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About Me

Katherine Gottlieb's journey with Southcentral Foundation began in 1987, and for over three decades, she played a pivotal role in the organization's growth. In 1991, she assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer, leading with unwavering dedication until her recent departure. Now, she channels her strategic expertise into her own consulting and mentoring venture.

Currently, Katherine is a Senior Fellow with the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, offering her wealth of knowledge. Since 2015, she has been an esteemed faculty member at Harvard Medical School, contributing as a Visiting Scientist in Global Health and Social Medicine. Her impact reverberated as she served four years on the National Library of Medicine Board of Regents.

Recognized for her remarkable leadership, Katherine received the 2015 Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award from the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. In 2016, she was honored with the Indian Health Service National Director Award.

In 2005, Alaska Pacific University bestowed upon her an honorary doctoral degree, Doctor of Public Service, celebrating her extraordinary public service. In 2016, the University of Alaska Anchorage also acknowledged her outstanding leadership with an honorary doctoral degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, specifically recognizing her role in transforming healthcare services for Alaska Native communities.

Under her visionary guidance, Southcentral Foundation has emerged as a beacon among the nation's healthcare organizations, achieving the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award not once, but twice, in 2011 and 2017. Katherine's influence extends to the national level, where she actively engages in Alaska Native and American Indian policy matters.

Adding to her remarkable achievements, Katherine is a MacArthur Genius, honored in 2004. Her journey has been marked by an unwavering commitment to improving healthcare services and advocating for the needs of Alaska Native people.

Faculty Appointments

Harvard Medical School, Global Health and Social Medicine, Center for Primary Care

Faculty Director for Community Engagement Clerkship

Harvard Medical School


Visiting Scientist 




Harvard Medical School, Global Health and Social Medicine

Board Appointments

Professional Positions


Board Director

Alaska Native Medical Center Joint Operating Board


Board Director

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium 


Board of Trustee Member

Alaska Pacific University


Board of Regents

National Library of Medicine


Tribal Council Member

Seldovia Village Tribe


Community Health Representative

Seldovia Native Association


Director & Corporate Secretary

Seldovia Native Association


Tribal Council Member

Seldovia Village Tribe

Administrative Leadership Positions


President/Chief Executive Officer

Southcentral Foundation


Board Member

South Kachemak Alcoholism Program


Board Chair

Recover Alaska Steering Committee


Senior Fellow

M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust


Cook Inlet Native Headstart



Indian Self Determination Act Negotiated Rulemaking Committee



DOI/HHS Internal Agency Procedures Handbook


Committee Member

Joint Rulemaking Committee on Tribal and Federal Self Governance


Council Member

Institute for Healthcare Improvement Equity Advisory Council


Expedition Member

Alaska USA Magadan USSR Medical Exchange Program


Leadership Member

Institute for Healthcare Improvement's 100 Million Healthier Lives Initiative

Honors & Awards

2019    Citizen of the Year, Alaska Federation of Natives​

2019    Achievement in Business Award, Anchorage Daily News:  For significant contributions to the community health              and wellness

2017    Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award

2017    "Nonprofit Hospital and Healthy System CEO's to Know", Beckers Healthcare: For leading one of the top                      nonprofit health care organizations in the country

2016    Directors Award, Indian Health Service: For Partnerships

2016    Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, University of Alaska Anchorage 

2015    Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award, The Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award: For                          visionary leadership and commitment to customer-driven quality improvement in healthcare

2013    Excellence in Community, Bridge Builders of Anchorage

2013    Regional Impact Award, National Indian Health Board

2013    Chief's Knife Award, Alaska Village Initiatives

2013    NCQA Patient Centered Medical Home, Level 3, NCQA

2012    Directors Award, Indian Health Service

2011    Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, The Foundation for the Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award

2010    Alaska Meritorious Health Service Award, Alaska Public Health Association

2010    Hero's of Healthcare Award, National and Global Community Service

2010    Friend of Nursing, March of Dimes

2010    Shirley Demientieff Award, Indian Health Service

2009    Alaska Performance Excellence Award, Southcentral Foundation

2009    Regional Impact Award, National Indian Health Board

2009    Science and Service Award, U.S. DHHS SAMHSA

2008    American Nurses Credentialing Center, Magnet Status

2005    Honorary Doctor of Public Service, Alaska Pacific University

2004    American Nursing Credentialing, Magnet Status

2004    John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, MacArthur Fellowship

1999    Woman of Achievement Award, BP Exploration Alaska, Inc and YWCA

1996    Department of Interior and Department of Health and Human Services


New York Times

August 2012

The New York Times, “A Formula for Cutting Health Costs: Alaska Natives have something to teach doctors and patients in the rest of the world”(Aug 2, 2012). View Article 

The Center for Health Journalism

July 2012

The Center for Health Journalism, " Alaska Native Medical Center Model for Curbing Costs and Improving Health. View Article 

Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care and Southcentral Foundation forge partnership. Both organizations dedicated to improving health outcomes through innovation. View Article

National Institute of
Health, National Library
of Medicine

Malcolm Baldrige
National Quality Award

Native Voices, Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness. View Site

Katherine Gottlieb awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. View Site

His Hand Upon Me: The True Story of an Alaska Native and her Fight to end Abuse

Katherine Gottlieb, the daughter of an Alaska Native mother and a Filipino father, grew up in a war zone of alcoholism, domestic violence, abuse and neglect. She became a mother and was married at sixteen, which began her own journey of breaking the silence for herself and countless others. 
With a resilience born of a strong faith, Katherine refused to be defined by her past or her own failures. Hired as a receptionist, she quickly advanced to become the President and CEO of Southcentral Foundation, a renowned Alaska Native Healthcare Organization which received two Malcolm Baldrige Quality Awards. In 2004, Katherine was granted the prestigious MacArthur Fellows Genius award. 
Katherine's vividly remembered story portrays her heart behind the Beauty for Ashes conferences, which she founded with others who share her passion for those who have been harmed. It is a story of continuing struggle, resilient faith, determination, and hope. 

Psalms of the Heart
and Soul

Katherine Gottlieb lives a subsistence life and has always connected with her environment, land, and animals. Since she was a young child, she has loved writing: stories, journals, and now psalms. She has found that writing what is in her heart helps to reflect, relieve, and bring soundness to the thought process. She has written her book of psalms over the years and her hope is that sharing them will help other people along their journey in life. 

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