President’s Update for May 25, 2012

In this edition...

In this edition …

CDC re-funds SEARHC Breast and Cervical Program for five more years: I am very pleased to report that we received notice late Friday, May 25, of multi-year re-funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on our Breast and Cervical Health Program (aka Women’s Health Grant/BCCEDP). We have been awarded level funding at $670,000 per year. The SEARHC Breast and Cervical Health Program (BCHP) is a health-screening program for Alaska women. We remove financial barriers that prevent many women from being screened for cancer. For those women who do not have adequate resources to cover the cost of their breast and cervical cancer screenings, the program pays for annual mammograms, clinical breast exams, pelvic exams, and Pap tests, as well as repeat mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, and colposcopies. The program also provides for case management of all abnormal screening results, tracking and recall for follow-ups and screening exams due. Increasing public awareness about preventing cancer and the current recommendations for cancer screening is another important program focus. SEARHC has received continuous funding from the CDC for the Breast and Cervical Health Program since 1997. This is a great testament to our staff’s commitment to patient care and to SEARHC’s ongoing support for the programming.

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SEARHC honors World No Tobacco Day on Thursday, May 31: The SEARHC Tobacco Program is encouraging people not to use tobacco on May 31, which is the World Health Organization (WHO) World No Tobacco Day. World No Tobacco Day is intended to draw global attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use, and to its negative health effects. This year’s theme is tobacco industry interference. The campaign will focus on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry’s brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) because of the serious danger tobacco poses to public health. The SEARHC Tobacco Program will honor WHO World No Tobacco Day, and join other groups to honor the day, May 31, by hosting these events:

  • In Sitka, the SEARHC Tobacco Program will host an informational booth about tobacco’s impact on health from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sea Mart Quality Foods grocery store, as well as posting informational displays at SEARHC S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital and Sitka Community Hospital. The SEARHC Tobacco Program also will join with the Sitka School District’s “Kick It” Tobacco Program to host a free screening of the documentary “Addiction Incorporated” at 7 p.m. at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi. Free popcorn will be available, and there will be open discussion time after the show.
  • In Juneau, the SEARHC Tobacco Program will have informational displays in the lobbies of the SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center and the SEARHC Dental/Behavioral Health Building.
  • On Prince of Wales Island, the SEARHC Tobacco Program will host informational displays at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock, the Kasaan Health Center, and the Craig Library.

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Juneau hosts Every Mile Is Worth It fun run/walk for suicide prevention awareness: SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program will host second annual “Every Mile Is Worth It” fun run/walk for suicide awareness and prevention at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 2, on the Treadwell Trails in Douglas. Race day registration starts at 9 a.m. at the Sandy Beach shelters, and the fun run starts at 9:30 a.m. There will be a five-kilometer (3.1-mile) maze-style course for the runners, and a one-mile walk. This is a Southeast Road Runners event, and registration forms are available at http://www.southeastroadrunners.org/race-calendar.html. The entry fee is $10 for adults (preregistration) and $12 day of race, and the race fee will be waived for all youth age 18-younger. This event is a fundraiser for the Southeast Alaska Youth Ambassadors program that will launch in October 2012. One high school student from each Southeast community will be part of the Youth Ambassadors, who will work with their fellow students and their communities to promote positive activities and provide awareness of suicide prevention. SEARHC is collaborating with the NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness-Juneau), Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition, Slow Food Southeast Alaska, Full Circle Farm, the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) Environmental Youth Leadership Team and Justin Powell of Inner Chi Massage Therapy to host this event. For more information about the race, contact Megan Gregory at 463-6645 or megan.gregory@searhc.org.

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SEARHC, ANTHC offer safeTALK suicide prevention training in Juneau: The SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) will host a safeTALK suicide intervention training on June 4-5 at the Vocational Training and Resource Center, 3239 Hospital Dr., in Juneau. The safeTALK training is free, and participants can choose one of two sessions from 1-5 p.m. on Monday, June 4, or from 1-5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5. There is a maximum class size of 25 people, and the trainer will be Barbara Franks of ANTHC. SafeTALK is a suicide intervention protocol developed by the Canadian organization, LivingWorks. (The “safe” in safeTALK stands for Suicide Alertness For Everyone, while the “TALK” is Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe.) SafeTALK is designed to help people be in direct contact with someone who is in a crisis, and to connect the at-risk person to suicide first aid resources. For more information about the safeTALK course, contact Barbara Franks at bjfranks@anthc.org or 1-907-729-3751 (1-907-729-3652, fax). For info about safeTALK, go to http://www.livingworks.net/page/safeTALK.

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SEARHC Lifestyle Balance Program ranks in top seven programs for recruiting: The SEARHC Lifestyle Balance diabetes prevention program recently found out that it ranked seventh out of the 35 grant programs around the country for meeting its enrollment goals. According to the grant coordination center at the University of Colorado Denver, the SEARHC Lifestyle Balance Program had an enrollment figure of 64.7 percent last quarter for its target goal of 48 new participants per year. Other programs had enrollment figures that ranged from 14.6 percent to 88.3 percent of their targets. The program recruits people who are diagnosed with prediabetes or have had at least one fasting glycemic measurement that has fallen within the prediabetes range. Participants enroll in a 16-week program of classes that teach them healthier lifestyles so they prevent or delay their progression from prediabetes to Type 2 diabetes. SEARHC staff regularly follows up with participants to provide healthy lifestyle activities. The SEARHC Lifestyle Balance program launched in Juneau and Sitka in early 2006, and Kake was added to the program in May 2009. For information about the program, contact Kathryn Dennis in Juneau at 364-4453 (next class starts about Aug. 1), Heleena vanVeen in Sitka at 966-8914 (next class starts in late August or early September), or Georgie Davis Gastelum in Kake at 785-6516.

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Just a reminder …

SEARHC patient advocates serve as customer liaisons: SEARHC has three patient advocate positions in Southeast Alaska — Bryan Whitson (Sitka), Cyndi Reeves (POW), and our Juneau position is temporarily vacant — who serve as customer service liaisons between patients and SEARHC, and help patients navigate their way through SEARHC’s health system. In addition, the Alaska Native Medical Center provides Anchorage-based patient advocates who serve patients from around the state receiving care at the Alaska Native Medical Center. Patients living in Sitka, Angoon, Kake, Pelican, Tenakee Springs, Yakutat, Petersburg and Wrangell should contact Bryan Whitson at 966-8860. Patients in Klawock, Craig, Hydaburg, Kasaan, Thorne Bay and other POW communities should contact Cyndi Reeves at 755-4983 (965-0040, cell). Since our Juneau position is vacant, patients in Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Klukwan and Hoonah should contact Cyndi until we can hire a new Juneau patient advocate (use Cyndi’s numbers above or the Juneau patient advocate’s number of 463-6656, which will be routed to Cyndi). Patients traveling to Anchorage for care should contact the ANMC patient advocates at 729-3990.

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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.

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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).

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Charles Clement SEARHC President/CEO