President’s Update for June 25, 2011

In this edition...

In this edition … Hospital selects CNAs of the Year: The nursing staff at S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital selected six CNAs (certified nursing assistants) of the Year as part of their National Nursing Assistants Week celebration on June 16-23. Honored were: CNAs Elaine Rose, Acute Medical Services; Lucas Starbuck, Emergency Room/Intensive Care Unit; Byron Hunt, Outpatient/Urgent Care; Michelle Roberts, Obstetric Surgical Services; Maria Howard, Perioperative Services/Surgery; Josie Parrish, Critical Care Services/Intensive Care Unit. SEARHC employs CNAs at S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka and Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau. During the week, the hospital hosted special brown-bag lunches with educational training for the CNAs. The event culminated on June 23, when CNA of the Year awards were announced. Back to top Board of Directors meeting: The Board of Directors met this week in Klukwan, Haines, and Skagway. On Tuesday, the board honored Evelyn Hotch, long-time board member, during a community dinner at the Alaska Native Sisterhood Hall in Klukwan. Evelyn served on the board for many years and was previously the treasurer for SEARHC. Susan Geiger, an attorney representing SEARHC in Washington, D.C., also was recognized in Klukwan. She recently retired following decades of work for SEARHC, including the assumption of Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. The board conducted business in the morning and swore in our new Kasaan board member, Fred Olsen. The Accreditation Governing Body met on Monday in Haines at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall to receive reports on operations, compliance, human resources, quality, medical staff credentials and privileges. The full board met on Wednesday for its regular business including reports from the president, committee reports (accreditation governing body, planning, governance, and budget/audit), and a visit from Rep. Bill Thomas. On Thursday, the board met at the Skagway Traditional Council offices and joined members of the council for a late lunch. During new business, the board approved an operating room staff expansion and a loan for the new Hoonah Health Center. Back to top New physician assistant joins staff in Hoonah: Charles W. “Chuck” Luck, PA-C, joined the medical staff at the Hoonah Health Center as a physician assistant. Chuck comes to SEARHC with 11 years of experience working as a physician assistant in Alaska and several years in Sheridan, Ore. He spent two years at the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital in Barrow, went to Adak for two years (where he also was elected mayor), worked five years at the Maniilaq Health Center in Kotzebue, and most recently spent two years working in orthopedics and emergency room/urgent care at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage. Chuck is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants. Before earning his physician assistant certification at the University of Southern California, Chuck had a previous career as an electrical engineer (his engineering degree also is from USC). He also is a commercial instrument rated pilot. Chuck made the career switch to medicine after helping build a medical-dental clinic and church for Oaxacan Indians in Rancho Piloto, Southern Baja, Mexico. Back to top Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít adds Dr. Carmen Sugai as a psychiatrist: The Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít outpatient behavioral health clinic in Sitka recently added psychiatrist Carmen M. Sugai, MD, to its permanent staff after she spent two rotations in Sitka as a traveling provider. Dr. Sugai earned her medical degree and completed her undergraduate pre-med studies at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. She completed her psychiatry residency at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., and she completed a child psychiatry fellowship at Tulane University in New Orleans, La. Dr. Sugai is certified in adult psychiatry and child psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She worked in private practice in Baton Rouge, La., and worked for the Louisiana State Hospital in Jackson, La., and the Southeast Louisiana State Hospital in Mandeville, La. Before joining the permanent staff at SEARHC, she was a traveling psychiatrist in Sitka from May to September 2010 and January to April 2011. Her special medical interests include FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorders) evaluation and child psychiatry. Back to top Haines eight-person bike team in Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay: A mixed-gender eight-person relay team comprised of SEARHC Haines Health Center employees finished 29th out of 73 teams in its division on Saturday, June 18, during the Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay. The team, known as TYHAC, completed the 146-mile course from Haines Junction, Yukon Territory, to Haines, Alaska, in 8 hours, 50 minutes, 54 seconds, dropping nearly two hours from its 2010 time of 10:30:02 (when the team was called the Crash Test Dummies). Members of the team included Dr. Julia Heinz, nurse Julie Anderson, Dr. Noble Anderson, former employee Walter Clayton, pharmacy technician Brandi Stickler, nurse Adam DuPaul, Dr. Russ Bowman and administrative assistant/senior office technician Christa Clayton. The annual Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay features close to 1,200 cyclists who compete as solo riders or on two-, four- and eight-person teams. Back to top ANTHC announces leadership changes: The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Board of Directors on Monday, June 20, named Garvin Federenko as ANTHC’s acting Chief Executive Officer. Garvin replaces Don Kasheveroff, who served as ANTHC’s CEO for the past three years. Garvin has been ANTHC’s Senior Director of Administration and Finance since 1998, when he helped the organization transition from federal to tribal management. “The ANTHC Board of Directors appreciates Don’s years of service to ANTHC and to the Alaska Tribal Health System,” ANTHC Board Chairman/President Andy Teuber said. “He was instrumental in setting the stage for many improvements at ANTHC and we sincerely thank him.” In other ANTHC news this week, Laura Báez has been named Director of Behavioral Health for its Division of Community Health Services. Laura previously worked at the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) for 15 years, most recently serving as Behavioral Health Administrator. Back to top National HIV Testing Day on June 27: The 17th Annual National HIV Testing Day takes place on Monday, June 27, and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) encourages people to “Take The Test, Take Control” by being tested for HIV. Getting tested is important because HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can be spread in several ways, with the highest risks being sexual contact, intravenous drug use, and shared needle use. HIV testing also is important for the Native community, since HIV/AIDS infection rates are growing in Native communities at a higher rate than for other ethnic groups in the United States. Natives people with HIV/AIDS tend to be younger than non-Natives. Since Alaska’s first diagnosis in 1982 through Dec. 31, 2008, there have been 282 Natives diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, which is 22 percent of the state’s 1,261 total cases. Of particular concern is the growing number of females with HIV/AIDS. Now almost a third of all new cases of HIV/AIDS are in women compared to less than 10 percent in the 1980s. Natives also have the shortest times between HIV/AIDS diagnosis and death. To learn more about HIV testing and prevention, contact your local SEARHC medical provider or by going to http://www.hivtest.org/press_files/default.aspx. Back to top SEARHC hosts second annual sobriety picnic July 3 in Juneau: The SEARHC Juneau Behavioral Health Clinic is hosting its second annual sobriety picnic on Sunday afternoon, July 3, at Sandy Beach in Douglas. There will be games, prizes and fun on the beach or at the softball fields during the afternoon, with the barbecue being fired up at 5 p.m. at the Sandy Beach picnic shelter (the shelter is reserved from 5-9 p.m.). People can bring their favorite dishes to share, the more food the better. SEARHC Behavioral Health also will supply some food. For more information, contact Toni Weber at 463-6670. Back to top Haines survey shows support for smoke-free environment: A recent survey of 319 adults in Haines Borough showed that 79.7 percent feel it is important to have a smoke-free environment inside workplaces, including restaurants, bars and clubs. In addition, 73.5 percent of Haines residents found it more enjoyable to visit restaurants, bars and clubs once the smoke-free law took effect. In other results, 78.1 percent found it was nice to be able to go home after a night out on the town without smelling like smoke. The survey was sponsored by SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and conducted by Hellenthal and Associates in August 2010, eight months after the Haines Clean Indoor Air Ordinance went into effect. The intent of the phone survey was to gauge the support, thoughts and concerns Haines citizens had about the ordinance. Of the 319 adults surveyed, 56 (17.4 percent) were current smokers, 119 (37.3 percent) were former smokers and 144 (45.3 percent) had never smoked. Back to top WISEWOMAN program coordinator selected to national panel: SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program Coordinator Martha Pearson recently was elected co-chair for the CDC WISEWOMAN Program Coordinators. Martha was nominated and elected to a two-year term by her co-program directors and managers in early June, when she was attending a WISEWOMAN program meeting in Atlanta. She will report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) leadership on behalf of the 21 funded WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation) programs around the nation. This is a very nice acknowledgment of her hard work and her ongoing contributions to WISEWOMAN programming and successes. Congratulations, Martha. Back to top Regards, Roald