Stanford University Honors Astria Health General Surgeon, Lori Arviso Alvord, MD

Contact: Dawn O'Polka  509-837-1543

Toppenish, WA (December 3, 2018) - The Stanford Medicine Alumni Association (SMAA) has announced that Lori Arviso Alvord, MD will receive the prestigious J. E. Wallace Sterling Lifetime Achievement Award in Medicine. She will be honored at a dinner held on the Stanford School of Medicine campus on December 7.

“Dr. Alvord has done extraordinary work as an author and general surgeon, and has had immeasurable impact on underserved Native American communities. We are thrilled to honor her remarkable accomplishments,” says Lila Hope, PhD ‘99, SMAA president.

Lori Alvord is a surgeon, author, and advocate for care that combines Native American healing with Western medicine. Battling incredible odds, she earned her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College in 1979, and her MD at Stanford School of Medicine in 1985. At Stanford, she also completed a six-year surgical residency which led to her becoming the first Native American Navajo to be a board certified surgeon.

After training, Dr. Alvord returned to her Navajo reservation in New Mexico to learn that, despite her technical proficiency in surgery, addressing the psychological and spiritual aspects of healing was important as well. This led to her more holistic approach to medicine that took into account the patient's environment and relationships, and Native American teachings. She wrote an award-winning book about her experiences, entitled The Scalpel and the Silver Bear that has been used for almost 20 years at university and medical schools, inspiring Native American and other students alike.

“Dr. Lori Alvord purposefully chose to practice medicine here in the Toppenish and Sunnyside area to serve the Native American population” said Eric Jensen, CEO Astria Toppenish Hospital. “She is deeply committed to caring for Native Americans and working to improve the healthcare of all those living in areas where access to speciality care, including General Surgery, is often lacking.”

Dr. Alvord has a history of distinguished service in academia serving as associate dean at Dartmouth Medical School for 12 years, at Central Michigan College of Medicine where she helped start a new medical school, and at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She currently holds an associate faculty appointment at Johns Hopkins’ Center for American Indian Health, and is currently employed as a general surgeon by Astria Health.

Alvord has received a variety of awards including the Governor's Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women, and the American Medical Writers Association’s Award of Excellence. She has been featured in the National Library of Medicine exhibit, Changing the Face of Medicine, and the PBS documentary Medicine Woman. In 2013, Dr. Alvord was nominated by the National Indian Health Board and the National Congress of American Indians to be a candidate for Surgeon General of the United States. Today she continues to lecture on healing environments, Native American health and cultural competency, and the healing properties of Native American ceremonies.

“We are proud of Dr. Alvord and appreciate the tremendous contribution she is making to healthcare here in the Yakima Valley. Congratulations to her, on this prestigious award,” said Jensen.

For more information about this award, visit To learn more about Dr. Alvord, click here.

Posted December 03, 2018


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