President’s Update for Oct. 15, 2011

In this edition...

In this edition …

Gassman joins S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital: The SEARHC Hospital Services Division recently hired Alicia “Lisa” Gassman as the professional services administrator for S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. Born and raised in Sitka, Lisa is a member of the Teikweidi clan from the Xóots Valley Hít originating out of Angoon. Lisa left Sitka to complete her undergraduate work at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree. She then completed her graduate studies at the University of Washington Law School where she obtained her Juris Doctorate degree and was licensed as an attorney in the State of Washington. Lisa worked the past 12 years for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, her first year as the law and trust director and the past 11 years as the general manager and self-governance coordinator. She will oversee six departments at the hospital — dietary, medical nutrition services, pharmacy, physical therapy, respiratory therapy and social services. Lisa and her husband are happy to be living in the community where they both grew up and being able to raise their daughter, Emma, in such a great place where she is surrounded by her cousins, grandparents and other family members. Lisa enjoys spending time with her family, challenging herself by learning new things and traveling. “Lisa will be a great addition to our management team,” said Dr. Marty Grasmeder, S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Administrator/Medical Director. “She brings with her a wealth of knowledge, talent and experience.”

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Alicia Roberts Medical Center hosts colonoscopy team from Sitka: Colonoscopies were performed Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center (ARMC) as part of a new service Prince of Wales Island patients. General surgeon Dr. Bob Crochelt and his team of five (including anesthesia) from S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital arrived in Klawock on Wednesday morning and stayed through the day. Only two colonoscopies were planned to make sure the set-up at ARMC was adequate for the procedures. Both colonoscopies went very well and both patients indicated that they were very happy with the procedure and the staff. Since having a colonoscopy requires a two-day prep and laxatives, traveling for the procedure is very unpleasant. Doing colonoscopies at ARMC allows patients to prepare for the procedure in their own home, without the need to travel to and from Sitka. Our plan is to have the colonoscopy team travel to Klawock about once a month to provide this service. Colorectal cancer is the most common type of cancer in Alaska Natives, and it is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for Alaska Natives (behind lung cancer). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believes as many as 60 percent of colorectal cancer deaths can be prevented through routine screening of men and women age 50 and older. This new service on POW will help eliminate a barrier to screening.

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SEARHC honors National Physical Therapy Month in October: National Physical Therapy Month is a celebration held every October by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The month-long celebration raises awareness and recognizes the important roles that physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and physical therapy aides play in helping people maintain, improve, and restore the mobility necessary to stay fit, active, and independent. This year’s focus for National Physical Therapy Month is sports injury prevention across the lifespan. Whether it’s Little League or in the Masters, participating in sports helps promote physically active lifestyles. Despite the documented health benefits of physical activity (weight management, cardiovascular endurance, improved muscular function, increased self-esteem, etc.), we know the potential for sports-related injuries exists. Participating in sports the right way is key to avoiding injuries that can sideline you for a significant amount of time. Please visit http://www.MoveForwardPT.com/ to learn about the physical therapist’s role in sports injury prevention. No matter the area of physical therapist practice, whether it’s geriatrics, pediatrics, orthopedics, women’s health or another specialty, the role of the physical therapist is to improve and restore motion to people’s lives. To learn more about the physical therapy profession, please visit http://www.apta.org/.

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SEARHC honors National Hospital and Health-System Pharmacy Week: In recognition of National Hospital and Health-System Pharmacy Week on Oct. 16-22 and National Pharmacy Month in October, the S’áxt’ Hít Mount Edgecumbe Hospital (MEH) Pharmacy staff will host several events from Oct. 17-Nov. 4. Each day from Oct. 17-21, there will be questions of the day distributed via email to staff and posted in the pharmacy waiting area for patients. Answer the questions correctly and your name will be entered in a drawing for a prize. From noon to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21, there will be an open house at the S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital (MEH) Pharmacy waiting area. Please come to meet your MEH pharmacists and staff. Finally, from Oct. 24-28 and Oct. 31-Nov. 4, the MEH pharmacists are offering “brown bag” counseling services for anyone who wants to bring in all of their medications and have a pharmacy consultation about them. Please join us in focusing the spotlight on Pharmacy Services at SEARHC. We have pharmacist-staffed pharmacies at MEH, the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau and the Haines Health Center. We have telepharmacy services for our Prince of Wales Island patients, where a pharmacist based in Sitka works with a pharmacy tech at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center to distribute medication. Our other communities receive pharmacy-by-mail services provided by our pharmacy staff in Sitka. For more information, please contact Lisa Gassman, MEH Professional Services Administrator at 966-8377.

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National Red Ribbon Week: The SEARHC Behavioral Health Prevention Program is joining with partners in several Southeast Alaska communities to help sponsor National Red Ribbon Week events on Oct. 22-30. National Red Ribbon Week is a celebration where people and communities unite and take a visible stand against substance abuse. During the week, people wear red ribbons and participate in local projects to show their commitment to a drug-free lifestyle. SEARHC Behavioral Health Prevention Program staff members are working with local schools, churches, youth groups, tribes and other organizations to host a variety of local projects during the week. Each community will host its own local events, but some communities still are working out the details of what they will sponsor. You can see a list of events in Klukwan, Haines, Sitka and Kake (Kake is hosting its events a week early) at this link, http://www.searhc.org/common/pages/pressreleases/detail.php?id=237. If you don’t see your community’s plans, watch for more information from your school and/or SEARHC, or use the information at http://www.redribboncoalition.com/ to plan your own community events.

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Free health screenings in Juneau and Angoon: SEARHC Health Promotion is hosting free health screenings for adults age 18 and older on Wednesday, Oct. 26, in Juneau, and on Thursday, Nov. 3, in Angoon. The free health screenings in Juneau will take place from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3-6 p.m. on Oct. 26 at the Tlingít and Haida Regional Housing Authority located at 5446 Jenkins Dr. (about three blocks from Costco). The free health screenings take place from 8 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. and 2:20-6 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the Jessie Norma Jim Health Center in Angoon. Participants are encouraged to schedule 20-minute appointments for their health screenings, but they can be seen as walk-in patients (be aware there may be a wait). The biometric health screenings involve a simple blood test that gives people their non-fasting blood glucose, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and blood pressure results. Health professionals will be available to discuss screening results with patients. While the biometric health screenings don't replace a person's annual visit to their medical provider, the screening results can let people know if they are at risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or stroke. For more information or to make an appointment for your health screening, contact SEARHC Health Educator Melanie McGrath in Juneau at 364-4454 or SEARHC Clinic Administrative Assistant Debbie Jim in Angoon at 788-4600.

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Regards, Roald