UNHS Victims Advocate another success story

In early 2012, Lynn Bia was working at the Wal-Mart store in Farmington, New Mexico, hoping to find a better job somewhere; then she found Utah Navajo Health System, Inc.

Four-and-a-half years ago, Lynn began working part-time in patient registration at the Montezuma Creek Community Health Center. Within two months she was working full-time, and within five months she was working as the front desk receptionist for the medical and behavioral health provi-ders. For about a year she worked for both the medical and behavioral health sides of the Montezuma Creek Community Health Center, until Behavioral Health Director, Rick Hendy, decided to hire her full-time with his unit. And as they say, the rest is history.

“I hated to leave the medical side, but one day Rick came to me and said, ‘hey, guess what? Today you’re a full-time behavioral health worker,’ and I said, ‘Wow, really!’” Lynn explained. “He already had me signed up for a forty-hour victim advocacy training academy in Salt Lake City. So two weeks after I was a full-time behavioral health worker I went to the training in Salt Lake City and finished my advocate training. When I got back, my first case was in Monument Valley. I did the training, yes, but this kind of scared me.”

She didn’t stay scared for long, however. The more she worked as a victim advocate, the more she got the hang of it, and learned to adjust her style to fit each different circumstance. Suddenly, the Montezuma Creek Community Health Center had a victim advocate. Now Lynn’s program is also available to help victims in Blanding, Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain.

“Any of these locations within UNHS can call me and say, ‘Lynn, we need you over here,’” she explained. “Or any patient that needs help with medical bills, financial assistance, being assaulted, sexual assault, elderly being neglected or domestic violence can call. The program has helped pay for traditional ceremonies for several victims of crime. And it’s not just the providers who can call me. It’s co-workers, nurses, the front desk workers, anybody that works for UNHS can call me and I’ll drop what I’m doing and go.”

The girl who grew up in Round Rock, Arizona and graduated from Red Mesa High School in 2001 has come a long way since attending several schools part-time and working as many as three jobs at a time, while trying to decide what she wanted to do with her life. During this time she worked as a receptionist at various hotel and office settings, while attending school. She even studied nursing for a year in Thatcher, Arizona, but that obviously was not her calling.

Lynn recently presented at a Victim’s Advocacy Conference, in Moab, Utah, addressing the topic of being a victim’s advocate for people on the reservation vs. being a victim’s advocate in a city. She is also scheduled to present (with the director of the Utah Office for Victims of Crime) at the governor’s Native American summit this summer.

In addition to her work as a victim’s advocate, Lynn also does all the scheduling for the UNHS Behavioral Health providers at all for UNHS Community Health Centers, including the Tele-Psychiatry scheduling for all four sites through the University of Utah. She also schedules all Behavioral Health activities, and attends regular meetings with several different agencies like the Navajo Nation Alliance, San Juan Coalition and the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition. Anyone wishing to make an appointment with a UNHS Behavioral Health Provider can reach Lynn at 435-651-3762.

“There are a lot of resources available to help with our programs. I go to a lot of trainings and conferences, and while there I also learn about any available funding sources,” Lynn noted.

In her spare time she enjoys running, hiking and other outdoor activities. She also likes to spend time with her family. She has three daughters, ages 10, 8 and 3, who also like to spend time with mom.

UNHS Behavioral Health Director Rick Hendy says Lynn is a valuable asset for his team, and she is doing outstanding work.

“She is a strong advocate for victims of crime,” Hendy said. “As long as a person wants help, Lynn will push to get them resources.”

We appreciate the work Lynn does and we are glad to have her as part of the UNHS family.

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