President’s Update for April 24, 2010

In this edition...

Injury Prevention distributes car seats, smoke detectors: During the first two quarters of the fiscal year (October 2009-September 2010), the SEARHC Injury Prevention program distributed 58 car seats to Native families in Juneau, 14 car seats to families in Sitka, 12 car seats in Hoonah and 12 car seats in Klawock. Yavonne Lott, the car seat technician in Juneau, has been very busy distributing car seats to our Native families that need them. Also, Jennifer Young made several trips to some of our smaller communities to do home safety checks for elder falls prevention and to install smoke detectors in their homes. She went to Hoonah in February and installed 35 smoke detectors in 15 elders’ homes. Earlier in the year she did safety checks for elder falls and installed smoke detectors in Klukwan (57 percent covered) and Haines (39 percent covered). Suicide prevention task force meeting April 29-30 in Sitka: A new regional Southeast Alaska Suicide Prevention Team meeting takes place on Thursday and Friday, April 29-30, at the Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Litehouse Cafeteria Conference Room A. The new task force is sponsored by the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division and it 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 Community, Chilkoot Indian Association, the SEARHC Board of Directors, Alaska State Troopers, SEARHC Elders Council and other interested parties, including survivors. This first meeting of the regional suicide prevention task force will examine suicide in Southeast Alaska, discuss what we can do to raise awareness and how we can educate people that there is help available if they want it, and to let people know people do care. For more information, contact SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Manager Wilbur Brown at 966-8753. Presentation to Tribal Assembly: SEARHC was a guest and presented to the Tribal Assembly of the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) on Friday, April 23. Our presentation included an introduction by SEARHC Board Chair Victoria Demmert, distribution of an advance copy of the annual report and a presentation by Dr. David Vastola focused on the impacts of healthy lifestyles. SEARHC had two education tables rotating information about behavioral health prevention, dental health promotion, cardiovascular health and the WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program, tribal recruitment and our Lifestyle Balance program for people with prediabetes or high risk for diabetes. SEARHC Injury Prevention wins award at national conference: Jennifer Young and Lesa Way from SEARHC Injury Prevention attended the Indian Health Service Tribal Injury Prevention Cooperative Agreement Program (TIPCAP) meeting April 14-15 in Bethesda, Md. The conference discussed IHS Injury Prevention Programs and also allowed Jennifer and Lesa to meet key staff with TIPCAP and learn more about their roles and responsibilities. At the meeting, SEARHC and community injury prevention coordinators from other tribal health agencies were presented with an award — a god’s eye mandala (Navajo design) with a kachina face mounted in the center (Hopi) — for “outstanding leadership to improve the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives by preventing injuries, 2005-2010 Tribal Injury Prevention Cooperative Agreement Program.” Ethel Lund Village Health Occupations Program (VHOP) attracts 14 students: This year’s Ethel Lund Village Health Occupations Program (VHOP) took place April 19-23 with 14 high school students from around Southeast Alaska. The students spent a week learning about health careers and what education they require. The students spent two days job-shadowing SEARHC employees in medical, nursing, pharmacy, dental, optometry, physical therapy, behavioral health, radiology, health promotion and information services. The students attended orientation, took part in the ropes course, learned about developmental disabilities, met with the Department of Labor, completed True Colors training, met with Sitka Tribe of Alaska, went to a University of Washington dentistry presentation and attended a behavioral health presentation. They also learned how to tie sutures to close a wound (using pigs feet). SEARHC participates in spring health fairs: Spring is a popular time for health fairs in many of our communities. We had three staff members at the Petersburg Health Fair on April 17, and they talked to 51 of our Native patients who stopped by the table. The Skagway Health Fair also took place on April 17, and Community Resource Program Services Director Karen Fredrickson represented SEARHC at the event (she also had a chance to see Skagway’s new clinic). SEARHC had two staff members at the Yakutat Health Fair on April 10, with 15 people stopping by the table. Two SEARHC staff attended the Hoonah Health Fair on April 3, and they talked to 22 people who stopped by the table. There were three SEARHC employees working at the Wrangell Health Fair on April 3. In addition, we also had booths at the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament on March 22-27 in Juneau and at the Wellness for Caregivers Conference on March 19 in Juneau. Vegetable gardens on Sitka campus: Compost and sand were dumped into a new vegetable garden bed on the SEARHC campus in Sitka on Friday, April 23. The new vegetable garden will be located on the lower part of the campus, between the employee fitness center and daycare, and across the street from several SEARHC Behavioral Health program buildings. SEARHC Proposal Writer Kerry MacLane, said the plan is to plant potatoes, cabbage, lettuce and other greens, broccoli and other crops. Kerry said the garden will be available for use by the SEARHC Employee Wellness Team and any other SEARHC program wanting to provide horticultural therapy. Food grown in the garden will be available for SEARHC programs, such as the daycare and substance abuse treatment centers, with additional crops available at the Sitka Farmers Market. The SEARHC Health Promotion and Diabetes programs have been involved with the Sitka Local Foods Network, which is trying to get more locally grown food on Sitka dinner tables. SEARHC hosts digital storytelling class April 27-30 in Sitka: Several SEARHC programs are teaming up to host a digital storytelling class April 27-30 in Sitka. This event will teach a dozen students how to tell their stories using the recorded voice, still and moving images, music and other sounds. The students are health care workers, and this class will have a focus on cancer prevention as part of a partnership with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. The coaches will be Martha Pearson of the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program, Michael Jenkins of SEARHC Corporate Communications and Renae Mathson of the SEARHC Diabetes Program. Class trains people to become certified car seat technicians: A certified car seat technician class takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on April 28-30 at the Division of Public Health Office conference room, 410 Willoughby St. (across from the State Office Building), and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Juneau Police Department, 6255 Allaway Ave. Attendance is required at all sessions. Class size is limited, and the cost is $75. You can register online at Safe Kids Worldwide, http://cert.safekids.org. Technicians must be able to lift car seats and install them in a wide variety of vehicles. To learn about scholarship information, especially for potential car seat technicians in our rural communities, contact Lesa Way of the SEARHC Injury Prevention Program at 966-8804 (Sitka) or lesa.way@searhc.org. For certification questions, contact Gordon Glaser with the Alaska Division of Public Health at 269-3433 (Anchorage) or gordon.glaser@alaska.gov. Regards, Roald