President’s Update for April 10, 2010

In this edition...

Board meets in Sitka: The SEARHC Board of Directors met in Sitka this past week. During the week there were several meetings, including committees and a work session with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska. New members were seated from Hoonah and Douglas, while elections were held to fill vacant officer positions. The integrated strategic and financial planning group made recommendations on FY2011 budget development. In other business, the Board approved a utility upgrade plan in Hoonah and a capital request for the Kasaan Health Center with the Organized Village of Kasaan. Andy Teuber, ANTHC Board Chair, met with the Board to hear concerns about services and access at the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC). Mr. Teuber also shared recent progress to improve the Quyana House facility and purchase overflow rooms in Anchorage. Wrangell women’s health screenings: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program has partnered with Wrangell Medical Center, Alaska Island Community Services and the Alaska Breast and Cervical Health Check to offer comprehensive women’s health screenings in Wrangell free to women ages 30-64 who meet income eligibility requirements. “This partnership gives access to vital women’s health services for the uninsured and income-eligible women in Wrangell,” said Martha Pearson, WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program Coordinator. “Wrangell Medical Center and Alaska Island Community Services are partnering together so women receive local care.” Anne Gore of the Alaska Breast and Cervical Health Check said “we believe this effort represents the first ever blended funding between two separate grantees and their programs” (speaking of the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program and the Alaska Breast and Cervical Health Check) “While there is a certain amount of paperwork juggling that has to happen behind the scenes, services are seamless for the women in Wrangell — which is our goal. Access to preventive services is key in keeping Alaska women healthy.” SEARHC WIC program receives management evaluation: We recently received the results of our periodic management evaluation for our WIC program conducted by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Office of Family Nutrition Programs. The overall program review focused on our WIC office in Ketchikan. In the cover letter summarizing the evaluation, the state WIC program manager wrote, “I would like to make special note of Ms. (Susan) Hennon’s effective and efficient management of the SEARHC WIC program. Ms. Hennon is a great representative for the SEARHC organization, being involved in community events such as National Nutrition Month and World Breastfeeding Week celebrations. SEARHC WIC has great internal partnerships and collaborations, such as in Ketchikan with the Ketchikan Public Health Clinic. We observed high-quality services offered at the Ketchikan SEARHC WIC program, which show that staff are invested in their work.” Alaska Native cancer support group in Juneau: A new Alaska Native cancer support group held its first meeting on Tuesday, April 6, at the Ethel Lund Medical Center downstairs clinic conference room (by the employee parking lot). These monthly meetings take place from 7-9 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month. “A Lifetime of Good Health” women’s health event takes place in Hydaburg: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN/Women’s Health Program, in collaboration with the U.S. Office of Women’s Health, will sponsor the women’s health event “A Lifetime of Good Health” on April 20-23 in Hydaburg. This event includes a women’s health forum, with snacks, featuring guest speakers Judy Brown (a physician assistant in Hydaburg) and Susan Suarez (a WISEWOMAN women’s health educator) at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20, at the temporary SEARHC Hydaburg Health Center set up at the Hydaburg Boys and Girls Club building. On Wednesday and Thursday, April 21-22, will be a women’s annual screening clinic that takes place all day by appointment at the temporary Hydaburg Health Center. At noon on Friday, April 23, there will be a 45-minute nutritional talk on “Fats, Sugars and Salt” with guest speakers June May and Susan Suarez at the ANB/ANS Hall, and after the talk at 12:45 p.m. there will be registration for the Hydaburg Women’s Team in the upcoming Prince of Wales International Marathon on May 20. All participants in these events will be entered into a drawing for prizes. For more information or to schedule appointments for screening, contact Helen Jackson at 755-4978, Mary Dinon at 755-4946, the Hydaburg Health Center or the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. It’s not too late to submit your 2010 U.S. Census forms: Even though the deadline for submitting 2010 U.S. Census forms was Thursday, April 1, it still is possible to mail the forms in to the U.S. Census Bureau. People still can find the forms at various places in their community, such as the U.S. Post Office and other government offices. I want to remind everybody how important the census is for SEARHC and other tribal organizations. If you received a form, please fill it out and mail it back in as soon as possible. Census workers are expected to visit Southeast Alaska rural communities in April and May to try and get an accurate count of our people. We encourage everybody to participate in the census since much of our federal and state funding is tied into formulas that use census population data. American Indians and Alaska Natives historically have the highest rates of undercounting, and not being counted can mean we lose funding for tribal health, social service, education, housing and other programs. This year’s 10-question census form is the shortest since 1790, but one new feature is being able to identify your tribal enrollment. For more information about how the census matters, go to http://www.searhc.org/2010census/. National Public Health Week: This last week, April 5-11, was National Public Health Week, an annual event organized by the American Public Health Association to highlight issues that are important to improving the public’s health. This year’s theme was “A Healthier America: One Community At A Time,” and Indian Health Service Director Dr. Yvette Roubideaux wrote that this theme “is closely tied to our mission to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level. Through education and community services, IHS addresses the fundamental factors that affect health. Promoting healthy behaviors and lifestyles strengthens our communities and is critical to improving the health of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Our priority to partner with tribes and the communities we serve also fits well with this theme.” Construction project starts at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital: Please excuse our dust as McGraw’s Custom Construction began working on the Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital siding and window project on Monday, April 6. This project involves demolishing the old siding and adding new siding, window installation and new roofing over the main tower of the hospital. New roofing also will be installed over radiology and the kitchen. This year-long project will affect all four sides of the hospital’s main tower, starting at the north end of the building. Please watch for barricades and safety signs that might block some sidewalks and entrances. SEARHC programs bring stress management expert/filmmaker Brian Luke Seaward to Juneau: The SEARHC Health Promotion, Diabetes and Lifestyle Balance prediabetes programs are bringing nationally known stress management expert and filmmaker Brian Luke Seaward, PhD, to Juneau for two free community presentations on April 13-14 and as a speaker for a one-day diabetes conference April 14 (see item above). Dr. Seaward will give a presentation on “A Good Night’s Sleep: Sleep and Insomnia” at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13, at Centennial Hall. He also will show his movie, “Earth Songs: Mountains, Water and the Healing Power of Nature,” which includes footage from Sitka and other parts of Southeast Alaska and is narrated by actor Michael York, at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14, at the Gold Town Nickelodeon. For more information, contact Stephanie Zidek-Chandler at 364-4452. SEARHC, ANTHC, Sealaska team up to sponsor Camp Coho: SEARHC is teaming up with ANTHC to offer the second annual Camp Coho on May 8 in Anchorage. Camp Coho is a children’s grief camp for youth ages 6-12 who lost a loved one to cancer within the past 12 months. SEARHC and Sealaska Inc. are partnering to provide airline tickets and lodging in Anchorage for Sealaska shareholders or descendants of Sealaska shareholders. Camp Coho provides activities led by trained and experienced staff who help children better understand and share their feelings of loss and grief. For applications and more information, contact SEARHC Health Systems Analyst Libby Watanabe at 463-6680 or libby.watanabe@searhc.org. Class trains people to become certified car seat technicians: A certified car seat technician class takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on April 28-30 at the Division of Public Health Office conference room, 410 Willoughby St. (across from the State Office Building), and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Juneau Police Department, 6255 Allaway Ave. Attendance is required at all sessions. Class size is limited, and the cost is $75. You can register online at Safe Kids Worldwide, http://cert.safekids.org/. Technicians must be able to lift car seats and install them in a wide variety of vehicles. To learn about scholarship information, especially for potential car seat technicians in our rural communities, contact Lesa Way of the SEARHC Injury Prevention Program at 966-8804 (Sitka) or lesa.way@searhc.org. For certification questions, contact Gordon Glaser with the Alaska Division of Public Health at 269-3433 (Anchorage) or gordon.glaser@alaska.gov. Reminder… SEARHC launches new 24/7 crisis help line, toll-free at 1-877-294-0074: A personal or family crisis doesn’t always happen during clinic hours, so the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division has contracted with a crisis call center to provide help for Southeast Alaska residents when they need it most. The SEARHC Help Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it will be staffed with a team of master’s-degree-level mental health therapists who will listen and provide effective, compassionate care. This line provides confidential telephone counseling for people during a time of mental health crisis, and it is not just an answering service. The counselors will assess the situation and provide appropriate intervention using protocols developed with SEARHC Behavioral Health. Follow-up calls from SEARHC Behavioral Health or our partner agencies will be made the next business day. For more information, contact SEARHC Behavioral Health Prevention Program Director Wilbur Brown at 966-8753.