In another major step forward in the rapid expansion of high quality health care on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, the Tribe is honored to announce that Tribal Member Dr. Sylvestor A. Moses, MD, Ph. D., joined the medical staff of his hospital hospital in Peridot.
“I am thrilled to return to my tribal community to heal and serve my people,” said Dr Moses. “That was my main motivation for going to medical school; it never wavered and today I can live that dream.
Dr. Moses’ addition to the San Carlos Apache Healthcare Corporation (SCAHC) comes at a time when less than 0.4% of medical providers in the United States are American Indian or Alaska Native. Dr. Moses joins a team of 150 doctors and 90 nurses as the only Native American doctor on staff at the tribe’s healthcare company.
“It is truly a celebratory time to welcome one of our own tribal members to care for, serve and empower our Apache people,” said Steve Titla, Chairman of the Board of SCAHC.
The healthcare company has adopted the Apache practice of Gozhǫǫ, which embraces the principles of kindness, balance, harmony and beauty. As part of this practice, the SCAHC is working to create a health facility dedicated to “Apaches Healing Apaches”.
“To see our goal of having Apaches healing Apaches come to fruition with the addition of Dr. Moses is a beautiful reminder that this is just the beginning,” said Victoria Began, CEO of SCAHC.
Dr. Moses grew up in Morenci, in southeastern Arizona, and remembers making regular trips to Bylas, where his father had many family members living on the reservation. The family later moved to Tucson, where Dr. Moses attended university high school. During the summer after his freshman year, he participated in the medical student research program offered by the University of Arizona.
“This program inspired me to pursue a career in science and research,” said Dr Moses.
He graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cellular Biology. He continued his graduate studies at the U of A, earning a master’s degree and a joint doctorate. in biochemistry and molecular/cellular biology. Dr. Moses then worked on the reservation within the Department of Education with the goal of inspiring young Apaches to pursue higher education, particularly in STEM and medical fields.
“Working on the reservation, it was clear that we needed more San Carlos Apache members in the health fields,” Dr. Moses said. “I thought the best way to inspire our employees was to lead by example.”
Dr. Moses was accepted into the U of A College of Medicine and graduated in 2019. He completed his internal medicine residency at the U of A Banner University Medical Center in Tucson earlier this year.
Dr. Moses is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hiking, camping, canoeinging, fishing and hunting. He also plays racquetball at least four times a week. Dr. Moses plays five instruments; clarinet, guitar, bass guitar, saxophone and classical piano, in which he trained and played for over 35 years.
Dr. Moses credits his mother and father with being his most notable mentors, as well as Dr. Marlys Witte, head of the medical student research program he attended as a high school student. Dr. Moses has no intention of leaving the reservation.
“My overall goal is to be here for a very long time, to inspire and usher in the next generation of Apache healthcare professionals,” he said.