President’s Weekly Update for May 1

In this edition...

Alicia Roberts Medical Center honored at Alaska Rural Health Conference: The SEARHC Alicia Roberts Medical Center (ARMC) received the Outstanding Rural Health Organization award during the awards luncheon Wednesday, April 28, at the Alaska Rural Health Conference in Anchorage. This award honors a group or organization that has improved access to health services and information for rural people through innovative, comprehensive approaches. Factors considered include outreach, preventive health and education, quality and efficiency of care, and strong community support and involvement. The Outstanding Rural Health Organization Award was a recognition of the ARMC staff’s dramatic success in improving access to health care on Prince of Wales Island, their commitment to continually improving the quality of services available, and for their leadership in the development of the Frontier Extended Stay Clinic. The staff at ARMC has demonstrated extraordinary patience, professionalism, commitment and leadership in the development of health care services for the people of Prince of Wales Island. Congratulations on a job well done. SEARHC staff presents at Alaska Rural Health Conference: The Alaska Rural Health Conference, “Planning For The Decade Ahead,” took place April 28-30 in Anchorage (with pre-meeting activities on April 26-27). This conference takes place every other year and is geared toward health care policy makers, hospital and clinic leaders, health care personnel, government representatives and representatives from public and private funding agencies. The four main tracks for this year’s conference dealt with health information technology, optimizing systems, quality improvement and workforce development. SEARHC was involved in two presentations. Iva GreyWolf, the director for the Southeast Area Health Education Center (SE AHEC) at SEARHC, was part of a panel about how the Alaska AHEC program is working with rural workforce partners to improve employee training opportunities and retention. Patricia Atkinson, the Alaska Frontier Extended Stay Clinic (FESC) Consortium Director at SEARHC, moderated a panel that included SEARHC’s Dr. David Vastola, Dr. Russ Bowman, Marcia Scott and Donna Miller, among others, about how to ensure patients using the FESC program are receiving safe and high-quality care. Short-term housing facility sees jump in use: Our short-term housing facility in Sitka has seen a sharp increase in use since the start of the year. From October 2009-January 2010, we typically had about 375 bed/nights each month. In February 2010, we had 524 bed/nights for the month. In March 2010 the number was up to 630 bed/nights. Most of the increase has been driven by referrals from the Alicia Roberts Medical Center, which had 39 bed/nights in October, 38 in November, 66 in December, 61 in January, 101 in February and 212 in March, for per month increase of more than 540 percent from October to March. We also saw significant increases in our referrals from Annette Island Service Unit (Metlakatla), Ketchikan Indian Community, Ethel Lund Medical Center (Juneau) and Yakutat Community Health Center. SEARHC to be honored with Family Friendly Employer of the Year award: On Thursday, May 6, SEARHC will be honored with the Family Friendly Employer of the Year Award for 2010 representing the non-profit sector. The award will be presented during the Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon at noon Thursday at the Moose Lodge. The award program is sponsored by Partnerships for Families and Children, the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, United Way and Best Beginnings. It is designed to encourage local businesses to implement policies and procedures that support their employees’ balance of work and family life. More than 500 working families with young children received nomination forms. SEARHC was nominated for its breast-feeding policy, which allows new mothers the opportunity to breast-feed their babies when they return to work. SEARHC recognized by Community Health Aide Program Certification Board: The Community Health Aide Program Certification Board recognized SEARHC for achieving a 100-percent certification rate for its Community Health Aides/Practitioners (CHA/Ps) as of January 2010. The certification board collects statewide CHA/P and Dental Health Aide/Therapist (DHA/T) data three times a year to plan future training needs. As of the January 2010 meeting, 84 percent of CHA/Ps were certified statewide. Besides having a current 100-percent certification level, SEARHC was acknowledged for consistently having a rate of 90 percent or higher since January 2008. New regional suicide prevention task force meets April 29-30 in Sitka: A new regional Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Team met for the first time Thursday and Friday, April 29-30, at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi. The task force is sponsored by the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division and includes representatives from the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp, Petersburg Indian Association, Sitka Tribe of Alaska, Ketchikan Indian Association, Chilkoot Indian Association, the SEARHC Board of Directors, Alaska State Troopers, SEARHC Elders Council and survivors. The suicide prevention task force took a look at suicide in Southeast Alaska and discussed what we can do to raise awareness, how we can educate people that there is help available if they want it, and to let people know people do care. SEARHC presents during “State of the Sitka Economy” meeting: SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Medical Director Dr. Marty Grasmeder was part of an industry panel during the “State of the Sitka Economy” meeting Wednesday, April 28, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. This three-hour event, which was broadcast live in Sitka by KCAW-Raven Radio, was sponsored by the Sitka Economic Development Association (SEDA). Economists Eric McDowell and Dan Robinson, both of the McDowell Group, gave presentations on the overall health of Sitka’s economy, then there were industry panel discussions to discuss the economic status of health care, education, fishing, tourism and other industries. There also were two audience question and answer periods. SEARHC Behavioral Health staff meets with University of Washington focus group: The University of Washington Methamphetamine and Other Drugs focus group met with SEARHC Behavioral Health and Community Family Services staff on Friday, April 30, in Juneau. The focus group is part of a research study designed to help us learn about the current challenges with substance and illegal drug use within Southeast Alaska tribal communities, and to learn about the communities’ strengths, resources and needs around substance use/abuse prevention and interventions. The overall goal is to use this information to improve health and treatment services. This project is a collaboration between SEARHC and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI) at the University of Washington. SEARHC Behavioral Health programs meet for annual spring training: Staff from the three residential substance abuse treatment centers (Gunaanastí Bill Brady Healing Center, Déilee Hít Safe Harbor House and Yéil Jeeyáx Raven’s Way) met this past week in Sitka for their annual spring training. Topics included cultural diversity, contingency management (with Dr. Donald Calsyn of the University of Washington), TAP 21 addiction counseling competencies, community resources, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) training and emergency preparedness. Also meeting last week for annual training were regional Community Family Services staff, who gathered in Juneau for training in True Colors, opioid dependency and suicide prevention (ASIST, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). “A Lifetime of Good Health” women’s health event takes place in Hydaburg: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN/Women’s Health Program, in collaboration with the U.S. Office of Women’s Health, sponsored the women’s health event “A Lifetime of Good Health” on April 20-23 in Hydaburg. This event included a women’s health forum, with snacks, featuring guest speakers Judy Brown (a physician assistant in Hydaburg) and Susan Suarez (a WISEWOMAN women’s health educator) on Tuesday, April 20, at the temporary SEARHC Hydaburg Health Center set up at the Hydaburg Boys and Girls Club building. All day on Wednesday and Thursday, April 21-22, there was a women’s annual screening clinic at the temporary Hydaburg Health Center. At lunch on Friday, April 23, there was a 45-minute nutritional talk on “Fats, Sugars and Salt” with guest speakers June May and Susan Suarez at the ANB/ANS Hall. Women also could register for the Hydaburg Women’s Team in the upcoming Prince of Wales International Marathon on May 29. All participants in these women’s health events were entered into a drawing for prizes. SEARHC, others host Gene Tagaban performance in Haines: The SEARHC Behavioral Health Prevention program teamed up with the Chilkoot Indian Association and U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to host a free public performance by noted Tlingít storyteller Gene Tagaban on April 21 in Haines. A potluck dinner was held before the show. Gene is a nationally known traditional storyteller and actor who has performed before the Dalai Lama and other celebrities. He grew up in Juneau (his mother, Willie Tagaban, recently retired after more than 30 years working for SEARHC), but now lives in Seattle. Gene frequently tours Southeast Alaska with his “One Crazy Raven” show, and several SEARHC programs have helped him take his show out to our smaller communities as a way to promote using culture for healthy activities. Spring 2010 mobile mammogram visits start this week: Women in Haines, Kake, Skagway, Yakutat and Angoon can make appointments for this spring’s mobile mammogram van visits to their communities. The mobile mammogram van arrives in Haines on May 4-18, in Kake on May 24-27, in Skagway on June 1-4, in Yakutat on June 9-16 and in Angoon on June 21-23. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. It makes regular mammography screening services available to women who live in communities where they 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 askwh@searhc.org, or go online at www.searhc.org/womenshealth/.