President’s Update for Sept. 17, 2011

In this edition...

In this edition …

Craig Tribal Association annual meeting: SEARHC joined the Craig Tribal Association (CTA) for its annual membership meeting at the CTA Hall last Saturday, Sept. 10. During the meeting, Sam Thomas, president, announced a name change for the Tribe from the Craig Community Association to Craig Tribal Association. CTA Council members presented their achievements over the last year including the identification of hall improvements as well as historical, sacred and culture enhancement projects. Several social service, health, and business programs provided updates to the CTA membership during the meeting. SEARHC gave an update on health delivery on Prince of Wales Island including medical, behavioral health, dental, health promotion services, as well as patient advocacy. We shared the current efforts at improving medication delivery, a permanent optometry clinic on the island, improved support for referrals and chronic disease management, housing at the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) and cancer screening through the upcoming colonoscopy clinic. Other organizations provided updates to the membership. Several programs provided through the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) provided updates led by Ed Thomas including economic development, higher education, and Tribal and youth services. Richard Peterson and Bill Cole gave a presentation on the POW Tribal Enterprise Consortium (POWTEC).

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SEARHC Sitka Campus honored with Bicycle Friendly Business award: The League of American Bicyclists announced on Thursday, Sept. 15, that the SEARHC Sitka Campus has earned a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Business award. Out of 111 new BFB awards presented across the nation during Fall 2011, we were the only business in Alaska to win. We join six businesses in Anchorage that have earned BFB awards over the past two years — the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (gold), Southcentral Foundation (silver), Providence Alaska Medical Center (bronze), Green Star Inc. (bronze), REI Anchorage (bronze) and Alaska Pacific University (honorable mention). The BFB awards are part of the LAB’s Bicycle Friendly America campaign, which honors states, communities and universities (Sitka, Juneau and Anchorage are the Bicycle Friendly Communities in Alaska, all at the bronze level). To earn a BFB award, which lasts for two years, businesses have to demonstrate they are bike-friendly for employees and customers. We submitted an extensive application that includes listing programs that encourage people to ride, describing your bike access and facilities for bike commuters, benefits for cyclists, mentorship programs, etc. Our Employee Wellness Team, Health Promotion and Injury Prevention programs provide a lot of encouragement for riders, we have a high percentage of employees who bike commute and we now have a Bike Users Group that regularly meets to plan ways to make it more friendly to bike to SEARHC. On Tuesday, Sept. 13, the Employee Wellness Team launched its new Bicycle Ambassadors program that will provide mentors and role models for other employees interested in bike commuting. To learn more, go to http://www.bikeleague.org/businesses/.

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Sitka, Juneau host recovery walks on Sept. 10: SEARHC Behavioral Health hosted two recovery walks on Saturday, Sept. 10, one in Sitka and one in Juneau. The Sitka walk met at Crescent Harbor and people joined a public recovery parade to Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi. Events at the community house included a performance by the Hashagoon Drummers, an explanation of National Recovery Month accompanied by local individuals giving their stories of recovery and hope, a supper including king salmon chowder, fresh vegetables and fruit, and an art contest with numerous prizes for three age groups. The art contest centered on recovery and how recovery impacts the entire community. There was recognition of community leaders who have contributed to this community’s recovery activities. SEARHC employee David Johnson sang an original rap song he composed about recovery. Gunanaastí-Bill Brady Healing Center/Déilee Hít-Safe Harbor House counselor/artist Robert Hoffman designed this year’s “voices of recovery” t-shirts and read some of his poetry. It was very moving. Special recognition goes to Harry Bradley, Stewart Pook and Robert Hoffman for organizing our Sitka event. In Juneau, we had at least 10 people show for the walk from Marine Park downtown to Sandy Beach in Douglas. The group included some Juneau Youth Services girls and also retired Juneau Judge Peter Froehlich. We had about 20 people at Sandy Beach for the picnic and drumming. Most likely there will be a better turn out next year. The weather was beautiful. Thanks to Toni Weber for organizing the Juneau event.

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Sept. 11-17 is National Healthcare Environmental Services and Housekeeping Week: National Healthcare Environmental Services and Housekeeping Week is Sept. 11-17 this year, and it is a time to recognize the valuable contributions of environmental services and housekeeping departments. This is a national event hosted by the Association of Healthcare Environment (AHE) of the American Hospital Association. It honors all of our workers involved in creating a clean, safe health care environment for our patients and employees, from mechanics who repair our heaters and lights to maintenance staff that plows snow or our housekeepers who clean our facilities so we can prevent the spread of disease and bacteria. We will be having an Environmental Services staff dinner Saturday evening at the S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Litehouse Cafeteria for all staff and families. Recognition pins will be awarded to Environmental Services employees from throughout the consortium. Let’s express our appreciation to these individuals when you see them this week.

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Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít offers new therapy groups: The Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít outpatient behavioral health clinic in Sitka has three different therapy groups currently available for referrals at this time. There is a weekly coping skills group for adults who struggle with mental health disorders, including: mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse issues, and relationship conflict. The coping skills group meets from 10-11:30 a.m. on Mondays. The group is open-ended and people can join at any time. Additionally, we are running a weekly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) therapy group for veterans. This group is beneficial for veterans who are experiencing negative symptoms from their service to the American people which may include hypervigilant behavior, flashbacks, nightmares, excessive fears/concerns, anxiety, stress, anger, and depression. The PTSD group will set meeting times based on client schedules. We also are running a weekly interpersonal therapy group, which benefits clients struggling with concerns that are relationship-oriented, such as anxiety, depression, marital/partner conflict, family stress, addictions, social interaction, work conflict, etc. The interpersonal therapy group meets from 4:30-6 p.m. on Wednesdays. Please send referrals to Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít indicating the type of group the individual is interested in attending, with their name and contact information, as well as the contact information of the person referring the individual. We will then set up a half-hour group-screening meeting with the individual and the group leader to discuss the group experience and answer any questions regarding the group. Please contact Dr. RD Boardman at 966-8611 if you have any further questions regarding our group therapy program at SEARHC-Sitka Campus.

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Fall mobile mammogram schedule continues: The Fall 2011 schedule for the mobile mammogram van program continues this week with a visit to Klawock on Sept. 20-30 and again on Oct. 5-11. The van also is scheduled to visit Craig on Oct. 3-4 and Metlakatla on Oct. 13-21. Earlier this season it visited Hoonah, Haines and Skagway. The mobile mammogram van program is operated as a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. Women are encouraged to contact their local clinics before the scheduled visit because they will need to have had a clinical breast exam before they can get their mammograms. The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program provides free clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap tests and cardiovascular screenings for all women ages 40 and older who meet income and insurance guidelines. For more information, contact your local clinic, call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program in Sitka at 966-8782 (or 1-888-388-8782, toll-free in Alaska), or send e-mail to askwh@searhc.org. For more information about services available through the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program, go to http://www.searhc.org/womenshealth/.

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Regards, Roald Helgesen