The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians recently received the Redefining American Healthcare Award from the Healthcare Leadership Council, a coalition of chief executives representing some of the nation’s leading healthcare companies and institutions.

The award recognizes organizations and communities that exemplify best practices in providing efficient care for high-need patients, which the EBCI has shown in its work on substance abuse, diabetes and depression.

Alongside Cherokee Indian Hospital CEO Casey Cooper, EBCI Principal Chief Richard Sneed accepted the award from Rep. Mark Meadows during a June 28 ceremony at the hospital.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the Council. The EBCI is committed to serving our people in all facets of healthcare, including those affected by substance abuse and opioids,” Sneed said. “This epidemic has had a serious impact on our citizens, and we are no stranger to the harmful realities of substance abuse from heroin and other drugs. We strive to do what’s best for our people, are working diligently and taking the appropriate measures to ensure we overcome this pressing issue.”

The EBCI is leading the way in fighting the opioid epidemic and rampant substance abuse, with a $14 million residential treatment facility and $46 million crisis stabilization unit that is currently under construction next to the Cherokee Indian Hospital.