President’s Update for Aug. 24, 2012

In this edition...

In this edition …

Mount Edgecumbe High School Student Health Center staff prepares for annual EdgeCamp: The SEARHC Mount Edgecumbe High School Student Health Center, S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Dental and Optometry staff, along with the Sitka Public Health Nurses, will be providing the Mount Edgecumbe High School students with their annual health screening on Monday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 27-28, during EdgeCamp. Approximately 410 students will have optometry screening, dental screening with optional fluoride varnish application, heights and weights measured and TB skin testing. We are doubling the staff to accomplish this in one day; it has usually been a two-day event, so we will be busy. It is a great way to check in with the students before they start their school year, and it ensures the students have the healthiest start to the year possible.

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Behavioral Health staff members complete Prime For Life training: Eight SEARHC Behavioral Health Division staff members from around the region participated in a three-day training on Monday to Wednesday, Aug. 20-22, in Sitka called, PRIME For Life (PFL). This is a required training in order for staff to be able to provide the 12 hours of education needed when someone receives a minor consuming or a DUI. PFL is a motivational intervention used in group settings to prevent alcohol and drug problems or provide early intervention. PFL has been used primarily among court-referred impaired driving offenders. It also has been adapted for use with military personnel, college students, middle and high school students, and parents. Different versions of the program, ranging from 4.5 to 20 hours in duration, and optional activities are available to guide use with various populations. One area we will be looking at is how to use the 4-to-6-hour training for pregnant women to help prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

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SEARHC Diabetes and Kake WISEFAMILIES Through Customary and Traditional Knowledge programs teach TV personality Andrew Zimmern about food: Celebrity food adventurer Andrew Zimmern, who hosts three TV shows including the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern,” learned about traditional foods from the SEARHC Diabetes program, Kake WISEFAMILIES Through Customary and Traditional Knowledge program, the Kake Coalition, and the Organized Village of Kake this week (Aug. 20-22). Zimmern, who also spent time in Sitka on Aug. 18-19, is noted for traveling the world to try foods that many people have either never heard of or are afraid to try. In Kake, Zimmern and his eight-person production crew were treated to a community potluck dinner where Kake residents brought in some of their favorite Tlingít foods. Zimmern also tried stinkheads, seal meat, fermented fish eggs, herring eggs on branches, pickled herring eggs, Indian cheese, seal oil/crackles, smoked hooligan, smoked salmon, dried halibut, pickled gumboots, seaweed, sea ribbons and other traditional delicacies. SEARHC Diabetes Health Educator Georgie Davis-Gastelum and Anthony Gastelum of the Kake Coalition and OVK served as Zimmern’s hosts during his visit. SEARHC Dental Health Aide Kim Moler was a presenter on pickled gumboots, seaweed and sea ribbons, while SEARHC staffers David James and Scott Jackson also volunteered. Mike Jackson of OVK made a lot of the arrangements with Zimmern’s crew, but wasn’t able to attend the event due to a prior commitment. After his trip ended, Zimmern wrote Georgie an e-mail that said, “The pride you have for your community will show in this episode,” which is expected to air about March 2013. Money raised at the potluck will go toward OVK’s 25th-year celebration of its culture camp next summer.

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Planning underway for National Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day: The SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention program and the 1 is 2 Many suicide prevention task force for Southeast Alaska are working on planning events for National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 9-15) and World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10). One of the main projects is working with schools across Alaska to create “Walls of Hope,” where students will write down words or phrases (ideally three of them) about things in their life that make it worth living. This project is collaboration between the Alaska Association of Student Governments, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, SEARHC, the Alaska Statewide Suicide Prevention Council, the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the Alaska Mental Health Board, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Behavioral Health, and numerous schools and school districts around the state. The SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention program staff already has contacted people in some Southeast communities, but may need local champions to help bring this project to our communities. For more information and to offer to help, please contact SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention program community project organizer Megan Gregory in Juneau at 463-6645 or by e-mail at megan.gregory@searhc.org. She can help put you in contact with people from your community already working on the project, or help you find out what you need to do to get the project launched in your community.

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Just a reminder …

Fall 2012 mobile mammogram van schedule continues this week in Haines: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program and Bartlett Regional Hospital have announced the Fall 2012 schedule for the mobile mammogram program. The mobile mammography van will visit Haines on Aug. 27-Sept. 10, Skagway on Sept. 11-14, Klawock on Sept. 19-28 and Oct. 3-9, Craig on Oct. 1-2, and Metlakatla on Oct. 11-19 (no weekend or holiday appointments). The van already visited Hoonah on this season’s schedule. Women are encouraged to contact their local clinics prior to the scheduled visit because they will need to receive a clinical breast exam before they can get their mammograms. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital 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. The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program provides free clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap tests and cardiovascular screenings for all women ages 40 and older who meet income and insurance guidelines. For more information, contact your local clinic, call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program in Sitka at 966-8782 (or 1-888-388-8782, toll-free in Alaska), or send e-mail to askwh@searhc.org. For more information about services available through the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program, go to http://www.searhc.org/womenshealth/.

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Alaska VA Healthcare System hosts Veterans Stand Down in Juneau: SEARHC will be one of several agencies helping the Alaska VA Healthcare System host a Veterans Stand Down on Sept. 7-8 at Centennial Hall in Juneau. SEARHC will join Department of Veterans Affairs staff as they provide one-on-one assistance for veterans and their families with enrollment for health services, filing claims for compensation, and learning about benefits, pensions and burial benefits. The Veterans Stand Down takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8. In addition to providing benefits assistance, gear will be distributed to veterans who need it (jackets, socks, cold-weather bed rolls, sheets, towels, caps, mittens, blankets, sweats and more). In addition to the VA and SEARHC, other participating agencies include the U.S. Coast Guard, the Alaska Jobs Center, the State of Alaska, the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Tribes of Alaska, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Southeast Native Veterans, the National Guard, tribal veteran representatives, the American Legion and the Disabled Veterans of America. To learn more about the Veterans Stand Down, contact VA Rural Health Program Coordinator Susan Yeager at 1-907-257-5460 or susan.yeager@va.gov, or contact Libby Watanabe at SEARHC at 463-6680 or libby.watanabe@searhc.org. For more info about the Alaska VA Healthcare System, call 1-888-353-7574 or go to http://www.alaska.va.gov/.

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SEARHC patient advocates serve as customer liaisons: SEARHC has three patient advocate positions in Southeast Alaska — Bryan Whitson (Sitka), Cyndi Reeves (POW), and Debra Graceland (Juneau) — who serve as customer service liaisons between patients and SEARHC, and help patients navigate their way through SEARHC’s health system. In addition, the Alaska Native Medical Center provides Anchorage-based patient advocates who serve patients from around the state receiving care at the Alaska Native Medical Center. Patients living in Sitka, Angoon, Kake, Pelican, Tenakee Springs, Yakutat, Petersburg and Wrangell should contact Bryan Whitson at 966-8860. Patients in Klawock, Craig, Hydaburg, Kasaan, Thorne Bay and other POW communities should contact Cyndi Reeves at 755-4983 (965-0040, cell). Patients in Juneau, Haines, Skagway, Klukwan and Hoonah should contact Debra Graceland (463-6656). Patients traveling to Anchorage for care should contact the ANMC patient advocates at 729-3990.

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SEARHC hosts 24/7 crisis help line, toll-free at 1-877-294-0074: A personal or family crisis doesn’t always happen during clinic hours, so the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division has contracted with a crisis call center to provide help for Southeast Alaska residents when they need it most. The SEARHC Help Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it will be staffed with a team of master’s-degree-level mental health therapists who will listen and provide effective, compassionate care. This line provides confidential telephone counseling for people during a time of mental health crisis, and it is not just an answering service. The counselors will assess the situation and provide appropriate intervention using protocols developed with SEARHC Behavioral Health. Follow-up calls from SEARHC Behavioral Health or our partner agencies will be made the next business day. For more information, contact SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program Manager Wilbur Brown at 966-8753.

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SEARHC provides 24/7 on-call travel coordinators for patients traveling for care: SEARHC has a 24/7 on-call travel coordinator to assist patients needing after-hours help while traveling for a medical appointment. The on-call staff person helps patients find new connections when a plane is diverted by weather, or assists with late-night housing. For assistance, call 1-800-916-8566 (toll-free in Alaska) or 1-907-966-8345 in Sitka, and then follow the prompts. To help us better help you, please call as soon as you know your travel schedule has been changed. For patients needing assistance from the Community Resources Program (contract health), such as emergency health care while traveling, call 1-866-966-8316 (toll-free).

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Charles Clement SEARHC President/CEO