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Date: July 20, 2009
Contact: Anne Strong
Telephone: (301) 279-9697

History Associates’ James P. Rife Co-Authors History of the U.S. Indian Health Service

History Associates senior historian James P. Rife recently completed  Caring & Curing:  A History of the Indian Health Service.  Co-authored with Captain Alan J. Dellapenna, Jr., the book chronicles the history of Indian Heath Service (IHS) from its earliest beginnings, as part of the Department of the Interior, through multiple reorganizations including the 1955 transfer to the U.S. Public Health Service.

Focusing upon the intense, often shifting political, tribal, and healthcare dynamics,  Caring & Curing  traces IHS’s evolution over time.  The book follows the agency through myriad trials and triumphs in its long-running fight to elevate Indian health to a level comparable to that of the rest of the nation.  Brought to life through compelling personal stories, a crisp narrative, and archival imagery, the book not only looks at past successes and failures of Indian health care, but keeps an eye towards the future and the remaining work to be done by the agency in consultation and cooperation with American Indians and Alaska Natives.  According to the U.S. Indian Health Service director Robert G. McSwain, the book presents “a balanced, well-documented narrative that chronicles IHS’ challenges, its triumphs, and its shortcomings in an objective yet engaging light.”

Mr. Rife joined History Associates in 2001. He earned his Master’s degree from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and specializes in Native American history and military history and technology. Mr. Rife’s other publications include  The Sound of Freedom:   U.S. Naval Weapons Technology at Dahlgren, Virginia, 1918-2005.   Captain Dellapenna is an environmental health officer in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Heath Service.

About History Associates
For more than thirty years the historians and archivists at History Associates have demonstrated that history is valuable in the market as well as the marketplace of ideas. They provide professional corporate histories, exhibit content, interpretive planning, historical research, archival services, and collections management services to clients throughout the United States and around the world. History Associates strives to be The Best Company in History®, serving corporate, government, legal, and nonprofit clients from its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, call (301) 279-9697 or visit

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