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Christopher Buchanan

District Environmental Health Officer

Oklahoma City Area, Indian Health Service

U.S. Public Health Service

Lawton, OK 73507


In 2002, Chris Buchanan came to the Oklahoma City Area Indian Health Service (OCAIHS) with nearly twelve years of public health service experience. Since coming to the OCAIHS Lawton Service Unit, he has served as Field Sanitarian, Service Unit Environmental Health Officer, Health Center Director, and District Environmental Health Officer. He currently serves as the District Injury Prevention Specialist providing environmental health and injury prevention services to the Apache, Caddo, Comanche, Delaware, Fort Sill Apache, Kiowa, Kickapoo of Texas, and Wichita, Tribes. In addition, he provides injury prevention assistance to tribes throughout the OCAIHS and serves in many administrative positions both locally and nationally.


A member of the Seminole Nation and a native of Konawa, Oklahoma, Chris is one of over 6,000 Commissioned Corps Officers of the U.S. Public Health Service. These health professionals are stationed in all 50 states in more than 550 locations working in all six agencies of the Public Health Service (PHS) as well as other federal agencies. Chris has conducted tours of duty in: Atlanta, Georgia; Kingman, Arizona; Durango, Colorado; and Santa Fe, New Mexico, serving more than 25 different tribes and two different agencies.


Chris received a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science from East Central University, Ada, Oklahoma. Also, Chris received a Master of Public Health degree in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. In addition, he has completed the comprehensive IHS, Injury Prevention Specialist Program. He is the recipient of several professional awards including the USPHS Commendation (twice) and the Achievement Medal (twice).

What I Learned at EPHLI

The Oklahoma Environmental Health Communication Project (OEHCP) has created working connections with the Oklahoma State Health Department (OSHD), Oklahoma Division of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), and County Health Departments. Working with these agencies has created a relationship with Indian Health Service and tribal governments that will continue long after the project has been completed and could be used as a model for others to follow. Not only have contacts been made with agency personnel, but a better understanding of the challenges affecting each environmental health agency. This project has been a truly rewarding experience.


When a project such as the OEHCP is a success, the credit starts with planning and coordination of each member of the team and all participants associated with EPHLI and CDC. This fellowship process has been the result of excellent planning and realistic scheduling resulting in an informative and smooth operation. The EHPLI and CDC have an outstanding model to follow next year and a template for other fellows to utilize.