience will be able to help in some way.”

Spoonhunter brings a wide array of experience in business, government, and social workings to the NIHD Board. “It is because of these experiences that I have seen governments, organizations,
and communities on various levels and through different lenses,” Spoonhunter said. “I have seen the challenges that we face, but I have also seen the opportunities to make a difference.”

An enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe, Spoonhunter was born in Bishop and raised on the Big Pine Paiute Reservation. He attended Big Pine Elementary School then Bishop Union High School. With earned Associate degrees in Math/Science and Liberal Arts, he attended Haskell University of Lawrence, Kansas, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration in 2006.

As the Director of the Bishop Paiute Development Corporation, Spoonhunter manages the tribal corporation’s business properties, including the buildings leased by the U.S. Forest Service and the
California Department of Motor Vehicles. He also oversees BPDC’s commercial office space as well as its mini storage and RV storage facilities. His responsibilities include project and budget management.

Spoonhunter’s professional experiences also include working for local and tribal governments; experiences that he feels are an invaluable asset to him. He has worked for both the Big Pine
Paiute Tribe as well as the Bishop Paiute Tribe. He has worked with youth programs, education programs, schools and school districts, Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), tribal TANF, government
administration, grant management, suicide prevention, quality assurance, project management, and economic development.

He served as the Privacy Officer for Inyo County while working as an Administrative Analyst for Inyo County’s Health and Human Services Department. In that role, his duties included policy development as well as ensuring the County’s compliance with both federal and state laws, and investigating and reporting breaches concerning health information.

“I’ve always felt that we have a responsibility to make the world a better place, and I will do my best to improve things in any way that I can,” he said.

He joins the existing NIHD Board comprised of Board Chair Jean Turner, Vice Chair Robert Sharp, Secretary Jody Veenker, and Treasurer Mary Mae Kilpatrick.

Spoonhunter is the son of Alan and Linda Spoonhunter and father to daughter Faye and son Max.

Mary Mae Kilpatrick to lead NIHD Board of Directors in 2019

The Northern Inyo Healthcare District Board of Directors named its 2019 slate of officers during its December board meeting. Long-time Bishop area educator and school administrator Mary Mae Kilpatrick was elected Board President with retired county Heath and Human Services Director Jean Turner being named Vice President.

Kilpatrick represents Zone IV of the Healthcare District, covering the greater West Bishop area. A 61-year resident of Bishop, Kilpatrick also serves on the NIH Foundation Board of Directors.

“I am honored to work alongside everyone at NIHD,” Kilpatrick said. “We have such an outstanding group of people at the District. Our staff’s continuing priority is to always put our patient’s care and safety first. On top of that, they are compassionate in the care they provide, and they are also a very giving team who do their best to live up to NIHD’s mission of ‘improving our communities, one life at a time.”

Turner represents Zone II, which covers the Northern Bishop area. Her experience includes extensive administrative oversight of various health and human service programs providing care to children, adults, families and senior citizens.

Robert Sharp, who represents Zone III, which covers a large portion of the downtown Bishop area, will serve as Board Secretary. As Vice President of Eastern Sierra Community Bank, Sharp manages and develops the Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, and Bridgeport branches.

Local attorney Peter Tracy, Zone I representative, will serve as Board Treasurer. Tracy, perhaps best known for his 33-years of service as legal counsel to the City of Bishop, represents the West Bishop, McLaren Lane, Rocking K, Starlight, and Aspendell areas.

Outgoing Board President and Zone V Director MC Hubbard, who represents parts of southeastern Bishop, Wilkerson, Big Pine, and Aberdeen, will serve as the Member-At-Large. Hubbard is a retired banking executive.

At the board meeting Dr. Kevin S. Flanigan, MD MBA, the District’s Chief Executive Officer, congratulated each of the new officers. Later, he described the role of the Board as one of governance, noting they are charged with setting the strategic goals; overseeing the progress toward those goals; and, ensuring the continued access to local healthcare services for their constituents.