Walk for Life is a huge success as an event to support Alaska Native people and employees of partner agencies (SEARHC, T&H Central Council, T&H Regional Housing Authority, Sealaska, and Goldbelt) to walk more to improve their health. The event took place at Dimond Field House where walking passes were given to about 170 registered participants. About 120 of the registered walkers attended last Saturday’s kick off event, whose average age is 47 years old. Saturday’s event also included speakers Ed Thomas – CCTHITA, Ricardo Worl - Regional Housing Authority, Karen Taug - Goldbelt Board Chair, Shawn Blumenshine - on behalf of Sealaska, Bill Martin - Grand President ANB. Food was provided by Abby's Kitchen and coffee was generously donated by The Grind. SEARHC gift bags with safety reflectors and journals were given to the first 50 people. Numerous door prizes were awarded to registered attendees and the drummers provided the pace that made the walking more fun and purposeful. The event continues for four weeks with sponsored Tuesday night walks 5:30-7:30 at the Dimond Field House with more door prizes. The event concludes on Saturday February 16th and starts at 10am-12noon with awards and the Grand Prize drawing for 25,000 Alaska Air-miles. It is not too late to join us and don’t forget that as a SEARHC employee you may use the Field House Track anytime they are open, gaining free access with your name badge. For more information, contact Edy Rodewald at 907-364-4452.
The 30th Annual Alaska Public Health Summit took place this past week in Anchorage with "Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future" as this years theme. The theme is particularly appropriate, because Ethel Lund (SEARHC President Emeritus), was honored by the Alaska Public Health Association with the Alaska Meritorious Health Service Award. The award presentation took place during the Wednesday luncheon, with approx 250 in attendance.
Community Transformation Grant and Traditional Foods Program Manager Martha Pearson presented a session on how the SEARHC Traditional Foods Culture Camps have brought health practices and Native values together in effective ways. The SEARHC Tobacco Program's varied collaborations and work with the Alaska Tobacco Prevention and Control Program to decrease tobacco-related disparities in Alaska, were also highlighted in a breakout session. The SEARHC Wise Families & Youth Program presented a poster on three years of program successes and lessons learned.
The SEARHC Traditional Foods grant from the CDC is in year 5 of its work in Kake and Wrangell. A portion of the grant objectives include disseminating the findings and encouraging systems that support respectful traditional food use. Martha Pearson and Georgie Davis Gastelum gave a presentation at the Alaska Health Summit in Anchorage this week. They shared best practices for the program and participant evaluation data. In a pre and post program participation questionnaire, participants improved fruit and vegetable servings per day by ~1 serving and improved minutes of moderate physical activity per week by 22 minutes. We hope that data like this will show funders that traditional food and Native culture based interventions are a sound public health investment.
SEARHC has a new website and it’s been created to increase (with ease) the way you access information about SERHC, its locations, services, providers and more. The way you search and apply for a job at SEARHC has also gotten a lot simpler, which will help to quicken the response time from SEARHC to the applicants. The site will continue to take shape in the months to come with the addition of publications like HealthBeat that will be written in the form of a blog. Links to outside sources like the CDC, other Tribal healthcare networks and health education websites will be added as the site grows. Please check it out at http://searhc.org.
If you haven't already done so, please check out SEARHC's new page on Facebook. This page will provide people with updates about what's happening around the consortium. This page is new, so it will be adding more content over time. If you're on Facebook, please like our page so you can keep up on the news at SEARHC.
SEARHC has three patient advocate positions in Southeast Alaska – Bryan Whitson (Sitka), Cyndi Reeves (POW), and Debra Graceland (Juneau) – who serve as customer service liaisons between patients and SEARHC, and help patients navigate their way through SEARHC's health system. In addition, 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 Klawock, Craig, Hydaburg, Kasaan, Thorne Bay and other POW communities should contact Cyndi Reeves at 755-4983 (965-0040, cell). Patients in Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Klukwan and Hoonah should contact Debra Graceland (463-6656). Patients traveling to Anchorage for care should contact the ANMC patient advocates at 729-3990.
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.
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).