A lifelong resident of rural Minnesota, Dr. Kathleen Annette is a recognized leader at local, regional and national levels.
Kathy grew up on the Red Lake Indian Reservation and is enrolled with White Earth Band of Ojibwe. She is a graduate of University of Minnesota, where she received both her medical and undergraduate degrees. She is the first woman in the Minnesota Ojibwe Nation to become a physician.
Kathy retired from federal service after 26 distinguished years, having served as deputy director of field operations of Indian Health Service, based in Bemidji, Minn. In this role, she had responsibility for supervision and leadership of Area Directors across the United States, including 48 hospitals, 238 health clinics serving 1.9 million American Indian patients, and 15,000 federal employees.
Kathy’s many honors and awards include Presidential Meritorious Awards and a Presidential Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Government, the national American Indian Physician of the Year award, Quality of Place Award issued by Northwest Minnesota Foundation, and the Jake White Crow National Award, presented by the National Indian Health Board—the only federal employee to be so recognized. She was inducted into the Northwest Minnesota Women’s Hall of Fame at Bemidji State University in 2006 and into the Academy of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 2005 (the first woman so honored). She also sits on the Bush Foundation board of trustees.
One of the major events of her career was serving as the on-site coordinator and leader in the response to the Red Lake High School shootings in 2005. A representative of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Kathy assisted the community in the aftermath of this tragedy both immediately and long-term. For her service, the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation bestowed honorary membership—an honor received by only three individuals.
Kathy is a long-time partner of the Blandin Foundation, having served as a board member for 12 years (1991-2003) and chaired and participated in the Foundation’s American Indian Advisory Committee (2004-2011). She is an alumnus of the first Blandin Reservation Community Leadership Program cohort in 2001.