President’s Update for June 13, 2014

In this edition...

Celebrate a Smoke-Free Father’s Day

Father’s Day celebrates dads for who they are and the important role they play in influencing the choices their kids make – and this especially true with tobacco use. Unfortunately, tobacco use among Alaskan men remains a serious problem: more than one in five men currently smoke, more than 300 Alaskan men die every year from smoking, and over 500 Alaskan kids have already lost their dad to smoking.

If you smoke, quit. If you aren’t successful, keep trying. Children from families who smoke are twice as likely to become smokers themselves; but parents who try to quit and talk to their kids about how addictive smoking is, why they want to quit, and how important it is to never start can beat those odds. 

There are also some other things you can do:

  • Educate your kids about the dangers of cigarette smoking.
  • Discuss peer pressure and how to deal with it effectively.
  • Clear up any misunderstandings your child might have about smoking.
  • Protect your family from secondhand smoke.
  • Support federal, state and local tobacco-prevention efforts like higher tobacco taxes, funding for tobacco prevention programs and smoke-free laws.

If you’re ready to quit, your provider can provide tools to help. You may also contact Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.


American Academy of Prosthodontists Provide Denture Services at SEARHC

Six prosthodontic specialists and two oral surgeons spent the past week in Sitka in order to provide 32 sets of dentures and 20 dental implants to elders from the villages we serve – the most ever done in the 19 years we’ve been providing this annual clinic! They also did some third molar (wisdom teeth) extractions and some additional oral surgery procedures.

The dentists and interns that performed these services came from the University of Connecticut School of Dentistry as well as one from the University of Maryland. Not only did they perform a great service to these patients in such a short time, but all of their time, travel and other expenses were donated. The supplies were donated by the manufacturers, adding to our ability to keep costs low for these traditionally expensive procedures.

Please join me in thanking our dental staff in Sitka as well as these very important volunteers that continue to come participate in this clinic year after year.


New Health Advocate in Angoon

I am pleased to announce Randall Gamble has been hired to work in the Health Promotion Diabetes program as a Health Advocate I in Angoon. Randy was born in Juneau; he is Tlingit: eagle, Kaagwaantaan, Wolf house and has been a resident of Angoon for about 44 years. He served in the Army National Guard, and has worked as a volunteer Fire Chief and as an EMT1 for the Angoon Fire Department. Randy enjoys hunting, fishing, gathering traditional Native foods, skiing, and walking. Randy currently serves on Angoon’s City Council, as a Firefighter, EMT and Search and Rescue. Please join me in welcoming Randy to SEARHC.

Charles Clement

Just a reminder...


Sitka Senior Walking Group

The Injury Prevention Falls Prevention Program kicked off the “Sitka Senior Walking Group” at the Sitka Memorial National Park on Tuesday, June 3rd. Injury Prevention has partnered with the local branches of the Alaska Pioneer Home, and Southeast Alaska Independent Living (SAIL) to provide escorted walks through the park and other downtown walking routes on Tuesdays from 10:30-11:30AM. Despite the wet weather, the inaugural walk included nine participants, three partner staff members, and one volunteer.  Participants and volunteers were provided with ponchos, pedometers, and reflective zipper pulls, and walked the park trails for about an hour. There will be weekly walks for the rest of the summer, and walkers of all ages and activity levels are welcome to meet outside the National Park Visitor’s center on Tuesdays at 10:15AM. Anyone that would like to know more about this program should contact SEARHC Injury Prevention at (907) 966-8866


Summer Mobile Mammogram Schedule

The WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program in partnership with the Breast Cancer Detection Center has set the Summer 2014 mobile mammography schedule. The mobile mammography van will visit Hydaburg on Friday, August 1, Klawock from Saturday, August 2nd through Friday, August 8th, Hoonah from Tuesday, August 12th through Friday, August 15th, Skagway on Monday, August 18th, and Haines on Wednesday August 20th through Monday, August 25th. 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 e-mail the WISEWOMAN Health Program.


No-Show Policy at ELMC

In order to decrease the frequency of patients missing appointments at Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau, we will be implementing a new no-show policy beginning June 16, 2014. A missed appointment, or "no-show," occurs when a patient misses a scheduled appointment without advance notice and therefore delays the opportunity for others to receive timely care.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we implement this new policy. You may contact the clinic if you have any questions or would like additional clarification.


Free Health Insurance for Alaska Natives/American Indians

Through a collaboration between SouthEast Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), Alaska Natives and American Indians may be eligible for free additional health insurance coverage through a trial program known as Tribally Sponsored Health Insurance Program (T-SHIP), and is available to those the program’s criteria. Anyone interested in being screened for health insurance coverage should call Andrea Thomas, SEARHC Outreach & Enrollment Manager at (907) 966-8883 or email her at andreat@searhc.org.


ANTHC $5000 Scholarship for the 2014-2015 Academic Year

Applications are currently being accepted now through June 20, 2014 at 4:30 pm. Awards go towards the academic Fall 2014 – Summer 2015 school year. ANTHC grants these scholarships as an integral part of its long-term strategy to increase Alaska Natives and American Indians in the healthcare field. You may visit the ANTHC website for more information.