Hospital leadership changes: S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital changed leaders on July 17 as Dr. Marty Grasmeder added the hospital administrator job title to his current medical director duties. The change is due to Norma Perkins becoming the Community Resources Program Director position currently held by Karen Fredrickson. Karen is retiring on Aug. 5 after 23 years at SEARHC with 10 years as director of the Community Resources Program (formerly contract health). Norma started her new position on July 17. She has been with SEARHC for 25 years, including 1 1/2 years as hospital administrator. Dr. Grasmeder becomes hospital administrator/medical director with responsibility for the hospital and Sitka Primary Care operations. He has been with SEARHC for 17 years, including 3 1/2 as the hospital’s medical director. Dr. Grasmeder will be supported by new director of nursing Lynn Gras and Sitka Primary Care Operations Manager Kendra Pountney. A professional services administrator position will oversee several clinical support departments in the hospital and be an active member of the hospital’s leadership team. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Grasmeder and Norma to their new positions and wishing Karen the best as she moves to Texas.
Denali Commission grant for Hoonah clinic: On July 15, we received a letter from the Denali Commission letting us know they will be awarding us a grant for $4.15 million to cover part of the costs for building a new Hoonah Health Center. SEARHC will make a contribution, and we are working with other funders to get the rest of the funds to build this much-needed new clinic. On June 29, the City of Hoonah transferred 3.96 acres of land to SEARHC for the construction of the clinic, so we are happy to see this project gain momentum.
Juneau lab COLA inspection: COLA (formerly the Commission On Laboratory Accreditation) recently completed an unannounced accreditation inspection at the SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center lab, and manager John Perry said the lab passed with only three minor findings. These findings will not require COLA follow-up. John said inspections happen at least once every two years, and the lab has to be ready at all times. Accreditation by COLA gives our patients the assurance that their laboratory is doing everything it can to provide quality/safe results for their health care. John credited his lab staff for making the passed inspection possible through their daily diligence and attention to detail. “As manager, I often get the credit for these things, but it truly is the frontline staff that make it happen,” John said. The S’áxt Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital laboratory passed its accreditation inspection in April and just received its accreditation certificate. Our Haines and Klawock labs will not have their COLA inspections until next summer.
SEARHC receives CDC funding for breast and cervical cancer program: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program received a note July 15 that it would receive its requested $670,000 for Year Five of its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program grant from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The technical analysis of the award noted SEARHC’s history of providing high-quality screening and diagnostic care. Earlier, the WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program heard that it would be receiving $581,427 for Year Four of its WISEWOMAN grant. While this was less than we requested, we are happy with level funding since many similar programs have been cut during national debt reduction discussions.
Youth Ambassadors program will address teen suicide: The SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program and the Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Task Force “1 is 2 Many” is getting ready to launch the Youth Ambassadors program to prevent teen suicide. The new program is open to high school juniors from each community in Southeast Alaska. SEARHC and the task force are starting the Youth Ambassadors program to create a bigger connection to local students, since so many of Alaska’s suicides are by teens and young adults. Suicide task force members will serve as one-on-one mentors for Youth Ambassadors participants. The Youth Ambassadors will meet at least once in person and every month by teleconference. They will discuss what’s happening at their schools and work on ways to encourage students to find alternatives to suicide. Youth Ambassadors also will work with their local school districts and suicide prevention coalitions. Being part of the Youth Ambassadors program will be something the students can put on their resumes as they apply for college. The program also might encourage students to pursue behavioral health careers. Applications are posted at http://www.searhc.org/programs/behavioral_health.php and are due by Aug. 15. To learn more about Youth Ambassadors, contact Megan Gregory at 463-6645.
Car seat safety check-up event in Hydaburg: Certified Car Seat Technicians June May, Lesa Way and Lorena Gray hosted a car seat safety check-up event on Wednesday, July 20, at the Hydaburg Health Center. The car seat safety event allows a certified technician to check and make sure your child’s car seat is properly fitted to the car and is the proper size for the child. Fitting a child car seat is difficult since there are so many types of cars and car seats available. An improperly fitting car seat can significantly increase your child’s risk for injury or death in a car wreck. Alaska state law requires all children up to age 8 (who are shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches, or weigh less than 65 pounds) to use an approved booster or child car seat. To learn more about car safety seat check-ups, contact June May at 755-4959 in Klawock, Lesa Way at 966-8804 in Sitka or Lorena Gray at 364-4456 in Juneau.
Digital storytelling class to be offered in Klawock: SEARHC Health Promotion will offer a digital storytelling class Aug. 1-3 at the Klawock School. Digital storytelling blends storytelling traditions with computer-based technology as a way for people to be able to tell their own story using free multimedia tools. Through the use of digital storytelling technology, people are empowered to share a meaningful, heart-felt message, and are moved from being passive recipients of health messages to actively creating a way to have their voice enter the conversation to make a difference in the story of wellness for the Native Peoples of Alaska. Digital storytelling combines narration, images, sound, video, and technology to create a short movie. Participants give voice to their passion and meaningful experiences as they exercise their power to write and create their own personal narrative. Through digital storytelling people are empowered to be the storyteller and the teacher. This class is open to all community members, but class size is limited. If interested, please call June May at 755-4959 by Wednesday, July 27.