September 07 2011Sitka residents are invited to join their neighbors in honoring our local wellness champions, planning our health priorities for the next year and attending a community health fair during the fifth annual Sitka Health Summit on Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. There are three main community events during the Sitka Health Summit — the Wellness Awards Celebration from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, the Planning Day from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and the Sitka Community Health Fair from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Thursday’s program features a celebration of our community wellness champions and a keynote presentation, “Health in the Long Run,” by Don Lehmann, MD, a family physician and sports medicine specialist from Sitka Medical Center. A selection of local and organic desserts will be provided by Sitka Spruce Catering for the first 200 people. A suggested donation of $5 per person will raise money for the Sitka Health Summit’s Health Initiatives Fund. This year, master of ceremonies Tina Johnson will present community wellness champion awards to Cindy Edwards, Brant Brantman, the Naa Kahídi Dancers, Doris Smith, Sitka Fine Arts Camp, the Sitka Mountain Rescue Team, Laura Schmidt, Richard Hagenbuch and the SEARHC S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Litehouse Cafeteria staff, Karen Parker, the Alpine Adventure Run organizers (aka the Horan family) and Paula Leonard. More details about the award winners will be announced later. Friday’s planning day allows Sitka residents to set the community’s health and wellness goals for 2011-12. Some of our past goals resulted in Sitka becoming Alaska’s first official Bicycle Friendly Community, the creation of the Sitka Farmers Market, getting local fish into local schools and painting a Choose Respect mural. This year’s top health goal projects will receive start-up funds from the Health Initiatives Fund, plus an afternoon of facilitated action planning. Participants in Friday’s planning day also will enjoy a lunch of fish tacos. On Saturday, the Alaska Health Fair, Inc., is partnering with the Sitka Health Summit to provide low-cost blood tests, health screenings and health education. There also will be a variety of local informational booths, door prizes and Sitka Spruce Catering will be selling nutritious breakfast meals. The Sitka Health Summit is brought to you by Sitka Community Hospital, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), Silver Bay Seafoods and the University of Alaska Southeast-Sitka Campus. Additional financial help and in-kind donations were provided by the Crossett Fund, the City and Borough of Sitka, Sitka Moose Lodge No. 1350, Sitka Medical Center, Sitka Sound Seafoods, Wells Fargo, White’s and Harry Race Pharmacy, Brave Heart Volunteers, Seafood Producers Cooperative, Scott Insurance Services and the State of Alaska Division of Public Health Nursing. The Sitka Health Summit’s vision is “to serve our great state as a model for community wellness by creating a healthy community where all Sitkans strive for and enjoy a high quality of life.” For more information, call Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or Alyssa Sexton at 747-0388, or go to our website at http://www.sitkahealthsummit.org/.