August 17 2011SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) employee Megan Gregory recently was selected as a 2011 National Indian Health Service Behavioral Health Achievement Award recipient and was honored for Outstanding Youth Leadership in Suicide Prevention. She received her award on Aug. 3 at the Indian Health Service/Bureau of Indian Affairs/Bureau of Indian Education/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (IHS/BIA/BIE/SAMHSA) Action Summit for Suicide Prevention in Scottsdale, Ariz. Gregory, 24, is a Juneau-based community project assistant for the SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program. As part of her work with the program, Gregory is a member of the “1 is 2 Many” Southeast Alaska regional suicide prevention task force. She also is heavily involved in launching a new Youth Ambassadors teen suicide prevention program for high school juniors around Southeast Alaska (a program sponsored by SEARHC and 1 is 2 Many). In addition to her work with SEARHC, Gregory just completed her term as the youth representative for the Central Council of the Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. It was through Central Council that Gregory first became a member of 1 is 2 Many (a role she continues with SEARHC). She also served as the first youth advisor to the Sealaska Inc. board of directors. “It is an immense honor to win this award, and I am very humbled that I was considered knowing that there are many others who are working for youth across the country,” Gregory said. “As a young Native woman from the town of Kake, I have a vision to make the world a better place for all youth. It is a remarkable experience to see that vision become a reality more and more as the days pass. I look forward to continuing my work with the youth, the elders and everyone in between. I encourage everyone to dream big, because the world needs you and together we can make a difference.” “I am excited and honored for Megan to receive this award,” her supervisor, SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program Manager Wilbur Brown Jr., said. “She has been doing some great work with the Southeast suicide prevention task force and with her position at SEARHC. We are please to see her work to raise awareness for suicide prevention in Southeast Alaska being recognized. The goal of the task force is to eliminate suicide in our communities and we firmly believe that ‘1 is 2 Many.’ Great job to Megan and thank you for the people who recognized and nominated her. We hope that this is one of the many great things that comes out of our approach to addressing suicide in our communities.” Earlier this year, Gregory was one of three youth board members named to the Center for Native American Youth board of directors (a national group created by retired U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan dealing with education, substance abuse, suicide prevention, gangs and other Native American issues in tribal communities). Gregory also has been nominated to serve on the IHS Suicide Prevention Committee, and will find out next spring if she has been selected. In her free time, Gregory volunteers as a coach with the international Girls on the Run program. She also has applied to be a youth council member with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service so she can take a more active role with 4H and other Cooperative Extension programs dealing with growing more local food and community gardening.