Rear Admiral Chris Buchanan, an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, is Acting Director of the Indian Health Service (IHS), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The IHS is the principal federal health care advocate and provider of health care services for American Indians and Alaska Natives. As Acting Director, Rear Adm. Buchanan administers a nationwide health care delivery program that is responsible for providing preventive, curative, and community health care to approximately 2.2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in hospitals, clinics, and other settings throughout the United States.
Rear Adm. Buchanan previously served as the IHS Deputy Director, leading and overseeing IHS operations to ensure delivery of quality comprehensive health services. He also previously served in 2016 as Acting Area Director for IHS Great Plains Area, with administrative responsibility for 19 service units serving 130,000 people and 17 Tribes through 7 hospitals, 10 health centers and 2 Urban Indian Health Programs, overseeing a complex health care program during a period of change. Prior to that, he served as Director of the IHS Office of Direct Services and Contracting Tribes.
An environmental health officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps with more than 20 years of active duty, Rear Adm. Buchanan began his IHS career in 1993 serving in various environmental health positions in the Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Oklahoma City Areas of IHS. From 2005 through 2010, he held management positions in the Oklahoma City Area, including serving as the Administrative Officer for Lawton Indian Hospital and the Chief Executive Officer for Haskell Health Center. In 2010, he served as the Administrative Officer of Clinical Services for the Chickasaw Nation’s Division of Health in Ada, Oklahoma.
Rear Adm. Buchanan has served on several national IHS workgroups and deployed to several natural disaster events. He has received numerous professional awards, including the National Council of Chief Executive Officer’s Rookie of the Year. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental health and a Master of Public Health degree in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.