Katherine Gottlieb, Former President / CEO, Southcentral Foundation, Alaska, USA

Katherine Gottlieb, Former President / CEO, Southcentral Foundation, Alaska, USA

Katherine Gottlieb served Southcentral Foundation as Pres/CEO for more than 30 years, departing in 2020.  



Meet Katherine Gottlieb, Former President and CEO of the Southcentral Foundation of Alaska. Katherine is also a healthcare professional and a faculty of Harvard Medical School and she is here to talk to us about the healthcare system of Native American Indians in Alaska. 

Southcentral Foundation is a healthcare organization in Alaska that serves the native American Indian population of Alaska. Katherine shares her contribution in building the organization from when it was really small to what it is today. She tells us how SCF was assumed by natives from the federal government and is now run by over 50% of employees that are native Americans. She shares why Alaska has a separate hospital for the native people. She shares a captivating story from her past where she talks about what inspired her to become a healthcare professional. 

Whenever there is a change, there is always discomfort. The same happened with the tribal people of Alaska when SCF emerged. Katherine tells us that the biggest challenge while growing Southcentral Foundation was changing the mindsets and attitudes of people regarding hospitals and healthcare in general. They have now replaced trust in the place of fear in the minds of native people. Katherine then explains in detail about the Nuka System of Care owned by the Alaskan Native people that help them achieve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness.
Tune in to get inspired!


Katherine Gottlieb joined Southcentral Foundation in 1987 and has served at the helm of the organization for 30 plus years, since 1991 as President/Chief Executive Officer, recently departed the organization.  She has been faculty of the Harvard Medical School since 2015 as a Visiting Scientist in Global Health and Social Medicine, she served four years on the National Library of Medicine Board of Regents. She is a recipient of the 2015 Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award presented by the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In 2016, she was presented the Indian Health Service National Director Award. In 2005, she received an honorary doctoral degree, Doctor of Public Service from Alaska Pacific University in recognition of her extraordinary public service. In 2016, she received an honorary doctoral degree, Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Alaska Anchorage in recognition of her leadership in transforming health care services for Alaska Native people. Under her leadership, SCF has become a leader among the nation’s health care organizations, and a two-time winner of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2017 and 2011. She is active at the national level in Alaska Native and American Indian policy issues.  She is a 2004 MacArthur Genius.  


*She is Sugpiaq and Filipino, a Tribal member of Old Harbor Village, Seldovia Village Tribe, and an honorary tribal member of the Eklutna Tribe of Alaska. She is married, a mother of six, and grandmother of 32, with seven great-grandchildren.

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