President’s Update for Aug. 27, 2011

In this edition...

In this edition

SEARHC Diabetes/Prediabetes programs win national award: The SEARHC Diabetes and Lifestyle Balance prediabetes programs received word this week that SEARHC has been chosen to receive the 2011 John Pipe Voices For Change Award for Advocacy. The award is one of three John Pipe Voices For Change Awards presented each year by the American Diabetes Association's Native American Initiatives (for advocacy, outcomes and innovation). Indian Health Service Director Dr. Yvette Roubideaux will present the award on Sept. 28 during the National Indian Health Board's 28th Annual Consumer Conference in Anchorage.

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Board of Directors meets: The SEARHC Board of Directors met this week to review and approve the 2012 budget, recognize 40 years of service by Frank Sutton, and participate in continuing governance education. There was considerable time devoted to reviewing the operational and fiscal plan for our next year. The Board adopted its operating and capital budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1. On Thursday night, Aug. 25, approximately 75 people joined the Board for a recognition dinner for Frank Sutton's 40 years of service in Southeast Alaska. Another celebration will be held Sept. 22 in Sitka.

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Organized Village of Kasaan adopts smoke-free resolution: The Organized Village of Kasaan (OVK) adopted an important resolution titled \"Statewide Smoke-Free Workplaces to Protect Tribal Citizens from the Dangers of Secondhand Smoke.\" It was adopted on Aug. 9. We would like to acknowledge efforts by OVK to protect the health of tribal members from the dangers of secondhand smoke for generations to come. This is part of a statewide effort for tribes to adopt tobacco-free workplace resolutions, and Kasaan joins Native Village of Koyuk IRA Council as the first two Alaska tribes to pass the resolution. A similar resolution was presented to the Association of Tribal Health Directors in Anchorage and the Alaska Native Health Board on Aug. 2-3, and they made a few changes including changing \"smoke-free workplaces\" to \"tobacco-free workplaces\" to recognize the problem of chew tobacco in Alaska. The Alaska Native Tobacco Advisory Group hopes delegates to the Alaska Federation of Natives will adopt a statewide version of this resolution when they meet in October.

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Skagway votes to pass smoke-free ordinance by 3-1 margin: During a special election on Thursday, Aug. 25, residents of Skagway voted 324-122 to pass a comprehensive smoke-free workplace ordinance that covers all workplaces including bars and clubs. The ordinance will become effective immediately upon the certification of the election by the Skagway City Assembly in a meeting on Friday, Aug. 26.

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Janice Hamrick starts as Community Family Services manager: Janice Hamrick, LCSW, BHP, started this week as the manager of the Community Family Services program. Janice most recently worked as Director of Behavioral Health Outpatient Clinic and Village Services with the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp., and she has extensive behavioral health contacts throughout rural Alaska. She holds a Master of Social Work degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology with a social work emphasis, both from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Before moving to Bethel, Janice led behavioral health programs in Arkansas and Mississippi. She is the chair of the Alaska State Behavioral Health Academic Review Committee and serves as co-chair of the Behavioral Health Aide Manual Committee that developed the recently adopted state criteria for the Behavioral Health Aide/Practitioner program. Janice will supervise our Community Family Services program, which provides behavioral health care services in nine communities — Angoon, Craig, Haines, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Kake, Klawock, Klukwan and Petersburg. The program has behavioral health clinicians and/or community family service workers (CFSWs) based in each community, and these workers can coordinate advanced behavioral health care services through telebehavioral health videoconferencing with psychiatrists, psychologists and other behavioral health clinicians based at the Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít outpatient behavioral health clinic in Sitka and the Juneau Behavioral Health Clinic.

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Jeri Rosenthal to provide elder case management for Hydaburg, Wrangell and Petersburg: Jeri Rosenthal, RN, BSN, joined us as a nurse case manager for elders living in Hydaburg, Wrangell and Petersburg. Jeri has lived on Prince of Wales (POW) Island for 18 years, and she lived in other remotes parts of Alaska before moving to POW. She will work with Alaska Native elders in Hydaburg, Wrangell and Petersburg, helping to improve their health outcomes by providing comprehensive case management services enhancing the existing network of clinical, home and community-based services. Jeri looks forward to promoting ongoing proactive support for elders and their caregivers to manage their own health conditions and meet their own goals for good health. She can be reached through the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Klawock at 755-4800.

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Matt Dobson joins ELMC physical therapy: Matt Dobson, DPT, joins SEARHC as the second physical therapist at the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau. Matt holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C. He and his wife, Katie, both attended Clemson University for their undergraduate education and they are diehard Clemson Tiger fans. Anne Whitis, the Chief of Physical Therapy at Ethel Lund Medical Center, said Matt's hire is the culmination of several years of planning to expand the ELMC physical therapy program. Matt particularly enjoys manual therapy and working with pediatric patients. He also loves college football, racquetball, bowling, hiking and he hopes to learn how to cross-country ski and go ocean kayaking.

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SEARHC to host WELL-Balanced class in Sitka: SEARHC Health Promotion will host a WELL-Balanced course in Sitka to help Native elders learn how to prevent falls and improve their quality of life. The 16-session, eight-week course features classes from 2-3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the Monastery Street Apartments meeting room (414 Hollywood Way). SEARHC Health Educators Renae Mathson and Jennifer Young will teach the course for Native elders who want to reduce their risk of falling and find ways to remain independent. Participants will have some fun, increase their level of exercise, improve their physical strength, and gain confidence about managing the risk of falling. Tools to help manage diabetes, arthritis and hypertension also are included. To learn more, contact Renae at 966-8797 or Jennifer at 966-8866.

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National Recovery Month events in September: The SEARHC Behavioral Health Division is partnering with several groups throughout the region to host a variety of events for National Recovery Month in September and International FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorders) Awareness Day on Sept. 9. Events in Sitka include a recovery walk, a recovery film festival, and a canoe journey and potlatch dinner featuring king salmon and other provided foods. Events in Juneau include a recovery film festival, art show, recovery walk, poetry jam and SoberFest party. Our staff on Prince of Wales Island will visit local schools to provide information about alcohol and substance abuse. To see a complete list of events, go to http://www.searhc.org/common/pages/pressreleases/detail.php?id=219.

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Domestic violence prevention educator hired in Haines: Jackie Mazieskas joined SEARHC as a new part-time domestic violence prevention initiative health educator in Haines. This is a new grant-funded position. Jackie will promote regular communication and team relationships between SEAHC and other community groups that provide domestic violence / substance abuse (DV/SA) services in Haines. She will promote education, prevention and outreach efforts to increase awareness of DV/SA as a public health issue in Haines, Klukwan and Skagway. And she will provide documentation of assessments, interventions and referrals of DV/SA for women ages 13 and older at SEARHC rural health clinics. Jackie completed the Rural Human Services Program offered by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and she has six years experience working with the homeless population. She has been working with the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division for four years.

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Health Promotion presents at national conference: Martha Pearson with the WISEWOMAN Women's Health Program presented at the 2011 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media on Aug. 9-11 in Atlanta. This conference brings together academics, public health researchers and practitioners from all levels of government and private sectors, and provides a forum for cross-disciplinary dialogue. Martha gave a poster presentation about SEARHC's work with digital storytelling as a method to describe and inspire health behavior changes for people in Southeast Alaska. The breakout group presentation was attended by about 25 people, and copies of the presentation have been shared, by request, with professionals working in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Africa.

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Ethel Lund Medical Center passes regular FDA inspection: The Ethel Lund Medical Center Radiology Department passed its FDA (Federal Drug Administration) MQSA (Mammography Quality Standards Act) inspection on Thursday, Aug. 24. In order to legally provide a mammogram, a facility must be FDA MQSA-certified and must post its inspection certificate where patients can see it. Every facility is inspected annually by the FDA, which involves reviewing technologist and radiologist qualifications. The equipment also is tested, procedures are checked and each technologist and radiologist must perform a certain number of exams to stay qualified. Thank you to Maggie Willis and our entire team for the hard work on the inspection.

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CARF survey notice for SEARHC Behavioral Health services: A survey team from CARF International (CARF is the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) will visit SEARHC facilities in Sitka, Juneau and on Prince of Wales Island on Sept. 26-28. The SEARHC Behavioral Health Division has been receiving CARF accreditation every three years since 1993 for its residential substance abuse treatment centers and the Community Family Services program. The CARF surveyors will evaluate us on how well we meet international standards for quality, telling us how we are doing and where we can improve. As part of the process, the surveyors will interview clients, their families, our staff and others about our services and how these services are provided. If you would like to talk with one of the survey team members or want to know more about the survey process, please contact the SEARHC Behavioral Health Division. You can learn more about CARF International by going to http://www.carf.org/.

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Optometrists earn Diplomate status from American Board of Optometry: Two SEARHC optometrists, Dr. Pamela Steffes at S'áxt' Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka and Dr. Shannon Farr at Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau recently completed the new board certification process through the American Board of Optometry. Drs. Steffes and Farr are eligible to be called Diplomate, American Board of Optometry. The two optometrists took part in the first board certification exam held in June learned of the results this week. Board certification is a voluntary process that shows an optometrist exceeds the qualifications of the profession. Before they can take the exam, optometrists have to have active practices and provide a minimum of 20 hours of direct patient care a week, they must complete an accredited residency program, they must hold a Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO) or Fellowship in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development (FCOVD), and they must complete certain continuing education requirements. Congratulations, Dr. Steffes and Dr. Farr.

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Fall mobile mammogram schedule: The Fall 2011 schedule for the mobile mammogram van program kicked off last week with a visit Aug. 22-26 to Hoonah. It will continue with trips to Haines on Aug. 29-Sept. 12, to Skagway on Sept. 13-14, to Klawock on Sept. 20-30 and Oct. 5-11, to Craig on Oct. 3-4 and to Metlakatla on Oct. 13-21. The mobile mammogram van program is operated as a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women's Health Program.Women are encouraged to contact their local clinics before the scheduled visit because they will need to have had a clinical breast exam before they can get their mammograms. 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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Regards,
Roald