President’s Update for Dec. 28, 2012

In this edition...

SEARHC 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Highlights were presented to the SEARHC Accreditation Governing body on December 5, 2012. SEARHC has collected this data since 2005.  In 2011 642 households were surveyed, with 75% predetermined to be Alaska Native or American Indian.  The significant positive changes since the 2008 SEARHC BRFSS survey, include a significant increase in Health Care coverage from 77% in 2008 to 83% in 2011, and a significant decrease in smoking from 31% in 2008 to 25% in 2011.  Two challenging areas included a reduction in recommended physical activity levels from 65% in 2008 to 59% in 2011 and a substantial increase in obesity rates from 27% in 2008 to 35% in 2011. The BRFSS is a widely used, well established tool with well tested questions and methodology. By oversampling the Southeast Alaska region, SEARHC can collect and analyze information that is not buried within entire statewide data.  This data allows SEARHC to understand health-related trends in Southeast Alaska and work to modify risk behaviors that contribute to chronic disease, premature death, and impaired quality of life. If you would like more information about the SEARHC BRFSS or would like a copy of the 2011 Executive Summary, please contact: Andrea Thomas, SEARHC Tobacco Manager,, 907-966-8883, or Edy Rodewald, SEARHC Health Educator,, 907-364-4452

SEARHC CTG and Sitka Conservation Society add another school serving local fish

SEARHC Community Transformation (CTG) and partner Sitka Conservation Society have added another school (Sitka High School) to the list of those serving local fish. 1,500 students in the Sitka school district (four schools) now have access to wild fish on the school lunch menu on a regular basis as well as education units for the classroom that emphasize the importance of fresh, local foods.  Evaluation is in progress that will ask how this initiative changes students’ preferences for eating healthy foods and local foods. This local foods momentum is contagious.  ~5,000 students in four other school districts in SE Alaska (Juneau, Haines, Petersburg and Tenakee Springs) now have access to local wild fish in their school lunches thanks to a State of Alaska grant program (non CTG).  Three million dollars was allocated to reimburse Alaska schools that purchase local foods for their meal programs.  This budget item has been approved for 2013-14 as well and greatly increases schools capacity to serve local, healthy foods.  SEARHC CTG funds are being used then to extend our evaluation of Fish to Schools programs in the region by partnering with these districts and using our evaluation tools with them.

WISEFAMILIES advisory committees from Wrangell and Kake meeting

1/7 - WISEFAMILIES advisory committees from Wrangell and Kake meeting in Kake to finalize plant calendar we are working on and also sustainability for our project (this next year is year 5 of our grant)
1/8 -  Kake Day Fair (health/career/arts & crafts)/evening celebration:  with City of Kake and local organizations
1/9-10 -  Master Canners class taught by Roxie Dinstel, UAF Cooperative Extension; provided under a community transformation grant.
1/22 - Zumba classes start (8-week class)

Charles Clement
Charles Clement President/CEO
3100 Channel Drive, Ste. 300
Juneau, AK 99801
(907) 463-4000

Just a reminder...

Check out SEARHC’s new page on Facebook

If you haven't already done so, please check out SEARHC's new page on Facebook. This page will provide people with updates about what's happening around the consortium. This page is new, so it will be adding more content over time. If you're on Facebook, please like our page so you can keep up on the news at SEARHC.

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.

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.

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).