January 31, 2013 –
MAYETTA: The Prairie Band Potawatomi Health Center has hired a new administrator and added a second physician to its staff this month.
Bill Thorne-Health Center Administrator
Bill Thorne has been named the new Health Center administrator and began his duties on January 7. He has over 45 years of professional work experience in Indian health administration and he is a member of the Cherokee Nation.
When the News asked him what he wanted to accomplish with the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN), he said, first and foremost, that he wanted to provide good service. Secondly, he said that providing stability through keeping a good medical staff was important and that he’d like to set up a mentoring program for younger tribal members who are interested in learning the administrative end of the health care field.
Thorne spent his formative years living in several Native American communities where his father worked in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). He then received his secondary education at a private boarding school in Utah and he is also a veteran of the U.S. Army. Following his military service, he received an undergraduate degree in math and business from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla. and furthered his education with a master’s in business administration degree from Oklahoma City University.
His professional work experience included working in retail finance for the Dayton-Hudson Corporation in Oklahoma and he was also the director of the Phoenix Indian Center for a few years. He has also worked as the Executive Director for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and Cherokee Nation Health Service, and been a consultant for the Sac and Fox of Oklahoma, Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma , and Yakima Indian Nation.
Thorne said that he is enjoying his work and believes that the Prairie Band Potawatomi Health Center has a good staff. He is looking forward to meeting other tribal members and he has an open door policy. His office is located in the Administrative office suite at the Health Center.
Dr. J. Steven Bear-Physician
Dr. J. Steven Bear began his duties as a physician for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Health Center on Jan. 3 and is acting as the center’s second physician alongside Dr. Terry Harter.
Before coming to the PBPN, Dr. Bear worked for three years as a family medicine doctor at Citizens Medical Hospital in Colby, Kansas. In 2007 he received his medical degree from the University of Kansas Medical Center and completed his residency at Salina Regional Hospital in Salina, Kan.
Dr. Bear said that he took the position because he was impressed with the health center facility and the professional staff. He said the center is conducive to providing good primary care and preventative medicine to patients and he hopes to stay here a long time.
“I’m excited about the opportunity the PBPN has given me and I am looking forward to working with Native American people and learning more about their various cultures,” he said.