President’s Update for Oct. 2, 2010

In this edition...

Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Task Force meeting in Ketchikan: The Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Task Force, “1is2many,” will meet Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 6-7, at the Ketchikan Indian Community boardroom in Ketchikan. The task force is hosted by SEARHC and has a wide representation of our Southeast communities, organizations and cultural leaders. During this meeting, the task force will focus on developing a regional action plan that can be taken back to the communities that addresses suicide prevention in Southeast Alaska. We welcome all to attend and offer input where appropriate, as it takes a whole community to address this difficult subject. For more information, contact Wilbur Brown at 966-8753 or SEARHC Board meets in Juneau: The Board of Directors held its Fall quarterly meeting this last week in Juneau. The Board had a very busy week between the business meeting and several committee meetings. The Accreditation Governing Body (AGB) met on Monday. The AGB provides governance for our health care operations and quality. A special committee for an updated strategic plan met on Tuesday and Wednesday to review and begin to prioritize service delivery in the region. The Budget and Audit Committee met on Wednesday afternoon. The Board conducted its regular business meeting Thursday and Friday. Board elects officers: Elections were held as part of the Board’s meeting last week. The following positions were elected by the Board of Directors:
  • Board Chair — Victoria Demmert, Yakutat Tlingít Tribe
  • Vice Chair — Delia Commander, Skagway Traditional Council
  • Secretary — Lovey Brock, Wrangell Cooperative Association
  • Treasurer — Harriet Silva, Angoon Community Association
  • Executive Committee — Rachel Moreno, Sitka Tribe of Alaska; Veronica Dalton, Hoonah Indian Association; Jan Hill, Chilkoot Indian Association
  • Executive Committee Alternate — Jolene Edenshaw, Hydaburg Cooperative Association
  • AGB Seat A (3-year term) — Veronica Dalton, Hoonah Indian Association
  • AGB Seat D (3-year term) — Delia Commander, Skagway Traditional Council
  • AGB Alternate (1-year term) — Rachel Moreno, Sitka Tribe of Alaska
  • Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) Representative — Sue Ann Lindoff, Tlingít and Haida Indians of the City and Borough of Juneau
  • ANHB Alternate Representative — Rachel Moreno, Sitka Tribe of Alaska
  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Representative — Lincoln Bean, Organized Village of Kake
  • ANTHC Alternate Representative — Jan Hill, Chilkoot Indian Association
Board sets yearly meeting schedule: During the Fall meeting, the Board also set its meeting schedule for the next year. The following schedule was set for FY2011:
  • Winter — Jan. 17 to 21 on Prince of Wales Island
  • Spring — April 6 to 8 in Sitka
  • Summer — June 21 to 24 in Haines (travel to Skagway and Klukwan)
  • 2012 Budget — Aug. 26 in Juneau
  • Fall — Oct. 12 to 14 in Juneau
SEARHC awarded IHS grant to continue Lifestyle Balance Program: The Indian Health Service Diabetes Prevention programs awarded SEARHC $397,000 for FY2011 to use for strengthen and expand the Lifestyle Balance Program for Native adults with prediabetes or high risk for diabetes. This important nutrition and fitness-focused program supports seven staff members in Juneau, Sitka and Kake. This was a competitive grant, so SEARHC had to reapply for funding, but the award will allow us to continue the program we already started. This is a two-year grant that must be renewed each year. The 16-week program teaches people with prediabetes or high risk for diabetes simple lifestyle changes they can make that will prevent or delay their condition from becoming Type 2 diabetes. There also are after-course activities every quarter for graduates, which helps keep them on track. This is an important program for us, since the number of Natives with diabetes in our region has gone up 80 percent since 1990 and this program can help us slow down the spread of the disease. SEARHC awarded two vehicle safety grants: SEARHC Health Promotion recently received two grants to promote safety related to motor vehicles. The first grant is $59,000 for one year from the Alaska Highway Safety Office. It will support car seat distribution, education and car seat technician training throughout the consortium. The second grant is for $70,000 per year for four years from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The focus of this grant is to reduce alcohol-impaired driving and to increase child safety seat use. Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít teams up with Sitka school counselors to coordinate care to students: Clinicians from the Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít outpatient behavioral health clinic in Sitka will meet on Tuesday, Oct. 5, with counselors from the Sitka School District and Mt. Edgecumbe High School. The goal of the meeting is to start coordinating their care to shared clients, so each provider knows what the other providers are doing. Interim plan for SEARHC nutrition in Kake, Angoon, Haines and Klukwan: Due to a staffing change, people in Kake, Angoon, Haines and Klukwan who need medical nutrition counseling will have a different way to access services for the next month or two. Patients in the four listed communities — Kake, Angoon, Haines and Klukwan — will have temporary coverage through the Ethel Lund Medical Center scheduling desk at 463-4040. A telehealth nutrition appointment over the videoconference system will be set up with Juneau dietitian Lisa Fenn. Patients needing nutrition counseling also can e-mail Lisa at She will provide all medical nutrition counseling for those communities using videoconference technology. People in the four communities who need to schedule a nutrition education presentation for your school or community group should contact either Lisa Sadleir-Hart (966-8734) or Maybelle Filler (966-8739) in Sitka to make arrangements. This is a temporary while we recruit a nutrition staff member. We want to provide services to our communities until we get our new staff person in Juneau and ready to schedule regular trips to these four communities. ARMC’s Donna Jackson expands duties to include human resources: Longtime Alicia Roberts Medical Center administrative assistant Donna Jackson is adding human resources assistant to her list of job duties. Donna will be the main point of contact for human resources issues in Klawock. Donna was raised in Klawock, where she and her husband have raised their family. She started in the medical records department at ARMC 13 years ago, moving to administrative assistant a year later. Prior to joining SEARHC, Donna spent 7 1/2 years as a billing clerk/tax collector for the City of Klawock. She has taken college courses in business law, English and bookkeeping. Donna is Tlingít of the Gaanaxteidi Clan of Klukwan, and she is a member of the Heinyaa Kwáan Dance Group. At ARMC, Donna is working with local Native elders and leaders to put together a cultural orientation program to help SEARHC employees better understand and respect the Alaska Native culture and community. The first orientation will be Wednesday, Oct. 13, when Klawock elder Clara Peratrovich (a former teacher) will discuss the significance of totem poles, moieties, clans, devil’s club, local subsistence foods (when to harvest, how to prepare), and clan gatherings such as the ku eex’ or potlatch (specifics include the invitation, attire, food, are children invited, etc.). Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital operating room delays elective surgery during hospital renovations: Just a reminder that the Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital operating room will have delays for all elective surgery because of the hospital’s siding, windows and roofing renovation project. The partial closure is scheduled to run through Friday, Oct. 8, but that could change depending on how the project is going. The operating room closure is so the windows and siding in the operating room area can be replaced. We will maintain our on-call surgical team for any emergency surgeries and C-Sections that might be needed during this partial closure, but no elective surgery procedures will happen until after the windows and siding are replaced in the operating area. Also, all of the operating room’s sterile processing will be done at Sitka Community Hospital during the closure. Since all of the hospital’s windows are being replaced in this year-long hospital construction project, there could be other impacts to the inpatient rooms and our outpatient services at various times over the next few months. Save the dates for the fourth Sitka Health Summit on Oct. 4-5: The fourth annual Sitka Health Summit “Real Ideas In Action” has moved to the fall this year and takes place Oct. 4-5 at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The event opens on Monday night, Oct. 4, with the Wellness Champions Award Ceremony and Dessert Evening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. In addition to the community wellness champion awards, this year’s speaker will be Dr. Julien Naylor, an internal medicine and diabetes specialist from SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. The second day of the summit, on election Tuesday, Oct. 5, features the Planning Day: Real Ideas Into Action meeting from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. That’s when community members will discuss the health priorities for Sitka and decide what projects they want to pursue. SEARHC and Sitka Community Hospital are two of the main sponsor organizations for this event. For more information, go to or contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or SEARHC, Bartlett Regional Hospital mobile mammograms continues summer/fall schedule: The mobile mammogram van is visiting Klawock on Sept. 22-Oct. 8, followed by stops in Craig on Oct. 11-12 and Metlakatla on Oct. 14-22. The summer/fall schedule started with a visit to Hoonah on Aug. 23-27 to kick things off, Haines on Aug. 30-Sept. 13 and Skagway on Sept. 14-17. Appointment times are available from the local clinics. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. Between the spring and summer/fall seasons, the van provides about 800-900 women in nine communities with regular mammography screening services in places where the services aren’t available year round. For more information, contact your local clinic or call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program at 966-8782 in Sitka or 1-888-388-8782 (toll-free in Alaska), send an e-mail to, or go online at Regards, Roald