Navajo Surgeon Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord Joins UA College of Medicine – Tucson

Appointed associate dean for student affairs and admissions
Lori Arviso Alvord, MDLori Arviso Alvord, MD, has been appointed associate dean for student affairs and admissions for the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. She began her new role Sept. 5.
A board-certified general surgeon, Dr. Alvord is a member of the Diné (Navajo) Tribe and of the Tsinnajinnié (Ponderosa Pine) and Ashi’hii’ Diné (Salt People) clans. She was raised in the Navajo community of Crownpoint, N.M., and is author of “The Scalpel and the Silver Bear” (1999), a memoir that describes her journey from the Navajo reservation to become a surgeon, her efforts to provide culturally competent care and to create healing environments based on principles of Navajo traditional healing.
“Dr. Alvord’s years of experience in medical student affairs will help us establish outstanding programs for our students and will strengthen the areas of admissions and students affairs,” says Steve Goldschmid, MD, dean, UA College of Medicine – Tucson, and co-president and chief executive officer, The University of Arizona Health Network.
Dr. Alvord most recently served as associate dean of student affairs and professor of surgery at Central Michigan University College of Medicine, where she helped develop a new medical school. From 1997-2009, she served as associate dean for student affairs and held faculty appointments in surgery and psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School (recently renamed the Audrey and Theodor Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth). She will continue to hold a non-salaried appointment as associate faculty at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Center for American Indian Health.
In her role as associate dean for student affairs and admissions at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, she is responsible for the offices of admissions, financial aid, student records and student affairs and reports directly to the deputy dean for education. She also is a professor in the college’s Department of Surgery.
“I am honored to be selected for this position at the College of Medicine, and so pleased to be able to return to the Southwest with my family,” says Dr. Alvord. “I look forward to working with a fantastic team at the College of Medicine, and to joining the University of Arizona and its distinguished group of Native American faculty, staff and programs.”
Dr. Alvord's research has focused on surgical outcomes and health disparities in Native American populations. She currently is involved with projects at the University of Washington’s Center for Native American Health. Additional areas of interest and training include Native American health, Native American philosophies of healing and ceremonies, integrative medicine and the creation of healing environments. From 2008-2010, Dr. Alvord served on the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NACCAM), the principal advisory body to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a component of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Alvord received her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College and her doctor of medicine degree from Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed a residency in general surgery at Stanford University Hospital. She then worked for the Indian Health Service at Gallup, N.M., for the first six years following residency.
James Kerwin, MD, UA assistant professor of family and community medicine, has served as interim associate dean for student affairs and admissions since August 2011. “Dr. Kerwin has been instrumental in keeping the offices of student affairs and admissions moving forward and improving over the past year,” says Kevin Moynahan, MD, deputy dean for education, UA College of Medicine – Tucson. “He has made a positive difference to individual students, the student body as a whole, applicants and the entire college. He will continue to serve in the offices of student affairs and admissions to help with Dr. Alvord’s transition and to continue his current work.”