U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Phoenix Area

HIV Center of Excellence (HIVCOE)

Program Services & Activities  |  Community Voice  |  Staff  |  Treatment Resources

Contact Information
The HIV Center of Excellence
Phoenix Indian Medical Center
4212 North 16th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Sage Clinic
Phone: 1-866-243-3182
Email: Heather Huentelman


The HIV Center of Excellence (HIVCOE) is a clinically based center for HIV prevention, care, medical treatment, and research. The program was initiated to address the escalating need for provision of comprehensive care and treatment of HIV/AIDS conditions of the user population.


The primary goal of the HIV Center of Excellence is to provide the highest quality of culturally competent HIV services for American Indians and Alaskan Natives including clinically based prevention, intervention, and medically appropriate HIV care and treatment.

Mission Statement

The mission of the HIV Center of Excellence (HIVCOE) is to increase services, access, disease management, and patient care for HIV positive members of the American Indian (AI/AN) community and to develop a culturally competent and comprehensive model HIV health care delivery system. Patient care is one that serves all AI/AN people with dignity, respect and compassion. Our commitment is to explore, learn, teach, heal and comfort the AI/AN community with HIV disease. Of essence is being considerate and respectful of personal values and beliefs and to be informed about and participate in decisions regarding their care, as well as provisions for security, personal privacy and confidentiality.

This model of care is currently being integrated into already existing American Indian and Alaska Native health services delivery systems that are comprised of both local and regional partnerships that include tribal health departments, federal agencies, and the Indian Health Service. The assessment, development, implementation, and evaluation of this model will ensure delivery of a spectrum of comprehensive services for clients at risk and clients with HIV disease. This ongoing system of care was first implemented in the ambulatory and inpatient settings at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center and is currently being accomplished by program development in the following areas:

  • HIV prevention.
  • HIV testing and counseling.
  • Early medical intervention.
  • Treatment and care across the continuum of HIV disease.
  • Provider development and HIV knowledge and skills development.
  • Technical assistance and replication to other IHS and tribal care settings.
  • Research initiatives and clinical trials.

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Program Services & Activities

  • HIV counseling & HIV testing.
  • Clinically based intervention with infected and at-risk clients.
  • STI prevention.
  • STD/HCV/HIV Integration
  • Community outreach and education

Care & Treatment

  • Early intervention integrating medical, behavioral, and traditional Native American healing concepts.
  • Treatment & care across the continuum of HIV disease.
  • Expert consultation via Indian Health Service HIV telehealth collaborative
  • Medical care provided by HIV certified physician, pharmacist, and nurse case managers
  • Mental Health services by a licensed psychiatrist
  • Comprehensive, medically managed and culturally competent HIV case management.
  • Provider training in collaboration with AETC at the University of California, Irvine.

Grant projects through Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) Funding

  • Indian Health Services HIV Telehealth Collaborative
  • HIV Chronic Care Model
  • Behavioral health integration into HIV primary care
  • Pharmacy managed adherence clinic


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Community Voice: Posoh! (Hello in Menominee)

Welcome to the Community Voice - the heart of the HIVCOE website. In this section you will find the sharing of personal experiences in stories and prayers from individuals infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Each offers information and insights reflecting on issues such as fear, sadness, anger, and strength. Here too, we will discover prayers of hope and thankfulness.

The Community Voice will continue to offer helpful updates on topics that affect Native communities specifically. Phoenix Indian Medical Center, HIV Center of Excellence recently joined the Heard Museum on World AIDS Day 1997, in recognition of infected and affected community members who have passed on as well as those who continue to live with HIV/AIDS.

Danny, a native man rich in his traditions, shares his memories and prayers for all Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians who seek clarity, encouragement, and healing along their journey with HIV disease. I invite your contributions to Community Voice, your thoughts, hopes, and questions. Gail Nahwahquaw (former) Case Manager

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Marie Russell, M.D.,M.P.H., Associate Director (Acting), Centers of Excellence, Phoenix Indian Medical Center, is responsible for developing the infrastructure of HIVCOE, program planning, oversight of HIV services inclusive of medical care and case management. Marie Russell also provides technical assistance in policy development on HIV/AIDS concerns throughout the Indian Health Service (IHS) system while developing and maintaining collaborative relationships between the IHS and the following institutions: the National Institutes of Health, Office of AIDS Research (NIH OAR); the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Heather Myers Huentelman, PharmD, BCPS, AAHIVE, LCDR USPH, was born and raised in a small farming community in Ohio. She first became interested in serving the Native American community through a pharmacy rotation at Cherokee, NC. Heather started at PIMC in 2004 as a resident and is now Acting Director HIV Center of Excellence and clinical HIV pharmacist. Dr. Huentelman provides day to day management of the clinic and HIV services. She also provides HIV pharmacy services including medication information, adherence strategies, alternate resource assessment and education for students, residents and staff. Dr. Huentelman is a nationally certified American Academy of HIV Medicine Expert (AAHIVE). She is a huge University of Florida sports fan and resides with her husband and son in Phoenix.

Paul Bloomquist M.D. was born in St. Louis Park, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis. I graduated from St. Louis Park High School. Attended college, medical school and completed residency training throughout the mid west and west coast to return to St. Louis Park to practice medicine. There I worked for 13 years until the cold, dark and snow moved us (by then married to my lovely wife Lisa and with daughter, lovely Madeline). Moved us to Phoenix, that is.In 2008 I was offered the opportunity to become the provider for the medical clinic that is part of the HIV Centers of Excellence. I greatly appreciate this opportunity. When not working I enjoy building and flying radio control model airplanes, fishing and everything that involves hanging out with my lovely girls

Edward Bez D.O. was born in New York City and raised in that area. He completed his undergraduate degree in Anthropology at ASU and completed medical training and residencies in the Midwest. He trained at the HIV program of Cook County Hospital in Chicago while completing his psychiatric residency. He has practiced community mental health in southern New Jersey and joined the staff of PIMC in 2001. He has been the Deputy Chief of Mental Health until June 2010 when he happily joined the HIV Center of Excellence to provide mental health services to clients in this program.

Timothy Watkins is a member of the Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma and has been with the Indian Health Service since 2000. Tim received his Bachelor's degree in Nursing from Arizona State University in 2002. He has worked at Phoenix Indian Medical Center as a staff RN on the Medical/Surgical ward, as the Viral Hepatitis Integration Project coordinator, and most recently as an HIV Clinical Nurse Specialist. He is a member of the Association of Nurses in Aids Care and credentialed as an ACRN. Timothy is a Lieutenant Commander with the United States Public Health Service.

Karen Bitsoie, RN, BSN, ACRN, LCDR USPHS is one of two Nurse Specialists for the HIV clinic and is a member of the Navajo (Dine) Tribe. Karen facilitates continuity of care of patients by providing medical case management, testing, and counseling. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in nursing degree from Arizona State University in 2001, Associate Degree in Nursing from Mesa Community College in 2000, and Associate Degree in general studies from University of Maryland University College in 1996. She was commissioned in 2006. Karen is nationally certified as an AIDS Certified Registered Nurse (ACRN).

Audrey E. Lynch, MBA, Data Management Specialist for the Centers of Excellence (COE) at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center. She has been with the department of COE since 1999 and has worked at PIMC since 1980. She received her Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems in 1994. She earned her Master of Business Administration degree in 2008.

Adrian Bizardi, Grant Administrator, Centers of Excellence, Phoenix Indian Medical Center

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Treatment Resources

Of Interest to Providers

Free HIV Telephone Consultation Services for Providers

The Warmline (800-933-3413) is a free consultation service for health care providers caring for HIV-infected patients and is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Warmline is staffed by physicians, clinical pharmacists and nurse practitioners every Monday through Friday, from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Pacific Time). Voice mail is available 24 hours a day.

The National Clinicians' Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Hotline (PEPLine) 1-888-448-4911

The National Clinicians' Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Hotline (PEPline) offers treating clinicians up-to-the-minute advice on managing occupational exposures (i. e., needlesticks, splashes, etc.) to HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne pathogens. PEPline clinicians will respond to your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Perinatal Line 888-448-8765

The perinatal line is a free 24-hour clinical consultation and advice on the management of HIV in pregnant women, HIV testing in pregnancy, and care of HIV exposed infant. Callers are linked with a local perinatal HIV specialist. Perinatal Line clinicians will respond to your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some written text information that you might find helpful includes:

Medical Management of HIV Infection This book, which is fully updated every year, represents the standard of care of both the Johns Hopkins University AIDS Service and quality assurance for Maryland Medicaid. Physician's Press HIV Essentials is written by world renowned experts in HIV and can serve as a pocket guide to HIV management.

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