Northern Arizona's vast landscape is rugged. It's sparsely populated, and it can be a long journey for members of the Navajo Nation to get to a healthcare facility. One hospital serves 35,000 people spread across 6,000 square miles in the western Navajo Nation. That facility, the Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC), is a 73-bed, acute and outpatient regional health system that provides primary care, dental, behavioral health, oncology and ancillary services. The hospital also operates clinics throughout its service area.
"Native American communities are often underserved and misunderstood. The Navajo Nation covers a vast geography with minimal infrastructure that makes it really difficult for them to access healthcare," said Laura Bartlett, board member of the Navajo Hopi Health Foundation, which supports the TCRHCC.
Bartlett, Institutional Wealth senior business development officer at BOK Financial®, has been involved with the hospital and foundation for nearly 10 years through her professional role and, more recently, as a member of the foundation board.
"One of the things I appreciate about working with Native American communities is the perspective they have on how decisions will impact the future," Bartlett said. "They're constantly thinking about three to six generations down the line."
Bartlett's involvement on the foundation board has given her an appreciation for a population "that doesn't take anything for granted." Being able to support the foundation in a tangible way by sharing expertise has helped the foundation board create a strong development strategy. "Having the building blocks in place will help the team know how to pursue larger donors to contribute to the future of the organization," she said.
"We are so grateful for BOK Financial, and we value their partnership," said Veronica Hardy-Becenti, grants/foundation director at the Navajo Hopi Health Foundation. "Laura is a great addition to our foundation board as she brings an expert opinion for all financial decisions."
One recent success supported by the foundation is the opening of the first full-time cancer center on an American Indian reservation. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Navajo Nation; this facility is helping to eliminate some barriers to treatment and early detection, including culturally appropriate services.
"I really appreciate that the hospital offers culturally appropriate care when requested," Bartlett said. "This type of treatment is not typically 'in bounds' in a traditional healthcare facility, but TCRHCC is able to respect families' wishes and observe requested customs as a key part of how they deliver care."
BOK Financial operates in several states with sizeable Native American populations, and Bartlett appreciates the opportunity to serve these communities. In addition to her board service, BOK Financial has also provided philanthropic support to the foundation.
"We're in a unique position to serve communities that have been poorly served and do that in a way that benefits generations to come," Bartlett said. "When you see that work begin to take hold, it's meaningful to help these communities build resources, get access to healthcare and educational resources, and create development opportunities that will be felt for decades."
The Institutional Wealth team has managed the hospital's reserves and investments for more than a decade, but the relationship extends far beyond.
"For TCRHCC, it is important to have a financial institution for investments, capital and professional financial opinion. BOK Financial has a history of working with tribal partners, and that is what makes this relationship so unique," said Lynette Bonar, chief executive officer of TCRHCC.
Learn more about BOK Financial's community involvement in their Community Report.