President’s Update for Aug. 28, 2010

In this edition...

Board approves FY2011 operating and capital budgets: On Friday, Aug. 27, the Board met for a special budget meeting to consider the operating and capital budgets for FY2011. The Board established five priorities in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year including improved customer service, strengthened financial position, completion of system transformation (electronic systems), improved provider-patient communication and strengthened human resources. Over the last few years, we have been able to budget to a financially stable position with modest increases in program services. Service expansions were reviewed and met the priorities established by the Board. The planned increase in services for the next budget year is positive news for SEARHC. We will be sharing the specific service expansions over the next few weeks and months as we implement the new fiscal year budget beginning Oct. 1. SEARHC joins with other community groups to honor National Recovery Month in September: September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, and SEARHC is partnering with several community groups to offer events in Sitka, Juneau, Haines and Prince of Wales Island. The full list of events is quite extensive, but here are a few highlights (a complete list of events has been sent to local media and tribal groups). On Saturdays in Sitka, there is a potluck and talking circle on Sept. 4, a canoe journey, drumming and open mike on Sept. 11, a sobriety walk and open mike on Sept. 18, and a sobriety potlatch celebration on Sept. 25. In Juneau, there is a series of movies about recovery every Wednesday, an art show all month, a recovery poetry jam on Sept. 18 and a SoberFest party on Sept. 24. In Haines on Sept. 25 there will be a potlatch and dance. In Craig on Sept. 25 there will be a sobriety walk, basketball tournament, bicycle rodeo, children’s events and community potluck dinner. Also during the month there will be school presentations in Kasaan, Klawock and Craig. International FASD Awareness Day is Sept. 9: On Thursday, Sept. 9, SEARHC will join other organizations around the state to honor International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day. In Juneau, Sitka and other communities throughout the state, several bars and restaurants are offering pregnant women non-alcoholic beverages as a way to help them realize that even one drink of alcohol while pregnant can harm their babies. The Sitka FASD Support Group will host a pizza party and dance on Sept. 9 for teens and ’tweens who live with the effects of FASD. On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Sitka behavioral health staff will be interviewed on KCAW-Raven Radio and KIFW-AM about the effects of FASD and how it is a 100-percent preventable disease. In Juneau, the Ethel Lund Medical Center will host an FASD information table in the clinic during the week of Sept. 9, and SEARHC will be broadcasting informational FASD prevention public service announcements on local radio stations throughout the region. Also, Gov. Sean Parnell has issued a proclamation about International FASD Awareness Day that discusses FASD’s impacts on Alaska. WISEFAMILIES Through Traditional Knowledge programs host fish camps in Wrangell and Kake: Five families (24 participants total) learned how to clean, smoke and can salmon during the 2010 fish camp in early August in Wrangell. The camp, led by SEARHC’s Tammi Meissner, was featured in a nice article and photo package in the Aug. 19-25, 2010, edition of the Wrangell Sentinel. In mid-July, the 22nd annual Organized Village of Kake Culture Camp was held with 35 day campers (ages 5-11), 19 overnight campers (ages 12-18), 60 people at the fish cookout/drumming event on Wednesday night and 125 people at the potluck on Saturday. Georgie Davis-Gastelum, who leads the WISEFAMILIES program in Kake, helped organize the event, which featured lessons on traditional food preservation, arts and crafts, and other cultural activities. The Kake WISEFAMILIES program also has hosted necklace-making sessions, drum-making (in an exchange with a tribal group in Michigan), seaweed gathering and elderberry jelly gathering this summer. Home telehealth monitoring on Prince of Wales Island: SEARHC and the Alaska Federal Health Care Partnership (AFHCP) placed several home telehealth monitoring (HTM) units with patients on Prince of Wales Island. HTM is the fastest growing form of telemedicine. A small monitoring unit is installed in the patient’s home and sends patient clinical indicators to the health care provider, such as blood pressure, weight, pulse, blood glucose, peak air flow and (for patients on Coumadin/warfarin blood thinners) PT/INR test results. When the home telehealth monitor is installed, the provider tailors the range for clinical indicators to the individual patient. The provider then monitors the patient’s vital signs daily and intervenes when they are outside of the patient’s target range. In a state where transportation and weather are major barriers to health care delivery, HTM has been proven to improve patient outcomes and compliance, reduce emergency room visits and readmissions, and to reduce cost of care while increasing access to care. The regular monitoring of vital signs helps identify the onset of an acute condition, such as a heart attack or stroke. Over the past year or so, we have had a small HTM pilot project in Kake and through our partnership with the AFHCP we now are able to offer this service on Prince of Wales Island. We look forward to this partnership to expand home telehealth monitoring throughout our region. POW hosts Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) on Aug. 19-20: SEARHC Community Family Service Worker Anna Trudeau and Prevention Specialist Brenda Leask taught an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop for community members on Thursday and Friday, Aug. 19-20, at the Klawock Assembly of God Church. This event had a focus on the youth in Klawock. In addition to Anna and Brenda, other SEARHC ASIST trainers were CFSW Lenora Walker of Angoon and Community Injury Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Young of Sitka. SEARHC Injury Prevention secured the funding for the event from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). Minister Katie Goodale, her daughter Mary Goodale and church member Karen Lawton generously provided the space to meet and logistical support throughout the two-day event. There were 17 community members in attendance, including several youth. It was reported to be a success, with a request for another ASIST training in the future. In addition to ANTHC, special thanks go to the SEARHC Injury Prevention, Community Family Services and Behavioral Health Prevention programs and the Klawock Assembly of God Church. For additional information about ASIST, please contact Anna Trudeau in Klawock at 755-4952, Lenora Walker in Angoon at 788-4632, Dinah Aceveda in Kake at 785-6515 or ReGina Rioux in Haines at 766-6379, all part of SEARHC’s expanding team of ASIST trainers in Southeast Alaska. SEARHC trains WELL-Balanced volunteer coaches: SEARHC Diabetes Health Educator Renae Mathson and SEARHC Community Injury Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Young on Aug. 26-27 in Sitka trained about 18 volunteer coaches who will teach the WELL-Balanced program back in their communities. WELL (Wise Elders Living Longer) Balanced is a community intervention program from the National Resource Center on Native American Aging designed to help Native elders improve movement, encourage exercise and help them reduce their risk for falls. The volunteer coaches will help elders learn how to walk in a safer manner, remove tripping hazards from their environment and lead elders in an exercise program with balance training. The volunteer coaches will teach a 16-session, eight-week course in their home communities, and Renae and Jennifer hope to train 4-6 coaches each for Sitka, Kake, Angoon, Prince of Wales and other Southeast communities. For more information on the program, contact Jennifer at 966-8866 or Renae at 966-8797 in Sitka. SEARHC, Bartlett Regional Hospital mobile mammograms continues summer/fall schedule: The Summer/Fall 2010 mobile mammogram season moves to Haines on Aug. 30-Sept. 13 with a visit by the mobile mammography van. The schedule started with a visit to Hoonah on Aug. 23-27 to kick things off. The van also will visit Skagway on Sept. 14-17, Klawock on Sept. 22-Oct. 8, Craig on Oct. 11-12 and Metlakatla on Oct. 14-22. Appointment times are available from the local clinics. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. Between the spring and summer/fall seasons, the van provides about 800-900 women in nine communities with regular mammography screening services in places where the services aren’t available year round. For more information, contact your local clinic or call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program at 966-8782 in Sitka or 1-888-388-8782 (toll-free in Alaska), send an e-mail to, or go online at SEARHC Health Promotion offers digital storytelling class Aug. 29-31 in Haines: The SEARHC Health Promotion department is hosting a free class on digital storytelling for adults and youth ages 14 and older on Sunday through Tuesday, Aug. 29-31, in Haines. The digital storytelling class takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday at the Haines Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) Hall. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop with a Windows operating system, and the following free programs: Windows Moviemaker and Audacity. They also should bring non-licensed music and scanned photos. For more information or to receive an information packet, contact SEARHC Community Wellness Advocate Mandy Ramsey in Haines at 766-6317 or Health Educator Renae Mathson in Sitka at The digital storytelling class will teach people to:
  • Write a 200-250 personal story focusing upon one important health-related message the participant feels passionate about sharing.
  • Design and develop the story in a format suitable for digital storytelling.
  • Learn computer-based skills for producing their personal digital story.
  • Present their digital story to workshop participants and facilitators.
  • Make a plan to share their digital story to extend their health knowledge.
SEARHC Health Promotion offers free health screenings Sept. 1-2 in Haines: The SEARHC Health Promotion program will offer free health screenings for adults (ages 18 or older) on Sept. 1-2 in Haines. The health screenings are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30-6 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 1-2) at the Chilkat Center for the Arts, located on the grounds for Fort William H. Seward. Participants are encouraged to call early to schedule 20-minute appointment, though walk-in patients will be seen when there are gaps in the schedule. The screenings feature a simple blood test that gives people their non-fasting glucose, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and blood pressure results. To schedule an appointment, contact Mandy Ramsey at 766-6317. Tlingít & Haida Indians of the City and Borough of Juneau to host Juneau Health Forum on Sept. 18: The Tlingít & Haida Indians of the City and Borough of Juneau is planning a Juneau Health Forum on Saturday, Sept. 18, to discuss health services in Juneau. This forum will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (light lunch provided) at the Juneau Tlingít and Haida Community Center, 3235 Hospital Dr., next to SEARHC. The purpose of the forum is to strengthen communication between tribal citizens and local leadership, increase understanding of how health care services are accessed and delivered, and to renew our commitment of mission and vision. This forum will provide an update on current services and future plans to deliver the highest quality health care in partnership with Native people. Among those scheduled to present are SEARHC President/CEO Roald Helgesen, SEARHC COO Frank Sutton, SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center Clinic Administrator/Medical Director Dr. Janice Sheufelt, Alaska Native Medical Center CFO Greg Burkel and more. For more information, contact Doloresa Cadiente, President of the Tlingít & Haida Indians of the City and Borough of Juneau. Regards, Roald