President’s Update for Aug. 20, 2011

In this edition...

In this edition … Lifestyle Balance classes to prevent diabetes offered in Juneau, Sitka: The Lifestyle Balance Program will offer two free series of 16 diabetes prevention classes in Juneau starting on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and Sitka starting on Wednesday, Sept. 7 (both start dates subject to change). This program is open to adults of Alaska Native or Native American heritage who have been diagnosed with prediabetes or have had a higher-than-normal fasting glucose level. People with prediabetes are at higher risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, and these classes have been proven to greatly reduce the risk for diabetes. During the classes, students learn simple lifestyle changes that can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Students also receive quarterly follow-up checks and support as they continue to make healthy choices after the classes end. Of the 162 people who have completed the course during the past five years, only five clients progressed to Type 2 diabetes. For more information about the classes, contact Kathryn Dennis (364-4453) or Susan Phillips (364-4474) in Juneau, or Heleena vanVeen (966-8914) or Walleen Whitson (966-8916) in Sitka. Back to top New POW optometrist in Sitka for training: Richard McMaster, OD, our new optometrist for Prince of Wales Island, spent this past week in Sitka training with Pamela Steffes, OD. Dr. McMaster currently owns All Family Vision Care in Lewiston, Mont., but is selling his practice so he can move to Prince of Wales Island. He earned his Doctor of Optometry degree from the Pacific University College of Optometry in Forest Grove, Ore., and he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology from the University of Montana. He is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Montana Optometric Association. Dr. McMaster’s professional interests include primary eye care, contact lenses, ocular disease and co-management of refractive surgery and cataract surgery. He also enjoys fishing, hiking, hunting, woodworking and photography. This fall, Dr. McMaster will start making regular trips to Prince of Wales Island (about once a month) until he can sell his practice, then he will permanently move to the island to live. Back to top SEARHC to conduct special BRFSS telephone survey: SEARHC Health Promotion has contracted with a company that will conduct a special Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) telephone survey of more than 600 Southeast Alaska residents during September and October. This special survey involves a 15-minute telephone call where people are asked basic health questions, such as what is your level of health, what do you do to stay healthy, what do you do when you get sick and how easy is it for you to get health care. This is similar to a statewide BRFSS conducted by the State of Alaska, but it will give us better data about Southeast Alaska so SEARHC can do a better job of planning its health promotion and disease prevention programs. If you or your neighbors receive these calls, we ask that you take the 15 minutes to complete the survey. The individual calls are confidential, and only the overall data will be used for planning. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Edy Rodewald at 364-4452 or Andrea Thomas at 966-8883. Back to top SEARHC provides interim surgery coverage in Sitka: The Sitka Community Hospital (SCH) general surgery department notified us Aug. 10 that it will be closed part of August, so SEARHC S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital is providing 24/7 general surgery services for all of Sitka as well as our normal services within the Southeast region. The temporary coverage takes place from Aug. 13-28, during which SCH will route emergency and urgent surgeries to SEARHC. S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital currently provides general surgery services in Southeast Alaska, and we have two surgeons on staff — Dr. Bob Crochelt and Dr. William Beutel. Dr. Donna Smith, our obstetrics and gynecology specialist, also performs surgical procedures. We encouraged SCH to release a statement about the temporary status change. Back to top SEARHC to provide health screenings to 400-plus Mt. Edgecumbe High School students: Several SEARHC staff members in Sitka will help screen about 410 students at Mt. Edgecumbe High School on Monday afternoon to Wednesday morning, Aug. 22-24. The students will be screened for dental, vision, depression and hearing, plus they will be tested for TB. Public health nurses from the State of Alaska will assist SEARHC staff on the screenings. The students will be screened in shifts, with waves of about 27 students going through each station in 40 minutes. This is an annual event, which helps our Mt. Edgecumbe High School Student Health Center staff know which students need additional care during the school year. Back to top Kristen Homer joins Mt. Edgecumbe High School Student Health Center staff: Family nurse practitioner Kristen Homer, RN, MSN, FNP-BC has joined the medical staff at the SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe High School Student Health Center. Kristen comes to SEARHC from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sitka Medical Clinic, where she worked the previous 6 1/2 years. Before that she was a public health nurse with the state’s Sitka Public Health Center and a community health aide/practitioner supervisor/field clinician for SEARHC. She first came to Sitka as a health-planning intern with the SEARHC in 1990. Kristen holds a Master of Science in Nursing degree and certificate in nursing from the Yale University School of Nursing. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and anthropology from Middlebury College. She is accredited as a family nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Back to top Receptions for Frank Sutton: We have set the dates for two community celebrations of former COO Frank Sutton’s lengthy career with SEARHC. The first celebration will be from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, at the TlingÌt and Haida Community Center (3235 Hospital Dr.) in Juneau to coincide with the Board’s budget meeting. Plans include food, Native dancing, an open mike and a presentation for Frank. The second celebration will be on Thursday, Sept. 22, in Sitka. Frank retired on Aug. 5 after 40 years with SEARHC, and we are excited to honor that service. For information, please contact Olga Fitka at 463-4053 or Libby Watanabe at 463-6680. Back to top Fall mobile mammogram schedule ready to start: The Fall 2011 schedule for the mobile mammogram van program has been announced, and it will start with a visit Aug. 22-26 to Hoonah. Other trips on the fall schedule include Aug. 29-Sept. 12 in Haines, Sept. 13-14 in Skagway, Sept. 20-30 and Oct. 5-11 in Klawock, Oct. 3-4 in Craig and Oct. 13-21 in Metlakatla. The mobile mammogram van program is operated as a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. Women are encouraged to contact their local clinics before the scheduled visit because they will need to have had a clinical breast exam before they can get their mammograms. 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/. Back to top Regards, Roald