At the 26th Annual Western Indian Gaming Conference, retiring Pechanga Band of Indians councilmember and CNIGA Executive Committee member, Russell “Butch” Murphy and Dr. Pedram Salimpour and Dr. Pejman Salimpour were honored as recipients of annual leadership awards.
Murphy received the Anna Sandoval Leadership award, named after a former chairwoman of the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians. The award recognizes those leaders who have helped strengthen tribal sovereignty.
First elected to the Pechanga Tribal Council in 2002, Murphy led a long and varied career in education, tribal government and business.
He taught physical education and health science, and coached varsity football and baseball at Murrieta Valley High School. With Pechanga, Murphy served as a corporate officer for the Pechanga Development Corporation for six years as the tribe grew greatly both economically and in stature.
He subsequently served as communications director, where he continued to coordinate tribal communications efforts even after he left the position.
Murphy also served at CNIGA as both a tribal delegate and respected member of the Executive Committee member.
The Drs. Salimpour were recipients of the Pauline Murillo Industry Leader Award. The award honors those who work to strengthen the tribal government gaming industry and protect tribal sovereign rights.
The doctors, who are brothers, are co-founders of Pierce Health Solutions. Pierce is focused on the creation of novel health delivery systems for Native American tribes and their growing business entities throughout the United States.
Their work through Pierce was vital to the tribal government gaming industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. They created health ecosystems for tribal businesses that ensured employees and patrons remained safe. Doing so also helped ensure that tribal governments had the ability to generate the revenue needed to function.
Both brothers have had remarkable careers in the medical field, both individually and as a team. They have been physicians, authors and business executives.
Pejman was the lead physician in a campaign that successfully challenged the legality of certain exclusivity agreements between hospitals and doctors’ groups, opening hospitals to more physician specialists and enabled patients to be seen by physicians of their choice.
He has served on numerous boards and in 2005 received a White House appointment to serve on the National Latino Healthcare Task Force and the United States Small Business Administration National Advisory Council.
Pedram is the youngest president in the history of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, one of numerous appointments he has received. He has received several prestigious awards and recognition for linking smoking with impotence and was a principal in the research that led to the introduction of Viagra. He was also appointed by then Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and reappointed by his successor Eric Garcetti to join the city’s Fire and Police Pension Board.
Together, the brothers have founded several health entities and have been entrepreneurs in the health industry. They have founded multiple medical companies and were co-owners of one of San Diego’s largest hospitals.