President’s Update for September 27, 2013

In this edition...

SEARHC Reinvents Adult Substance Abuse Treatment

In our ongoing commitment to provide the very best care possible, including our mission to address and effectively treat those struggling with substance abuse, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is pleased to announce the opening of a new service within the Division of Behavioral Health (DBH) in Sitka.

On October 1st, the DBH is opening a new “Best Practice” addictions treatment program in Sitka that will be serving both Native and non-Native individuals in Southeast Alaska. This substance abuse treatment service will be offered at the Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOT) level of care. By doing so, SEARHC will have the capacity to dramatically increase the number of individuals who need addictions services but cannot afford the cost or time away from work and family that residential services require.

The term “Best Practice” refers to treatment interventions that are internationally recognized as effective and transformational. The new outpatient program is being built upon the Matrix model of care; an internationally renowned treatment approach that has repeatedly proven successful in restoring the lives of thousands of individuals and their families around the globe. This IOT program is licensed and recognized by the State of Alaska to provide a full array of chemical dependency services for both self referred applicants as well as those mandated by various state and local entities. It’s important to recognize that IOT services represent the highest level of care available without being residential. This equates to a minimum of 9 hours per week of treatment participation.

Additionally, SEARHC has opened these services to non-Native community members, recognizing that drug dependency affects every race, every culture and every socioeconomic setting within the local community. By doing so, SEARHC is able to continue expanding needed services while simultaneously lowering barriers for community members seeking care.

Treatment groups will be commencing immediately and applications are now currently being accepted. Please call 966-8611 today to arrange for an initial consult and to meet with one of our caring and qualified staff.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program Open House October 1st

SEARHC will be kicking off this program with an open house for the public to meet staff, view schedules and peruse the treatment topics that will be covered in the program. The open house will take place between 5:30-7:00 on October 1st in the 1st floor conference room of the Community Health Services Building adjacent to the SEARHC Totem pole located on Seward Avenue in Sitka. The public is welcome and snacks and beverages will be served.  This will be a great opportunity for you to ask questions and find resources for yourself or for someone you care about.

SEARHC Honors Health Cares about Domestic Violence Day October 9th

The SEARHC Domestic Violence Task Force would like to announce October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and October 9th as Health Cares about Domestic Violence Day. One in four women will be the victim of domestic violence at some point in her lifetime and, on average, three women are killed every day at the hands of a current or former intimate partner.

Please stop by our information table at MEH ground floor each Monday throughout October for information and resources about domestic violence prevention. Purple is the color for the month’s activities. Wear a purple ribbon to bring national awareness to the issues faced by battered women and their children. Throughout October, communities across the country will mourn those whose lives were taken by domestic violence. Celebrate the tremendous progress victim advocates have made over the years, and connect with one another for a true sense of unity to end domestic violence.

Welcome MEH's New Medical Director

I am pleased to announce the selection and appointment of Dr. Elliot Bruhl, as the new Medical Director for Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital.  This is a new position created by the recent resignation of Dr. Marty Grasmeder where he held the positions of Hospital Administrator/Medical Director.  

Dr. Bruhl will be starting in this new position on September 30.  Dr. Bruhl joined SEARHC in 1998 as a Hospitalist at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital.  Most recently he has provided leadership as the Director of Emergency Medicine Services and Critical Care services, as Co-Director of the University of Washington School of Medicine 3rd year clerkship, and the Lead Physician for the EHR implementation at MEH.  As the Medical Director of MEH, he will play an integral part in leading the medical staff and MEH organization through this challenging and yet exciting time of change here at SEARHC.

In addition, I would like to thank Dr. John Baciocco, for his work as the Assistant Medical Director while Marty Grasmeder was here.  John has agreed to continue in his role through the end of October to assist in the transition with Elliot.  The function of Assistant Medical Director will then go away and John will be joining the Primary Care group on a full time basis.

Please extend a warm thank you to Dr. John Baciocco, for all the work he has done for MEH as the Assistant Medical Director and please join me in welcoming Dr. Elliot Bruhl, as the new MEH Medical Director.

SEARHC Has New Partner for Medevac Services

SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is pleased to announce that the organization has inked an agreement with Guardian Flight to provide medical evacuation services starting October 1, 2013.

In the quest to find the most appropriate ways to best use resources as well as to provide patients with the best possible care, SEARHC has made the decision to consolidate Medevac services to a single provider, rather than utilizing multiple providers.

As SEARHC continually evaluates the services and partnerships that affect patient care as well as budgetary concerns the organization spent a great deal of time during the decision making process to ensure that our patients and their families that count on us in an emergency would receive the same standard of excellence we expect from our own staff. The decision was made that those needs could be met by teaming with Guardian Flight.

SEARHC is proud to be able to confidently offer this level of service to our patients and looks forward to a long and successful relationship with Guardian Flight.

SEARHC Community Transformation Grant awards community grants

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program awarded small grants worth a total of $83,000 to five Southeast community groups so they can implement community-based wellness initiatives that make healthy living easier.

The grants were available to not-for-profit, community-based organizations, such as school programs, coalitions, and local and tribal governments in Southeast Alaska. The community organizations are required to strengthen organizational practices in nutrition, smoke-free air or physical activity that will continue well beyond the funded period. Twenty four applications were received and five awardees were chosen.

“We are excited to work with these groups as they take long lasting steps to make healthy living easier for their local community,” said Martha Pearson, CTG Program Manager for SEARHC.

The grants were awarded to these groups (note that descriptions only summarize some of the grant activities):

Hoonah Schools ($15,000): will initiate two, new, physical activity curricula that will improve access to physical activity for students and for the general community of Hoonah. The group will also establish an ongoing wellness advisory team for the school district.

Angoon Schools ($15,000): will create a school based nutrition practice that builds on school garden and greenhouse resources. The students will complete educational units on horticulture and do the work in the garden as well. Ultimately, Angoon Schools will create a sustainable system that delivers fresh produce to the school and senior center meal programs.

Sitka Conservation Society ($20,000): will continue to strengthen the Sitka “Fish to School” initiative that currently increases access to local fish for 1,500 Sitka students. They also will expand the model in the region by completing manuals and guidance for any community working to institutionalize local foods in school meals.

The Association for the Education of Young Children ($20,000): this Juneau based group will implement a nutrition curriculum for ~600 Headstart enrolled children in Juneau, Wrangell and Haines. The curriculum has a focus on growing edible greens and vegetables and is tailored for children aged 2-5

The Southeast Island School District - SISD ($13,000): will continue to build on its successful orchard project in Coffman Cove. SISD will expand the school garden and orchard effort to three more of the remote, Prince of Wales communities: Naukati, Thorne Bay and Kasaan reaching a total of 1,000 individuals. They will also collaborate with the community of Hydaburg to share resources and garden related curricula.
For more information, contact Martha Pearson at 966-8783 or

Southeast Alaska Fish to Schools

photo of school lunchCheck out this lunch that was served to students at our Sitka Pacific High School yesterday!

On the menu: Local troll-caught coho salmon, local carrots & chard, local potatoes, local apple, AK barley biscuits, and salmonberry jam.

The SEARHC CTG program partners with Fish to Schools to make institutional changes like this happen.

We are making a difference.  Lucky for us, it is a delicious difference!



Charles Clement
Charles Clement President/CEO
3100 Channel Drive, Ste. 300
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 463-4000

Just a reminder...


SEARHC frequently brings in traveling medical specialists to hold specialty clinics at a variety of facilities. This can save the expense and inconvenience of flying to Anchorage or Seattle for services not available in Southeast. Some SEARHC medical providers make regular trips to smaller, remote clinics to provide specialty services that aren't normally available in those villages. All specialty clinics, except for medical field trips and specified dental clinics, must be referred through a SEARHC provider (no self-referrals).
If you would like to check the Specialty Clinic Schedules you can find them here on our website. They are listed under both the "Services" menu and the "Patient Information" menu. Here are the links to the Dental Clinic Field Trips, Medical Field Trips, Juneau Specialty Clinics and Sitka Specialty Clinics.

Traditional Food Guide Calendar and Tlingit Traditional Foods Poster are Available

SEARHC Traditional Foods Program recently published a Traditional Food Guide Calendar and a Tlingit Traditional foods poster. The guide and poster will be distributed to help promote harvesting and eating traditional, local foods. Go to SEARHC Traditional Foods program to view or download a copy of the guide and poster.