President’s Update for April 20, 2012

In this edition...

In this edition …

Sitka announces spring-quarter winners in Kutx Ayanahá employee recognition program: On Thursday, April 12, we honored the spring-quarter winners in the new Kutx Ayanahá employee recognition program (Kutx Ayanahá means “star” in Tlingít). We honored the Terrific Trio — Lou Phipps, Veronica Chulik and Al Duncan — with a traveling trophy for three months, a paid day off work and a $100 gift certificate to a Sitka business of their choice. In addition to the Terrific Trio, the other Staff of the Season were Katie Collins, Jim Berry, Alicia Soto, Sherry Kennedy and Steven Armer. The employees nominate each other for this award, with the next batch of nominations due in June. At the end of the year, one employee will be entered into the Hall of Fame and will have his or her picture hanging in the hospital. We hope to expand this program consortium-wide in the near future.

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SEARHC mourns death of Native leader Isabella Brady: Southeast Alaska and Sitka lost a key Native leader and elder when Isabella Brady passed away early Wednesday morning (April 18). Isabella, who was Raven and Kik.sadi, was 88 when she died. She was a key Native leader in Sitka, serving as president of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp No. 4 this year. She also was a culture-bearer, helping launch the Sitka Native Education Program and working with Sitka schools to make sure Native culture was included in the curriculum. Isabella also was a teacher and coach at Mt. Edgecumbe High School, a leader in the Presbyterian Church, a trustee at Sheldon Jackson College, a member of the Alaska Native Education Board, and a board member of the American Association of Retired People. The SEARHC Gunaanastí Bill Brady Healing Center residential substance abuse treatment center is named for her late husband, who was a long-time chemical dependency counselor at SEARHC. In 1991, Isabella was listed in the National Women’s Hall of Fame’s Book of Lives and Legacies after being nominated by her Sitka Women’s Club colleagues.

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Former board member Leonard Kato passes on: SEARHC is mourning the passing of Leonard Kato, who represented the Klawock Cooperative Association on the SEARHC Board of Directors from 1996 to 2009. Over the years, Leonard held several offices with the Klawock Cooperative Association, including president and vice president, and also served with the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska. Leonard was known for his kind manner and gentle humor. He passed away on Sunday, April 15, at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage. He was 75. A memorial service is planned for 7 p.m., Monday, April 23, at the Klawock School Gym.

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Beverly Rivard only Alaskan at National Health Service Corps convention: Beverly Rivard, LCSW, MA, MSW, MAC, recently received an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, DC, to attend the National Health Services Corps convention, where she was the only Alaskan out of more than 350 participants. Beverly is a behavioral health clinician with the SEARHC Gunaanastí Bill Brady Healing Center and Déilee Hít Safe Harbor House adult residential substance abuse treatment programs in Sitka. The National Health Service Corps is a program that offers primary care medical, dental, and mental/behavioral health providers the opportunity to have their student loans repaid for serving communities where providers are needed. In exchange for two years of service, participants can receive a scholarship to finish school or the program will pay off student loans for degrees already completed. Beverly said she plans to submit a proposal to be a speaker at next year’s convention, and she hopes to become an ambassador for the program. She said it would be great to see more health providers from Alaska take advantage of the program, but she doesn’t think many people know about it. For more information about the National Health Service Corps, go to http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/.

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Sitka hosts Alaska Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine speaker tour: Hall of Fame athletic trainer Dr. Rod Walters will be in Sitka next week to make two free presentations as part of the Alaska Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine 2012 Speaker Tour. Dr. Walters was inducted into the National Athletic Trainers Association Hall of Fame in 2005. He will present at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 23, at the Sitka High School Library about upper extremity injury prevention and management. He also will present at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 25, at the Mt. Edgecumbe High School Gil Truitt Activities Center about lower extremity injury prevention and management. SEARHC physical therapist Gio Villanueva is the executive director for the Alaska Regional Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine, which is arranging Dr. Walters’ tour of the state. For more information, contact Gio at alaska.acsm@gmail.com, or go to http://www.alaskaacsm.org/.

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S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital passes FDA mammography inspection: The S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital radiology department had a visit from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday, April 17, which conducted its annual FDA Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) inspection. The radiology department passed with no violations. Radiology department manager Karin Johnson said she appreciated the work of Quality Assurance Tech Beth Bradley for making sure the hospital passed the inspection.

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SEARHC employees celebrate Earth Week with daily green events: SEARHC employees celebrated Earth Week on April 16-20 with daily green events where they could protect the environment and win prizes. Employees held a recycling race in Sitka or took a recycling quiz on Monday, took alternate transportation (bike, walk, kayak, bus, etc.) to work on Tuesday, turned off lights and unnecessary electronics on Wednesday, recycled within their office or picked up trash on campus on Thursday, and weeded their campus or garden at work on Friday. Four employees per day won prizes of reusable bags full of green products, donated by the SEARHC Employee Wellness and Green teams. In addition to the Earth Week events, many employees have been recycling old electronics and computers this week, since many communities host free or low-cost recycling or dump fees during Earth Week. Earth Day is Sunday, April 22, and many communities are hosting events to celebrate the day.

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Just a reminder …

Spring mobile mammogram van schedule announced: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program and Bartlett Regional Hospital have announced the Spring 2012 schedule for the mobile mammogram program. The mobile mammography van will visit Kake on May 1-4, Haines on May 9-22, Angoon on May 24-30, Skagway on June 4-7, Yakutat on June 13-18, and Gustavus on June 22 (no weekend appointments). Women are encouraged to contact their local clinics prior to the scheduled visit because they will need to receive a clinical breast exam before they can get their mammograms. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. It makes regular mammography screening services available to women who live in communities where they aren’t available year round. The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program provides free clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap tests and cardiovascular screenings for all women ages 40 and older who meet income and insurance guidelines. For more information, contact your local clinic, call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program in Sitka at 966-8782 (or 1-888-388-8782, toll-free in Alaska), or send e-mail to askwh@searhc.org. For more information about services available through the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program, go to http://www.searhc.org/womenshealth/.

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SEARHC patient advocates serve as customer liaisons: SEARHC has three patient advocates in Southeast Alaska — Bryan Whitson (Sitka), Ashley Hunt (Juneau) and Cyndi Reeves (POW) — who serve as customer service liaisons between patients and SEARHC, and help patients navigate their way through SEARHC’s health system. Also, the Alaska Native Medical Center provides Anchorage-based patient advocates who serve patients from around the state receiving care at the Alaska Native Medical Center. Patients living in Sitka, Angoon, Kake, Pelican, Tenakee Springs, Yakutat, Petersburg and Wrangell should contact Bryan Whitson at 966-8860. Patients in Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Klukwan and Hoonah should contact Ashley Hunt at 463-6656. Patients in Klawock, Craig, Hydaburg, Kasaan, Thorne Bay and other POW communities should contact Cyndi Reeves at 755-4983 (965-0040, cell). Patients traveling to Anchorage for care should contact the ANMC patient advocates at 729-3990.

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SEARHC hosts summer internship program for Natives: Applications are available for the SEARHC Summer Internship Program, which provides work experience for Alaska Native/American Indian students pursuing careers in health care. The SEARHC Summer Internship Program provides opportunities for six Alaska Native/American Indian students who are studying at the high school, bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree/clinical level. The program allows participants to explore career options in health care, and the interns receive valuable on-the-job training in their health care career of interest and an hourly stipend. At the end of the program, interns will receive a performance evaluation with valuable feedback from their mentor(s). The application deadline is Friday, May 11 (the application must be received or postmarked by this date), and the final selection of interns takes place on May 21. The internship program runs from June through September 2012. During the program, the interns will work a minimum of 30 hours and a maximum of 40 hours per week under the supervision of a manager at a SEARHC facility. Although an hourly stipend is provided, interns are responsible for their own housing and transportation during the internship program. SEARHC will not provide housing and/or transportation. Completed applications may be mailed to Jessika Beam (966-8903) at SEARHC, c/o Human Resources Department, 222 Tongass Drive, Sitka, AK 99835. Applications also can be faxed to 966-8527, or scanned and e-mailed to jessika.beam@searhc.org. Application packets and additional details are available at Southeast Alaska high school offices, through local tribal organizations or by going to http://searhc.org/students/college_interns.php.

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SEARHC hosts 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/Suicide Prevention Program Manager Wilbur Brown at 966-8753.

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SEARHC provides 24/7 on-call travel coordinators for patients traveling for care: SEARHC has a 24/7 on-call travel coordinator to assist patients needing after-hours help while traveling for a medical appointment. The on-call staff person helps patients find new connections when a plane is diverted by weather, or assists with late-night housing. For assistance, call 1-800-916-8566 (toll-free in Alaska) or 1-907-966-8345 in Sitka, and then follow the prompts. To help us better help you, please call as soon as you know your travel schedule has been changed. For patients needing assistance from the Community Resources Program (contract health), such as emergency health care while traveling, call 1-866-966-8316 (toll-free).

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Charles Clement SEARHC President/CEO