During the early twentieth century, the Indian Health Services (IHS) developed a reputation for administering substandard health care services to Indian people throughout the nation. Pauma tribal elders remember these times and characterize their treatment by IHS officials as callous, aimless and indifferent. Government directives received by local agency offices during this time ordered mass round ups of native children. The majority of these children had their tonsils removed at the Soboba Indian hospital, whether they had been diagnosed with tonsil ailments or not.
The 1950s ushered in a new wave of reductions to an already minimal state of health care services. Circumstances for Southern California native people did not begin to change until the early 1970s when nine bands (tribes) of Luiseño, Cahuilla, Cupeno, and Diegueno (Kumeyaay/Ipay) came together and formed the Indian Health Council, Inc (IHC). Initially the consortium shared meager funding and eventually sought outside resources to build a clinic to serve their people. In 2000, Pauma, a consortium member, worked with the other bands to open a new state-of-the art clinic and provide expanded services. The present CEO, Romelle Majel-McCauley, and head of medical services, Dr. Daniel Calac, are Pauma tribal members. IHC is dedicated to the continual betterment of Indian health, wholeness, and well-being. With a main facility located adjacent to the Rincon reservation in the Pauma Valley and the Santa Ysabel Community Health Center located on the Santa Ysabel Reservation, IHC provides a full spectrum of on-site and outreach services and programs to the North San Diego County reservations of Inaja-Cosmit, La Jolla, Los Coyotes, Mesa Grande, Pala, Pauma, Rincon, San Pasqual, and Santa Ysabel. IHC has over 150 employees and serves approximately 15,000 patients. IHC provides an array of culturally appropriate health care and related services which range from prenatal to geriatric; from well-child to adult fitness classes and diabetes clinics; from youth substance abuse prevention to domestic violence treatment and prevention programs. Specialized/part-time services include podiatry, orthodontics, mammograms, eye clinics, and others. With the aid of IHC’s mobile fleet, outreach efforts to health fairs, youth programs, rabies clinics, and environmental health services extend the clinic’s reach into surrounding tribal communities.
In the spirit of overcoming these historical challenges and assuring quality healthcare for Pauma people today, the Pauma tribe provides medical, dental and vision coverage for its tribal members, so that they have the opportunity to seek services both within and outside of the community.