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Salt River Clinic Update

(L-R) Salt River Clinic nurse practitioner Christina Interpreter, physician Kody Smith, medical director and physician Michael Truesdell and clinic administrator Timothy Joyce.

This article is part of an ongoing series on the Salt River Clinic and health services in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

In September, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community signed a self-governance compact with the Indian Health Service, making the Community the provider of health services at the Salt River Clinic.

Care remains the same, and those familiar with clinic-provided services will likely not notice a difference at first, as the Community works to improve the clinic.

Patients will notice the new faces at the clinic, including physician Kody Smith, a family practice doctor. Medical director and physician Michael Truesdell remains on a contract basis.

Smith started in Salt River in November. He’s from San Diego and the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians. He’s a five-year veteran of the Air Force Reserve and graduate of St. Matthew’s University School of Medicine in the Cayman Islands. Before Salt River, he worked for a family medicine clinic in the Valley.

Smith said he has always wanted to work with and treat Native people.

“I do a bit of everything,” he said. “If someone has a sick kid, they should be able to get on my schedule. I’m happy to see kids. Or, if an adult or someone who is elderly has a lot of things going on, it’s all stuff I’m used to doing and dealing with, so I’m happy to see everyone.”

The Salt River Clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment or for more clinic-related information, call (480) 946-9066.
Nurse practitioner Christina Interpreter is also new to the Community. She’s Hopi and Navajo and comes from Kayenta. She started in August. She’s a graduate of Northern Arizona University and the University of California at San Francisco. Before Salt River, she worked in the Gila River Indian Community. Interpreter is an expert on diabetes and medical management.

“I’ve always had Salt River on my radar,” she said. “When a position opened, it was very good timing because I was ready to leave where I was at just because I wanted to increase my quantity of patient care, and I felt this would be a really good fit.

“I love my job; I’m really happy here,” she added. “I love the other providers I work with. They are very, very helpful and they are very team based.”

Another new face at the Salt River Clinic, on the administrative side, is the clinic administrator, Timothy Joyce. He started in late November and recently moved to Mesa from Washington. Joyce is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University and brings plenty of experience to the Community.

“To me, when I heard about this opportunity to work for the tribe, there were a lot of different areas that were really motivating to me, things I wanted to do,” Joyce said. “I’ve been able to close a clinic, I’ve worked with a long-established clinic, and I really wanted to have an opportunity to open a clinic. What motivates me truly in life is being able to help others.

“My goal is to help our clinic to be able to see more patients [for] both medical and dental [care] and get them better connected to those services.”

The clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Doors open at 7:45 a.m. To schedule an appointment or for more information, call (480) 946-9066.