President’s Update for June 19, 2010

In this edition...

Southeast Suicide Prevention Task Force meets June 17-18 in Juneau: The new Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Task Force, a project led by the SEARHC Behavioral Health Prevention program, hosted its second meeting June 17-18 at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Juneau. The task force features representatives from tribes, law enforcement, community governments, schools, health agencies, suicide survivors and other people interested in doing what they can to reduce suicide in Southeast Alaska. The task force will create a regional suicide prevention plan that can be taken back to each of the communities. In addition to following up on the work the group started during its first meeting in Sitka, the members of the Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Task Force had an opportunity to meet with members of the Juneau Community Suicide Prevention Task Force to see how they can collaborate on future projects. For more information on the Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Task Force, contact SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Manager Wilbur Brown at 966-8753 or wilbur.brown@searhc.org. Organized Village of Kasaan visit: On Wednesday, June 16, SEARHC management team members met with the Tribal Council of the Organized Village of Kasaan. The council received an operational update including the status of our health services, the systems transformation initiative, financial position and facilities. Our management team provided input to the council on planning for the Kasaan Health Center and discussed ongoing maintenance and operations of the facility. The trip to Kasaan included a walk out to the Whale House. We appreciate Kasaan’s wonderful hospitality. Alaska Native Health Board begins plan update: The Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) met to begin the update to the statewide health plan for the next five years. The group reviewed planning milestones, current status, and concepts to receive greater input on health needs. The year-long planning effort will include a focus on data and community input. SEARHC management visits Prince of Wales facilities: Members of our management team met with staff at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center for program reviews last week. The trip included a visit to the Hydaburg Health Center, an update on clinic construction in Hydaburg, an opportunity to meet with Board members and a review of possible sites for an access point in Craig. While in Hydaburg, the group visited the carving shed and saw the totem poles being prepared for a pole-raising ceremony at the end of July. Management team members also participated in the Prince of Wales Health Network planning retreat on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning. The POW Health Network is a collaborative of SEARHC, PeaceHealth, the City of Craig, Alaska Islands Community Services and the Alaska Division of Public Health. The network has been meeting for the past two years with a vision of creating partnerships that result in optimal health for the residents of Prince of Wales Island. Areas of concentration for the future include communication and collaboration, behavioral health, community health education, elder services, emergency medical services and other issues. University of Washington physician gives insight into EHR: The SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center received a site visit on June 11 by Dr. Thomas Payne, the medical director for information technology at the University of Washington School of Medicine and a practicing physician. Dr. Payne has many years of experience in the development, selection and implementation of computer-based medical records, and he was in Juneau at SEARHC’s request to provide a clinical assessment of our Systems Transformation project in general and the ALERT Electronic Health Record (EHR) in particular. After reviewing our project, interviewing staff and reviewing the ALERT software programs, Dr. Payne provided us with guidance for a successful go-live of the ALERT CLINIC program scheduled for this summer at the Ethel Lund Medical Center. In his assessment, Dr. Payne felt SEARHC is moving rapidly and aggressively, and has accomplished a great deal in the past three years. He feels SEARHC leadership’s commitment to the project is strong, as is the allocation of capital. He also feels our information technology infrastructure is robust. To him, ALERT “makes sense” and is attractive, creative and quite unlike any other EHR he has seen. He encouraged SEARHC to keep working with ALERT to improve the U.S. version. Dr. Payne credits much of that success to SEARHC’s partnership with ALERT and our direct access to ALERT’s upper management and senior design staff. SEARHC Diabetes Prevention Program to focus to traditional living: In 2011, the SEARHC Diabetes Prevention Program will focus on traditional living. The program will promote traditional foods (from animals to plants) and activities (harvesting food, building smokehouses or weaving looms, making drums). As we focus on relearning our traditional lifestyles, we may begin to reconnect the mind, body and spirit to help regain our ancestors’ strength. The diabetes prevention program is looking for resident experts from around the region who can teach traditional living skills in fishing, hunting, gathering, preparation, storage, beading, tracking, drum-making, dancing, gardening, etc. The program also is curious to find out what types of classes people want to see in their communities. For more information, contact SEARHC Health Educator Renae Mathson at 966-8797 (Sitka) or renae.mathson@searhc.org. SEARHC Dental hosts Denali KidCare pediatric dental clinics in Sitka, Kake: SEARHC Dental will host a pair of special Denali KidCare pediatric dental clinics June 21-25 in Sitka and Kake. The Sitka clinic is for ages 0-18, while the Kake clinic is for older youth ages 13-18. The clinics use Monday and Tuesday for examinations, while follow-up dental work such as fillings taking place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Dr. Kristi Linsenmayer is leading the Sitka clinic, while Dr. Barbara Beach is leading the Kake clinic. SEARHC Dental provides special Denali KidCare pediatric dental clinics in several Southeast communities throughout the year as part of a partnership with the State of Alaska’s Denali KidCare program for low-income children and pregnant women. For more information on the program, contact SEARHC Pediatric Dental Coordinator Cara Gilbert in Juneau at 364-4494. SEARHC comments on Juneau/Douglas utility rates: SEARHC Health Systems Analyst Libby Watanabe and Juneau Facilities Manager Al Nelson provided comments on behalf of SEARHC at a utility rate review meeting held in Juneau. The meeting included public comments on a proposed 22 percent increase in the community by Alaska Electric, Light and Power Company. The rate change could have increased our costs by as much as $30,000 a year and greatly affected elders on fixed incomes in the community. At this time, the utility commission has denied the rate increase. SEARHC attends grand opening of new PeaceHealth clinic in Craig: On Saturday, May 22, 2010 PeaceHealth dedicated their new Prince of Wales Health Care Center with a grand opening, tour of the clinic, barbecue and community celebration. Health Systems Analyst Libby Watanabe from the SEARHC Executive Office attended the dedication, and so did SEARHC Board Members Jolene Edenshaw from Hydaburg Cooperative Association and Patty Cottle from Klawock Cooperative Association. The new clinic has six exam rooms, a dental room and radiology room. PeaceHealth also operates the Ketchikan General Hospital. SEARHC’s Dr. Iva GreyWolf featured in article: An article by Dr. Iva GreyWolf, PhD, about creating a section for Alaska Native/American Indian/Indigenous Women appeared in the Spring 2010 issue of “The Feminist Psychologist,” the newsletter for the American Psychological Association Division 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women). Dr. GreyWolf is the director for the Southeast Area Health Education Center (SE AHEC), which is hosted by SEARHC Human Resources. She also has been a clinical psychologist for SEARHC. Iva chairs the Alaska Native/American Indian/Indigenous Women’s committee for the American Psychological Association Division 35, and the article featured remarks she made during the executive committee’s February meeting in Dallas. Iva is seeking the Indigenous Women’s committee be upgraded to a section, which would give it a voting voice at the table. Dr. GreyWolf said the division’s bylaws are being updated and hopes to hear the results of the vote by September. Outreach team provides prosthodontic services at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital: A team from the Academy of Prosthodontics Foundation’s Outreach Program (bridges, crowns, dentures) was in Sitka on June 14-18 for its annual visit. Dr. Thomas Taylor of the University of Connecticut Health Center led the outreach team and made his 13th annual trip to Alaska with the program. The outreach team usually includes oral and maxillofacial surgeons, prosthodontists (clinicians and laboratory people) and prosthodontic students. SEARHC brings elders to Sitka from rural villages, and the team fits them for dentures and charges the elders just a fraction of their actual cost (dentures usually are not covered by IHS funds). Over the years, the program has provided nearly $1 million worth of prosthodontic services to SEARHC patients during its visits to Sitka and Juneau. Regards, Roald