APCA honors Dr. David Vastola with Sockeye Award

May 05 2011

The Alaska Primary Care Association (APCA) on April 28 honored SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Community Health Care Services Medical Director Dr. David Vastola, M.D., with its 2011 Sockeye Award. The Sockeye Award is presented “to a clinician who is a resource and advocate for Alaska’s primary care safety net providers, and who, through demonstration of best practices, improves access to primary care in Alaska. Your commitment and dedication to increasing access to primary health care for all Alaskans strengthens us each and every day,” according to the APCA. “It is with great pride and humility that I receive the Alaska Primary Care Association’s Sockeye Award,” Dr. Vastola said. “I accept this award on behalf of the amazing team at SEARHC, without which my work would be less successful and satisfying. The organization’s commitment to health care quality and access is pervasive from front-line staff to leadership.” “We’re very proud of David’s accomplishments and work in rural primary care for Southeast Alaska,” said Roald Helgesen, SEARHC President/CEO. “David will be the last one to sing his own praises, and he will share the award with his staff. We are pleased the Alaska Primary Care Association has acknowledged his hard work.” Dr. Vastola has been with SEARHC since 1988, when he was hired as a pediatrician at S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka. In 1994, Dr. Vastola became the medical director for Community Health Care Services, assuming direct responsibility for improving the quality of health services SEARHC provides to Native and non-Native residents of Southeast Alaska. He supervises the medical staff (physicians, midlevel providers and community health aide/practitioners) at SEARHC’s rural clinics. He also supervises the SEARHC Air Medical Services program and has been one of the main architects for the Frontier Extended Stay Clinic (FESC) demonstration project and the WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. Dr. Vastola was instrumental in developing the community health center program at SEARHC, leading the transition from small “health-aide-only” staffed clinics to sophisticated facilities staffed with on-site physicians and/or midlevel practitioners (physician assistants or nurse practitioners). The person who nominated Dr. Vastola wrote, “Dr. Vastola has always been an advocate for bringing health care to the patient, in their home community, and finds creative ways of identifying funding for programs and positions. Dr. Vastola’s passion for his work, his vision for the future, his belief in people’s ability to make a fundamental and positive difference for each other by working together, and his honesty, humor, energy and enthusiasm are a source of inspiration for all who have the pleasure of working with him.”