President’s Update for Feb. 26, 2011

In this edition...

In this edition … Wrangell Community Association visit: On Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 22-23, we visited the community of Wrangell. The purpose of our visit was to share current information on SEARHC activities, check in with our local providers of care, and hear from our patients on services and programs. On Tuesday, we meet with members of the tribal council at the Wrangell Cooperative Association, the Alaska Islands Community Services management in the afternoon, and a community dinner and presentation at the SNO building in the evening. The dinner started on a great note with a wonderful performance by the Wrangell Johnson-O’Malley Dancers. On Wednesday morning, we met with the hospital administrator. Members of our executive team, medical director, and local Board Member, Lovey Brock, joined us for these meetings. Back to top Petersburg Indian Association visit: On Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 23-24, we visited the community of Petersburg. The purpose of our visit was to share current information on SEARHC activities, check in with our local providers of care, and hear from our patients on services and programs. On Wednesday, we meet with the Petersburg Medical Center administrator, our community resource and behavioral health staff, and a community dinner and presentation at the ANB Hall in the evening. On Thursday morning, we met with the Petersburg Indian Association administrator. Members of our executive team, medical director, and Petersburg Board Member, Bobbi Scherrer, joined us for many of these meetings. Back to top SEARHC staff attends tribal suicide prevention conference: Wilbur Brown, Jr., and Libby Watanabe attended the “2011 Garrett Lee Smith State and Tribal Suicide Prevention Conference” held Feb. 14-17 in Baltimore. The State of Alaska generously supported the travel expenses for this trip. Since suicide remains one of the leading causes of death for adolescents and young adults ages 19-25 years, the focus of the conference was on preventing youth suicide. A cross section of agencies (SAMHSA, college/universities, IHS, CDC) and tribal organizations were represented at the conference. D.J. “Eagle Bear” Vanas of Native Discovery, Inc., was the keynote speaker. By clicking on his website, http://www.nativediscovery.com/, you can sign up for D.J.’s free newsletter, “Firelight,” and gain a sense of his inspirational presentation style, as well as access to many useful resources that are helpful in developing culturally relevant leadership skills. Overall, it is felt that SEARHC's Suicide Prevention Program is very progressive when compared to other programs across the nation. Back to top SEARHC ELMC dietitians host National Nutrition Month events in March: SEARHC ELMC dietitians Kari Natwick, Lisa Fenn and Susan Hennon will be hosting several National Nutrition Month events in March at the Ethel Lund Medical Center. National Nutrition Month is an annual nutrition education and information campaign sponsored by the American Dietetic Association that focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. During the entire month of March, there will be nutrition information displays in the reception area at the Ethel Lund Medical Center and in the lobby of the Juneau Dental/Behavioral Health/WIC building. On Wednesday, March 9, which is National Registered Dietitians Day, Kari will host a food-tasting event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ethel Lund Medical Center. Also during March will be several “Exercise with the RDs” events from noon to 1 p.m. at the ELMC conference rooms. These events include Zumba (dance and movement to Latin rhythms) with Kristin Mabry on March 8, tap dance with Dr. Mimi Benjamin on March 16, and yoga with Nancy Duhaime on March 23 and 30. For more information about these events and National Nutrition Month, contact Lisa at 364-4476, Susan at 364-4096 or Kari at 364-4460. Back to top Wear blue on March 4 for colorectal cancer awareness: March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, and everybody is encouraged to wear blue on Friday, March 4, to help increase awareness of this disease that affects so many Alaska Native families. Colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) ranks among the leading causes of death for Alaska Natives, but colorectal cancer also is one of the easiest cancers to prevent. Colorectal cancer usually is found in people age 50 or older, but people younger than 50 can get it. Alaska Natives have twice the rates of colorectal cancer incidence and mortality than non-Natives. Precancerous polyps can be detected and removed during screening, before they become cancer. The risk for colorectal cancer is higher for people who are obese or eat diets with lots of red meat or processed foods. Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke also can increase the risk. The early stages of colorectal cancer have few symptoms, which makes screening more important. All adults age 50 or older should talk with their medical provider about screening, and so should younger adults who have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or bowel diseases. To learn more about Dress in Blue Day, go to http://www.dressinblueday.com/. To learn more about colorectal cancer screening, contact your local SEARHC medical provider or the SEARHC Colorectal Cancer Screening Program at 966-8541. Back to top S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital staff attend improvement training: Six members of the Improving Patient Care (IPC3) team for the S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Outpatient Department attended the first in-person learning session Feb. 14-16 in Tucson, Ariz. The Improving Patient Care (IPC) program is offered by the Indian Health Service to help strengthen health programs and reduce health disparities among American Indian/Alaska Native patients. The intensive two-day meetings are scheduled every 2-3 months, bringing together improvement teams from each organization and the expert faculty to exchange ideas. The six attendees were Dr. Marty Grasmeder, MEH Medical Director; Kendra Pountney, Sitka Primary Care Administrator; Cindy Baldwin-Kitka, Deputy COO; Lynn Gras, FNP, Midlevel Practitioner; Sonja Conner, RN, Internal Medicine Case Manager; and Rachel Moreno, SEARHC Board and Community Member. The first day, Feb. 14, was reserved for leadership to learn the importance of executive-level buy-in to the IPC concepts with tips for motivation and how to institute high-level change. A series of plenary and breakout sessions took place on Feb. 15-16. The purpose of the sessions is to gain greater knowledge of the principles around the Model for Improvement, have the ability to ask the IPC national staff questions, and hear about the successes and challenges of those who participated in IPC1 and IPC2 (the Ethel Lund Medical Center participated in IPC2). This also allowed the team uninterrupted time away from work to refine goals and aims and further define ideas for improvement that will be used in rapid cycle changes using the PDSA (Plan-Do-Study-Act) cycle. The first two learning sessions are in-person and the second learning session includes a site visit to a health care organization that is well along on its improvement journey. In April, the team will visit Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage. The team left Tucson energized and excited about testing ideas for improvement in a small environment and spreading those that are successful throughout the clinic. Back to top SEARHC hires new Juneau health educator: Edy Rodewald started Feb. 14 as the new Health Educator II in Juneau. Edy’s position will focus on tobacco policy issues and health promotion, and she can be reached at 364-4452. SEARHC also is recruiting a Health Educator I, who will focus on physical activity projects. Edy is a long-time Juneau resident, minus a few years in California where she worked as a trainer/consultant in motivational interviewing. She has a BA degree in psychology and a MEd in school counseling, plus she currently is working on a PhD in psychology. Edy worked for 10 years as a program manager at Catholic Community Service in Juneau and comes to us with a depth of experience. Back to top Regards, Roald