Commander Molly Rutledge appointed as IHS Chief Clinical Consultant for Rehabilitation Specialists

April 9, 2021

Chief Clinical Consultants are appointed by the Chief Medical Officer of the Indian Health Service (IHS) to serve as advocates for improved patient care across the Indian health care system for a term of three years.

Commander (CDR) Molly Rutledge, ANMC Speech and Language Pathologist in the Pediatrics Department, received her Master of Arts degree in speech-language pathology (SLP) from the School of Health Professions at the University of Kansas and completed her clinical fellowship year in Ewa, Hawaii. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Health Education. CDR Rutledge joined the Navajo Area IHS in 2010 and the Alaska Area in 2014. 

Commissioned to the United States Public Health Service (USPHS) in 2012, CDR Rutledge started two neonatal oral feeding and dental hygiene programs within the IHS Alaska Area and was recognized with the USPHS Outstanding Service Medal for her efforts. Her interests include pediatric dysphagia and pediatric oral health promotion. CDR Rutledge was the first IHS SLP to become nationally recognized as a board-certified neonatal therapist. She received her diploma in Joint Professional Military Education from the United States Naval War College in 2020.

When asked about how her interest in speech pathology began, Rutledge said “I took an interest inventory test my sophomore year of high school and the results were that I should be a Speech-Language Pathologist. I then shadowed an SLP for a day and was fascinated! My excitement for the field has existed ever since.”

The Chief Clinical Consultants are full-time employees of an IHS, Tribal or urban Indian health program, are recognized experts who are typically board-certified, registered or certified as appropriate for their discipline or specialty and have significant experience in the discipline or specialty within IHS.

“Comparatively speaking to other medical disciplines, there are few established speech-language pathology positions within the IHS. I look forward to advocating for the expansion of SLP services as well as the opportunity to support and promote rehabilitation services as a whole,” said Rutledge.

Please join us in congratulating Commander Rutledge as the IHS Chief Clinical Consultant for Rehabilitation Specialists.

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