President’s Update for March 14, 2014

In this edition...

Wrangell Open House for new SEARHC office

On March 4th, the new Wrangell SEARHC office hosted an open house for beneficiaries and all Wrangell community members to drop in, enjoy traditional refreshments and conversation. About 30 people came to the open house and enjoyed Wrangell deer stew, berry cup with Wrangell blue berries and Hudson Bay tea gathered from Wrangell. Attendees received information regarding both Health Promotion's Traditional Foods Program and also Referral Care programs. Until January, Wrangell hosted its SEARHC Referral Care Coordinator in the Wrangell Medical Center or Clinic. Now we have reorganized into one office in the Stikine Native Organization building and we have one SEARHC office. This house warming party was effective in welcoming the change and in some way synthesizing the health care and health promotion branches of SEARHC services. Whether beneficiaries want to sign up for a culture camp or get their travel and appointment information, it's all located in one convenient office in the native community's building.

Image of two Wrangell dishes, Deer Stew and Berry Cup

Wrangell Deer Stew and Berry Cup made with Wrangell blue berries and Hudson Bay tea gathered in Wrangell.

Mental Health First Aid Training

SEARHC staff are partnering with the University of Alaska - Anchorage Trust Training Cooperative to provide Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training. MHFA is sponsored in the United States by the National Council for Community Behavioral Health and teaches skills that enable individuals to provide initial assistance to others who may be developing a mental health condition. The aim of MHFA includes reducing stigma associated with mental health issues and to increase the focus on Recovery in our communities.

Mark White, LPC is the Treatment Supervisor at Raven's Way and has been an MHFA instructor since 2009.  Since joining the SEARHC care team in March 2013, Mr. White has provided training to roughly 150 people in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Sitka.

Additional trainings are in the works for communities throughout Southeast, including an upcoming training at the University of Alaska-Sitka on Saturday 04-26-14.  For more information on MHFA courses please email Mark at in SEARHC Behavioral Health.

“Kick Butts Day” is March 19th

Kick Butts Day Kick Butts Day began in 1996 and is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco – this year it is on March 19, 2014. Each year on Kick Butts Day, SEARHC Tobacco Program partners with youth leaders, teachers, and other health advocates to host this event. The goals are to raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their state or community; encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free; and urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco.

This year on March 19th at Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at the Juneau Douglas High School Commons (outside gymnasium) from 11 am – 6 pm there will be a display table featuring common poisons found in cigarettes, body Bags; raffle for iTunes, and information highlighting local tobacco marketing practices that target youth. Teen radio interviews are also being scheduled on March 18, 2014 to highlight the event.

Charles Clement
Charles Clement President/CEO
3100 Channel Drive, Ste. 300
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 463-4000

Just a reminder...

March is National Nutrition Month

Every March, we at SEARHC celebrate National Nutrition Month.  The national theme this year is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.”

For ideas on how to make your meals tastier and more interesting, we suggest you: 1) check out the displays at ELMC and the Dental Building; 2) visit the “Eat Well” section SEARHC’s online magazine, Healthy Living Southeast ( for more great ideas; and 3) contact one of SEARHC’s four dietitians. In Juneau, you can contact Susan Hennon at 364-4476 or Aleene Poulsen at 463-4097.  In Sitka, you can contact Kelly Whitcomb at 966-8427 or Jessica Holland at 966-8651. Remember, healthy eating can and should be delicious, too!

Also, in Juneau, SEARHC employees are invited to participate in our annual food drive.  All proceeds will be donated to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank at the end of the month.  Donation boxes are located in the break rooms on both floors of the Ethel Lund Medical Center, the break room in the Administration Building and in the lobby of the Dental/WIC/Health Promotion & Behavioral Health Building. Thank you in advance for your generous donations.

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.

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Of cancers that affect both men and women; colorectal (colon) cancer is the #2 cause of cancer deaths in the United States. About 51,000 people die from colorectal cancer each year. Screening could have prevented 60% of these deaths.

Screening can find polyps (abnormal growths in the colon) that can be removed before they turn into cancer. Colon Cancer and polyps may not cause symptoms, so it is important that you not wait for symptoms before getting screened. It’s generally recommended that you begin screening for colorectal cancer at age 50, but your doctor may recommend that you begin screening earlier.

In order to help you through the process, the SEARHC Colorectal Cancer Screening Program has a dedicated Patient Navigator, Maria Eells. Please feel free to contact Maria at 907-966-8541 or 907-966-2411 ext 8541.

Pharmacy at Ethel Lund Medical Center opens on weekends

On Saturday, March 1st, the pharmacy at the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau expanded its hours to include weekends. The ELMC pharmacy hours now mirror the hours the clinic operates and it is open from 9:00am – 5:00pm on Saturdays and 12:00pm – 4:00pm on Sundays.

Shingles vaccine available until April 24, 2014

The State of Alaska has provided a one-time allocation of shingles vaccine (Zostavax) to Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka and Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau. Shingles vaccine is very fragile and must be maintained within strict guidelines, which makes shipping difficult to outlying communities. If you live in one of the villages and would like shingles vaccine, please contact your local clinic.

There are several things you should know about the vaccine (including how to get it of you live outside Juneau or Sitka) which we have made available at our online lifestyle magazine, Healthy Living Southeast, so please take a look at the information at your earliest convenience.

To get the vaccine you may request a nurse appointment in the MEH Outpatient Department in Sitka at 966-8318 or Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau at 463-6608.