President’s Update for March 22, 2013

In this edition...

"Wise Elders Living Longer”

"Wise Elders Living Longer” is a health promotion program that provides community support for Native elders with diabetes, arthritis and hypertension, as well as helping elders reduce their risk of falling. It’s an 8-week course used nationally and designed by the National Resource Center on Native American Aging. The classes in Kake will be held Mondays and Wednesdays at 1:15 p.m. at the Senior Center and is being offered by SEARHC Health Promotion. Everyone is welcome, even if they took it before. If you have any questions, call Georgie at 785-6516.


April brings another anniversary

April brings another anniversary of SEARHC’s tobacco free campus policy-8 years!  In April 2004 the Community Health Service building and all of the outlying SEARHC clinics went tobacco free.  In April 2005 all of SEARHC campuses followed suite and went tobacco free.  SEARHC is proud that we were the first Native Health Consortium to move in this direction.  A lot of progress has been made over the years … some of you may remember when smoking was allowed in the hospital!  Then a smoking shelter was set up right in front of the hospital.  Now for eight years we have been working to best walk our talk for promoting health- tobacco free.  We all need to take a role in promoting this policy.  Politely inform patients/visitors smoking on campus of this policy.  Employees are responsible for going off campus to use tobacco and are strongly encouraged to quit tobacco through our SEARHC Tobacco Quit Program.  Tobacco use has had a devastating impact on the health and lives of Alaska Native people and all people of this region, state and nation.  Let’s take this anniversary to recommit to our tobacco free campus policy.


Diabetes Alert Day is Tues March 26

DIABETES is a serious disease that strikes many people and sometimes they do not even know they have it. Others have PREDIABETES, which puts them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. EARLY DIAGNOSIS is critical to successful treatment and delaying or preventing some of its complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke, amputation and death. Take the Diabetes Risk Test (ADA weblink http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/diabetes-risk-test/), as well as share test with EVERYONE you care about - friends, family members and colleagues. Here are some tips to reduce your risk for heart disease and DIABETES: Maintain a HEALTHY weight, Make HEALTHY food choices, Stay HEALTHY and be active, Quit smoking and be HEALTHY, Ask your HEALTH provider about your ABC Numbers (A1C, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol).

Charles Clement

Just a reminder...


March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month

As part of our efforts to provide more regional public education around colorectal cancer (CRC) screening and prevention, the SEARHC Colorectal Health Program recently purchased their own traveling colon health display. “Minnie Colon” is a 4’ x 6’ inflatable, cross-sectional colon display – not as large as “Nolan the Super Colon,” and easier to transport and set up for community events. Minnie travels with educational materials and information about CRC screening at SEARHC. Please contact Clara Gray at 966-8936 for more information about scheduling Minnie for your program or community group.


Applications are available for the SEARHC Summer Internship Program

The SEARHC Summer Internship Program provides opportunities for six Native students who are studying at the high school, bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree/clinical level. The program allows participants to explore career options in health care, and the interns receive valuable on-the-job training in their health care career of interest and a minimal hourly stipend. At the end of the program, interns will receive a performance evaluation with valuable feedback from their mentor(s). Students must be enrolled tribal members or descendants as certified through a Certificate of Indian Blood (CIB) and currently be enrolled full-time in high school, college or vocational school with a minimum GPA of 2.5. To apply, students must complete a SEARHC Summer Internship Application, a SEARHC job application, provide two letters of recommendation (from teachers, counselors, employers, tribal leaders, etc.), a copy of the student’s current resume and a copy of the student’s current college transcripts.

The application deadline is Friday, May 10 (the application must be received or postmarked by this date), and the final selection of interns takes place on May 17. The internship program runs from June through September 2013. Completed applications may be mailed to Jessika Beam (966-8903) at SEARHC, c/o Human Resources Department, 222 Tongass Drive, Sitka, AK 99835. Applications also can be faxed to 966-8527, or scanned and e-mailed to jessika.beam@searhc.org. Because space is limited, interested students should apply early. Application packets are available at Southeast Alaska high school offices, through local tribal organizations or by going to http://searhc.org/students/summer-internships.


2013 Ethel Lund Village Health Occupations Program (VHOP) is gearing up

Each year, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) selects several Southeast-area Native students interested in health careers for VHOP, and the students spend a week at S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka learning about different health careers and educational opportunities. The health field is growing, which means plenty of job opportunities for people with the right training. Health careers usually offer good pay and employee benefits, as well as the satisfaction of helping others. The experience enables students to evaluate their own strengths and decide which jobs might best suit them. This year's VHOP session is scheduled for April 22-27. Students selected to participate in VHOP receive assistance to cover the travel costs to and from Sitka, housing, meals and some evening entertainment. The application deadline is Friday, March 29. Completed applications may be mailed to Jessika Beam, SEARHC Tribal Recruitment Coordinator, c/o Human Resources Department, 222 Tongass Drive, Sitka, AK 99835. Applications also can be faxed to 907-966-8527, or scanned and e-mailed to jessika.beam@searhc.org. Because space is limited, interested students should apply early. Application packets are available at high school offices, at local village corporations or by going to http://searhc.org/students/high-school-programs-vhop. For additional information, contact Jessika Beam at 907-966-8903 or by e-mail at jessika.beam@searhc.org


SEARHC hosts 24/7 crisis help line, toll-free at 1-877-294-0074:

A personal or family crisis doesn't always happen during clinic hours, so the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division has contracted with a crisis call center to provide help for Southeast Alaska residents when they need it most. The SEARHC Help Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it will be staffed with a team of master's-degree-level mental health therapists who will listen and provide effective, compassionate care. This line provides confidential telephone counseling for people during a time of mental health crisis, and it is not just an answering service. The counselors will assess the situation and provide appropriate intervention using protocols developed with SEARHC Behavioral Health. Follow-up calls from SEARHC Behavioral Health or our partner agencies will be made the next business day. For more information, contact SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program Manager Wilbur Brown at 966-8753.


SEARHC provides 24/7 on-call travel coordinators for patients traveling for care:

SEARHC has a 24/7 on-call travel coordinator to assist patients needing after-hours help while traveling for a medical appointment. The on-call staff person helps patients find new connections when a plane is diverted by weather, or assists with late-night housing. For assistance, call 1-800-916-8566 (toll-free in Alaska) or 1-907-966-8345 in Sitka, and then follow the prompts. To help us better help you, please call as soon as you know your travel schedule has been changed. For patients needing assistance from the Community Resources Program (contract health), such as emergency health care while traveling, call 1-866-966-8316 (toll-free).