Building Connections and Promoting Tribal Sovereignty; Theresa Hattori, Tribal Affairs Administrator

Inside CHPW - November 14th, 2023

Reading Time: 4 Minute/s

Building Connections and Promoting Tribal Sovereignty; Theresa Hattori, Tribal Affairs Administrator

Inside CHPW

Building Connections and Promoting Tribal Sovereignty; Theresa Hattori, Tribal Affairs Administrator

Posted on November 14th, 2023 - Reading Time: 4 Minute/s

CHPW has a Tribal Affairs Administrator to advance health equity while promoting tribal sovereignty for American Indian and Alaska Native members. Learn more in our five questions with Theresa Hattori below.

How long have you been with Community Health Plan of Washington, and what is your current role?   

Hensci (“Hello” In Muscogee): I am Theresa Hattori, an enrolled citizen of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma. I have been with CHPW since Jan 2021, first as the Health System Innovation Coordinator, then in May of 2023, I accepted the role of the Tribal Affairs Administrator under the Diversity Equity and Inclusion department.

As Tribal Affairs Administrator, I am responsible for serving as an internal and external subject matter expert lead on tribal affairs and providing cultural training and education to staff.

I will partner with leaders, departments, and teams to advance health equity while building and promoting tribal sovereignty for our American Indian and Alaska Native members and communities.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in health care? 

I chose a career in health care to improve the well-being and the quality of life of others. My mother was a nurse and often told us how much she loved caring for her patients and how it made her feel.

I did not want to be a hands-on nurse but felt that same passion for caring for others, leading me to my first health care position. I have been fortunate to work in various health care roles, both patient and non-patient-facing, which has helped me to understand the intricacies of healthcare.

Being the Tribal Affairs Administrator will allow me to continue to help others who are underserved and their communities.

What gets you excited about working? 

I am excited to be a part of the CHPW Culture of Equity Team and its work for advancing health equity: “There is no equity without tribal sovereignty” and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives CHPW is committed to.

CHPW has been a leader in whole-person care with respect for cultural identity and tribal sovereignty.

CHPW continues to focus on community engagement with community-based organizations that serve American Indian and Alaska Natives and increase access to culturally appropriate care.

What is something you have recently learned or accomplished that you are proud of?

Suggested rewrite: I assisted a tribal provider with Medicaid re-enrollment for one of our members and ensured their care was not interrupted.

We have been diligently working with our tribal providers to ensure they have the information and resources to help their community and our members have the right health plan for their needs. One of our priorities has been helping Apple Health (Medicaid) members go through the renewal process which had been paused during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Many hundreds of thousands of Apple Health members lost coverage not because they weren’t eligible, but because they didn’t know what to do.

If you have visitors from out of town, where do you like to take them to experience the Pacific Northwest? 

There are so many places to choose from, as the Pacific Northwest is a treasure trove of culture and diversity, but I would start with these: Mount Rainier National Park, Burke Museum, Northwest African American Museum, Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, Leavenworth, Snoqualmie Falls. In Seattle, I recommend the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Pike Place Market, and the International District.


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