President’s Update for Nov. 11, 2011

In this edition...

In this edition …

SEARHC earns three-year CARF accreditation: On Tuesday, Nov. 8, SEARHC received word that it earned a three-year accreditation from CARF International (formerly known as the Commission for the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). This is the seventh three-year accreditation SEARHC has received from CARF, but it is the first one to include our Juneau Behavioral Health Clinic and the Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít outpatient behavioral health clinic in Sitka. Previously we applied just for our three residential substance abuse clinics (Yéil Jeeyáx Raven’s Way for adolescents and Gunaanastí Bill Brady Healing Center for adults/Déilee Hít Safe Harbor House for women) and our Community Family Services program, which also earned certifications this time. The accreditations are good through November 2014. Háw’aa and Gunalchéesh to our behavioral health staff who worked on the accreditation process.

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MEHS Student Health Center vaccinates for flu: On Tuesday, Nov. 8, staff from the Mt. Edgecumbe High School Student Health Center, SEARHC Community Health Care Services, Sitka Public Health nurses and other volunteer nurses vaccinated 337 out of the 396 students against influenza (85 percent). Most of those students who were not vaccinated were traveling, and they will receive their vaccinations when they return to school. The student health center staff worked with school officials to track students using class schedules to get as many vaccinated as possible.

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SEARHC honors National Radiologic Technology Week: Nov. 6-12 is National Radiologic Technology Week, and S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital celebrated with cake and punch Nov. 10 in the radiology waiting area. The annual celebration honors radiology technicians across the nation who perform x-rays, ultrasounds, electrocardiograms and other imaging tests. It commemorates the anniversary of the discovery of the x-ray by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on Nov. 8, 1895.

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State makes 20,000 free flu vaccine doses available: The State of Alaska announced it was making 20,000 free influenza vaccine doses available for use on adults ages 18-64. The adult flu vaccine is available for free to organizations or providers to give to people not yet vaccinated. Joe McLaughlin, with the state department of health, says the vaccine will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. He said organizations wishing to participate must have a licensed medical provider sign a request taking responsibility for proper storage and administration of the vaccine. The state responded to a nationwide call for free vaccine from the manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur. Dr. Janice Sheufelt, Ethel Lund Medical Center Administrator, said SEARHC plans to order some of the free doses for our patients.

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Haines Health Center nurse honored: Congratulations to SEARHC Haines Health Center nurse Julie Marie Anderson, RN, MICP, who was honored with one of the Governor’s Alaska Emergency Medical Services Awards during the Alaska Council on Emergency Medical Services symposium in Anchorage this week. The awards were presented on Saturday night, Nov. 12. Julie received the Melissa Ann Peters Memorial Award for her contributions to EMS education to the Haines Volunteer Fire Department, and her service as a valuable bridge between field and clinic EMS operations. Other Southeast winners included Dr. Leslie Wood, a former SEARHC internal medicine specialist now with the U.S. Coast Guard-Air Station Sitka who won the George H. Longenbaugh Memorial Award for her tireless advocacy for the EMS community and all first responders; Randy Churchill of Wrangell, who was honored with the EMS Educator Award for his 20 years of service as an EMS educator with the Wrangell Volunteer Fire Department, during which he created a junior firefighter program that has become a model for fire departments in other communities; and the North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department of Ketchikan (Dave Hull, Chief), which won the Outstanding Ambulance Service Award in recognition of the compassionate care it provides to patients both during and after emergency response, and for its support to the community.

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Alaska Tribal Health System Behavioral Health Forum: The Alaska Tribal Health System’s Third Annual Behavioral Health Forum met in Anchorage Nov. 7-12. This year’s theme was “Promoting Healing Within our Communities.” SEARHC Behavioral Health Community Family Services (CFS) staff Annie Trudeau, Dinah Aceveda, Ben Didrickson, Justin McDonald, and Jay Harold attended, as did Juneau Behavioral Health Clinician Gary Weglarz. Janice Hamrick instructed “Recovery, Health Wellness and Balance,” and JR Myers and Pete Ryan co-instructed “Introduction to Supervision and Introduction to Case Management Supervision.” Behavioral Health Division Director Melody Price-Yonts helped facilitate the Veterans Day tribute, which included introducing her brother, Lt. Colonel Russell Price, who spoke to the Behavioral Health Aides about his experience with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a tour to Afghanistan and how he used Tlingít culture to start his healing process. SEARHC Behavioral Health also invited guest speaker David Kanosh, who instructed BHAs how to use \"Emotional Freedom Techniques\" for PTSD. SEARHC Behavioral Health had a strong and positive presence at the forum.

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Veterans Day/Diabetes Awareness Walk in Kake: The annual Honoring our Veterans/Walk for Diabetes Awareness took place on Friday, Nov. 11, at the Kake High School parking lot. This event honors November as National Diabetes Awareness Month and Veterans Day on Nov. 11. The school joined us in our walk Friday (grades 1-12). Community Wellness Advocate Georgie Davis-Gastelum, who organized the walk, said she counted 85 students, adults and veterans at the start of the event, and about 10-15 more people joined the walk after it started. After the walk, there was an Honoring Our Veterans potluck at the Kake Community Center.

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Great American Smokeout (Nov. 17): The Great American Smokeout is Nov. 17 this year (the third Thursday of November), and the SEARHC Tobacco Program will be sponsoring a variety of events in Juneau, Klawock, Hydaburg, Kasaan and Sitka (in partnership with the Sitka Tobacco Quit Program and the Sitka School District “Kick It” Program).

  • In Sitka there will be an informational booth from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Market Center grocery store (210 Baranof St.). The Sitka event will feature a “Guess How Many Butts” competition, with various prizes being offered to the winners with the closest guesses, including a grand prize of a $100 gift certificate donated by Hames Corp. People who arrive after noon will be able to share in hot coffee and “cold turkey” sandwiches until supplies run out. Since most tobacco users start between the ages of 13 and 15, there also will be a representative available from the Sitka School District’s “Kick It” Tobacco Program from 3-6 p.m. to provide information about youth tobacco prevention and cessation.
  • In Juneau, informational booths will be set up for the week of Nov. 14-18 in the main lobbies at the SEARHC Ethel Lund Medical Center and the SEARHC Dental/Behavioral Health Clinic.
  • On Prince of Wales Island, an informational table will be set up in support of this event on Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock, at the Alma Cook Health Center in Hydaburg and at the Kasaan Health Center.

For more information about the Great American Smokeout and the SEARHC Tobacco Quit Program, please call SEARHC Tobacco Health Educator Rowena Reeves at 364-4440 in Juneau, SEARHC Tobacco Health Educator Mike DeBell at 966-8721 in Sitka, or SEARHC Tobacco Health Educator Sandra Demmert at 755-4925 on Prince of Wales Island. SEARHC patients outside Juneau, Sitka and Prince of Wales can call 1-888-966-8875 to learn about tobacco quit services. Another resource for quit support is Alaska’s Tobacco Quit Program at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, which can help all Alaskans.

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International Survivors of Suicide Day (Nov. 19): SEARHC will host events in Klawock and Sitka for the 13th Annual International Survivors of Suicide Day on Nov. 19. International Survivors of Suicide Day is a day of healing for bereavement after suicide, according to the American Foundation on Suicide Prevention, which sponsors the event. Survivors of suicide loss gather at hundreds of simultaneous healing conferences around the world every year. Survivors connect with others while they express and understand the powerful emotions experienced. SEARHC is hosting two of these healing conferences — at 9 a.m. at the SEARHC At Kaník Hít House of Information (Community Health building/Old BOQ) in Sitka (contact Sheryl McAllister, 966-8933) and at 1 p.m. at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock (contact Anna Trudeau, 755-4952). There also will be an event sponsored by the Juneau Suicide Prevention Coalition at 2 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church in Juneau (contact Christopher Cairns, 463-4251). For those people who cannot attend one of these three events, they can join a live 90-minute web event with an international audience by going to http://www.afsp.org/ and clicking on the icon for the International Survivors of Suicide Day.

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Community healing circle in Sitka: The SEARHC Behavioral Health Division will host a community healing circle at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19, in the first-floor conference room at the SEARHC At Kaník Hít House of Information (Community Health building/Old BOQ), 1212 Seward Avenue (behind the totem pole). Everyone is welcome to attend. Are you feeling tired, stressed out or anxious? Then join us at the talking circle, where people can share personal feelings, thoughts and beliefs in a confidential, relaxing setting. For more information, contact Harry Bradley of the SEARHC Gunaanastí Bill Brady Healing Center in Sitka at 966-8655 or SEARHC Behavioral Health Division Director Melody Price-Yonts at 966-8776.

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Regards, Roald