All SEARHC health care providers are licensed to practice in Alaska by either the State Medical Board, the Board of Dental Examiners, the Alaska Commission for Behavioral Health Certification, or the Alaska Board of Nursing. Besides this state licensing, many of our providers have additional board certification that is listed in their individual profiles.
American Board of Radiology
Dr. Peters earned his medical degree and a Bachelor of Science in medical studies from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. He completed a residency in radiology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Oklahoma City. During his undergraduate studies, Dr. Peters earned an Associate of Science degree in nuclear medical technology from the University of Nebraska in Omaha, and he took undergraduate classes in the zoology and microbiology majors at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. After earning his medical degree and completing his residency, Dr. Peters spent three years as a U.S. Air Force radiologist at Scott Air Force Base in Scott, Ill., He then spent 23 years as a radiologist with Casper Medical Imaging/Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, Wyo., before moving to Sitka
Dr. Peters is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society.
Dr. Peters is interested in general diagnostic radiology. He also enjoys photography, running, hiking, hunting and history (especially the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln).
Obstetrics & Gynecology
American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Dr. Smith earned her Medical Doctorate degree from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, and she completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (now known as the Drexel University College of Medicine). She completed her undergraduate coursework at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. Before moving to Sitka, Dr. Smith spent 13 years in private practice and worked at PeaceHealth Ketchikan General Hospital in Ketchikan, and she spent three years with Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins, W.V.
Dr. Smith is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha honor medical society.
Dr. Smith's medical interests include quality women's health and her surgical interests include minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery and endometrial ablations. She also enjoys hiking, gardening and cooking.
Dr. Smith earned her Doctor of Dental Science degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She also completed a two-year residency at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. in Bethel through Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. She also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Texas in Austin. Dr. Smith holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Officer Corps, and she spent five years at YKHC in Bethel before moving to Sitka to work for SEARHC.
Dr. Smith was awarded the Indian Health Service's Excellence in Clinical Dentistry Award in 2005 and she has won several other U.S. Public Health Service awards.
Dr. Smith has medical interests in TMJ (temporomadibular joint) issues, complex medically compromised patients, complex restorative dentistry and pediatrics. She also enjoys hiking, fishing and enjoying her two young sons.
Behavioral Health, Clinician
State of Alaska (LPC), Alaska Commission for Behavioral Health Certification (CDC-2)
Parcae earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., and she earned a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling (MMHC) from Walden University. She holds Licensed Professional Counselor and Chemical Dependency Counselor 2 credentials from the State of Alaska.
Parcae is a member of the Walden Chapter of Psi Chi, an international honor society in psychology.
Parcae enjoys spending time outdoors. Parcae works as a behavioral health clinician at the Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít outpatient behavioral health clinic in Sitka. Before that, she worked as a behavioral health clinician with the SEARHC Yéil Jeeyáx Raven’s Way adolescent substance abuse treatment program.
Diplomate status with the American Board of Optometry and Fellow with the American Academy of Optometry.
Dr. Steffes earned a Doctor of Optometry degree from the Pacific University College of Optometry in Forest Grove, Ore., and completed internships at Teplick Laser Center in Portland, Ore., and The Children's Eye Doctors in Redmond, Wash.
Dr. Steffes received the 2008 Caplan Award at the Biennial Indian Health Service Optometrist meeting. The award is recognition of "exemplary service and programmatic contributions" to the Public Health Service Optometry Program.
Dr. Steffes provides a full range of eye care services to patients of all ages, including diabetic eye exams, contact lens services, refractive surgery co-management and pediatric eye exams.
Behavioral Health, Clinician
Debra has a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling degree from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and a Bachelor of Behavioral Science from Southern Adventist University of Collegedale, Tenn. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in Florida and an Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Alaska. She also is a certified supervisor in Florida and a certified hypnotist. Before moving to Alaska to work at the SEARHC Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít outpatient behavioral health clinic in Sitka, Debra spent 20 years in private practice in Orlando, Fla., was a clinical supervisor of a sexual trauma center, and she developed a trauma training center in refugee camps in the Middle East.
Debra's specialties are trauma, couples counseling and dissociative disorders. Her medical interests include brain psychology, the effect of trauma and dissociative disorders. She enjoys traveling, new experiences, riding her motorcycle, swimming with manatees and spending time with her family.
National Commission on the Certification of Physician Assistants
Gail attended MEDEX Northwest, the University of Washington School of Medicine's Physician Assistant Program. Gail was a Community Health Aide/Practitioner in Angoon before she earned her physician assistant certification. After earning her physician assistant certification, Gail returned to Angoon as a midlevel provider. In 2006 she moved to the SEARHC Front Street Clinic to work with Juneau's homeless population, and in 2011 Gail moved to Sitka to take a job as an instructor at SEARHC's Community Health Aide Training Center.
Gail was awarded the 2004 Barbara Gunter-Flynn Underserved Award, which honors students from MEDEX Northwest's Spokane or Yakima satellite training sites who demonstrate a commitment to improving access to health care, public awareness of the profession and a commitment to the needs of the medically underserved. She received the 1999 Southeast Region EMS Clinical Provider of the Year Award for her volunteer service and clinical care while working as a CHP in Angoon. She was awarded a 2007 National Health Service Corps Certificate in appreciation for her service to America's underserved communities as a member of the NHSC. She also shared in a 2005 National Director's Award from the Indian Health Service for her work on the committee that rewrote the Alaska Community Health Aide Manual.
Gail is interested in providing health care to underserved populations, with an emphasis in healthy lifestyle education and preventive medicine.
Behavioral Health, Psychiatry
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (also serves as an examiner in general psychiatry for this organization).
Dr. Thorward earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Texas in Austin. Dr. Thorward completed an internship at Providence Hospital in Seattle and a psychiatric residency at Northwestern University in Chicago. In his more than 30 years as a psychiatrist and health care administrator, Dr. Thorward has served as a unit director of San Antonio State Hospital in Texas; director of outpatient and short-term services for Harding Hospital in Columbus, Ohio; chief of behavioral health at Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, Wash.; president and CEO of Harding Hospital; administrative director for the Ohio State University-Harding Hospital after the hospital's merger with the university; a psychiatrist for the Ohio Department of Mental Health; and a member of the Board of Trustees for OSU-Harding Hospital.
In 2008, Dr. Thorward received the Exemplerary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI). He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, and a three-time winner of the Outstanding Faculty award from The Ohio State University.
Dr. Thorward's medical interests are community health systems, advocacy for mental health and health care financing. His personal interests include the Seventh Day Adventist Church, photography, hiking, theater and fishing.
American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Vastola earned a medical degree from and completed a residency at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Vastola was hired by SEARHC as a pediatrician at S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in 1988, and in 1994 he became medical director for SEARHC Community Health Services, where he supervised medical services provided by SEARHC’s rural clinics. In 2012, Dr. Vastola returned to providing pediatric services at the hospital in Sitka.
Dr. Vastola received the 2011 Sockeye Award from the Alaska Primary Care Association for his work increasing access to primary health care in rural Southeast Alaska.
Dr. Vastola enjoys adolescent medicine and developmental pediatrics.
American Board of Radiology.
Dr. Walker earned his medical degree from Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, Calif., and did his internship and residency at Loma Linda Medical Center. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Union College (Lincoln, Neb.). Dr. Walker was in private radiology practice in Casper, Wyo., for 25 years before coming to Sitka.
Dr. Walker is interested in all areas of diagnostic radiology. He also enjoys travel, hunting, fishing and gardening.