President’s Update for February 28, 2013

In this edition...

Electronic Health Records Update

A number of clinical and IT staff were onsite in Klawock this week with IHS Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation Team Leads David Taylor and Phil Taylor. They performed last-minute preparation and training needed to go live with the EHR on Monday March 4 at Alicia Roberts Medical Center. This has been a monumental effort by a very large number of SEARHC staff, and we are about to see the rewards after, in EHR terms, a very short implementation period. For more information or questions about the project, please contact Project Manager Peter Apathy at (907) 966-8577 or by email at

The Walk for the Health of It Event has come to a close

A grand finale celebration that was held on Saturday, February 23rd. The grand prize winner of 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles was Ramona Gerber, congratulations! Other winners included Carol O’Gara for most seasoned walker, James and Connie Johnson family for most consistent family group noted as being inspiring by other participants, Anne Ward with most minutes overall (4,850), and George Jackson for most improved from baseline to week 4 with a 455 minute increase. Participants cumulatively walked 76,755 minutes overall during the 4 week event (that’s 1,279.25 hours, or 53.3 days)!

SEARHC would like to thank its co-sponsors for the success of this event: Regional Housing Authority, Central Council Tlingit & Haida, Sealaska Heritage, Sealaska, and Goldbelt. Keep your eyes open for future physical activity events, and if you’d like to give your input as they are in the planning stages please contact Tiffany Nelson at 907-364-4454.

Health Promotion (Diabetes program) is supplying KNOW YOUR NUMBERS

Health Promotion (Diabetes program) is supplying KNOW YOUR NUMBERS lanyards and rally rags to the students and faculty attending the 1A Basketball tournament in Juneau, Alaska (beginning 6 March). Renae Mathson, HE II and Tiffany Nelson, he I will be giving students rally rags in exchange for finishing a survey on knowing what normal values are for biometrics (blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL, and fasting glucose).

March 7th will be the beginning of the WELL (Wise Elders Live Longer) Balanced program in Angoon, Alaska. Health Promotion’s Diabetes program, has arranged for a “Train the Trainers” class to be held the evening of March 7 and 8, plus two day classes on March 9 and 10th. The WELL Balanced program is an eight week program (16 classes total) which will be held from March 5 – April 25, and is offered to elders who need to improve their strength and balance, while learning how to prevent chronic disease and falls.

Health Promotion’s newest Health Educator I, Kim Getgood, recently attended ANTHC’s Wellness course held from February 18 – 22 in Anchorage, AK. ANTHC’s Melany Cueva and Teresa Hicks (with other instructors) covered cancer basics, nutrition, various physical activities, breast health, tobacco, active listening, and more during the week of celebrating wellness for the individual and community.

Kake started Zumba classes

Classes started the other night at the EMS building, with 14 women participating. Sounds like it was a lot of fun and they’re all looking forward to 8 weeks of zumba twice a week, with lots of laughter--just what they all need right now. Thank you to Renae Mathson for providing the DVDs and to EMS for providing the space.

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness month

As part of our efforts to provide more regional public education around colorectal cancer (CRC) screening and prevention, the SEARHC Colorectal Health Program recently purchased their own traveling colon health display. “Minnie Colon” is a 4’ x 6’ inflatable, cross-sectional colon display – not as large as “Nolan the Super Colon,” and easier to transport and set up for community events. Minnie travels with educational materials and information about CRC screening at SEARHC. Please contact Clara Gray at 966-8936 for more information about scheduling Minnie for your program or community group.

SEARHC Director of Radiology announcement

Karin Johnson, SEARHC Director of Radiology announced that MEH Mammography just had their annual FDA inspection and they passed with no violations!  Along with Karin, I would like to extend a big thank you to Chelsea McLeod and Nicole Balovich for a great job in running our mammography department and keeping outstanding records!

Raven’s Way students participated in a unique and memorable ceremony

On Thursday, February 21, Raven’s Way students participated in a unique and memorable ceremony by presenting a traditional robe hanging they created for Steve Bradshaw. The theme of the robe honors commitment to Native Education in our community and Steve has worked earnestly as an administrator throughout his lengthy career to ensure that our district is set-up for the success of our Native children through supporting, advocating and ensuring funding for personnel and programs that infuse Native Education in the classroom as part of the daily curriculum. He advocates not only for our Native Children in our community, he is a strong voice for the homeless and down trodden students in our community. He stated that, “Out of all the recognitions he has been awarded, this bar far, is the most honorable.” There was support and guidance by local culture bearers, Nancy Douglas, Jamie Brady and Mamma Cass Pook.

The students learned about and created the robe in Ryan Hill’s AK history class. The beautiful traditional robe hanging is adorned with the form line design of the Biorka Bear, which was created and given to Raven’s Way by Barry Burger, the Biorka island caretaker.  The design is bordered by mother of pearl and Sitka deer horn buttons. The bear represents the students at Raven’s Way as they empower themselves with the knowledge and skills to overcome addictions. The mink hide, which was trapped by students on Biorka, represents the addictions that afflict our students and the bear is chasing the mink away.  The mink is attached with special buttons chosen by the students to represent themselves on the hide. A strong “aha” moment for the students was realizing they were in a healthy space, so healthy in fact they could sincerely give of themselves for somebody else.

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

Just a reminder...

Applications are available for the SEARHC Summer Internship Program.

The SEARHC Summer Internship Program provides opportunities for six Native students who are studying at the high school, bachelor’s degree and/or master’s degree/clinical level. The program allows participants to explore career options in health care, and the interns receive valuable on-the-job training in their health care career of interest and a minimal hourly stipend. At the end of the program, interns will receive a performance evaluation with valuable feedback from their mentor(s). Students must be enrolled tribal members or descendants as certified through a Certificate of Indian Blood (CIB) and currently be enrolled full-time in high school, college or vocational school with a minimum GPA of 2.5. To apply, students must complete a SEARHC Summer Internship Application, a SEARHC job application, provide two letters of recommendation (from teachers, counselors, employers, tribal leaders, etc.), a copy of the student’s current resume and a copy of the student’s current college transcripts.

The application deadline is Friday, May 10 (the application must be received or postmarked by this date), and the final selection of interns takes place on May 17. The internship program runs from June through September 2013. Completed applications may be mailed to Jessika Beam (966-8903) at SEARHC, c/o Human Resources Department, 222 Tongass Drive, Sitka, AK 99835. Applications also can be faxed to 966-8527, or scanned and e-mailed to Because space is limited, interested students should apply early. Application packets are available at Southeast Alaska high school offices, through local tribal organizations or by going to

2013 Ethel Lund Village Health Occupations Program (VHOP) is gearing up

Each year, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) selects several Southeast-area Native students interested in health careers for VHOP, and the students spend a week at S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka learning about different health careers and educational opportunities. The health field is growing, which means plenty of job opportunities for people with the right training. Health careers usually offer good pay and employee benefits, as well as the satisfaction of helping others. The experience enables students to evaluate their own strengths and decide which jobs might best suit them. This year's VHOP session is scheduled for April 22-27. Students selected to participate in VHOP receive assistance to cover the travel costs to and from Sitka, housing, meals and some evening entertainment. The application deadline is Friday, March 29. Completed applications may be mailed to Jessika Beam, SEARHC Tribal Recruitment Coordinator, c/o Human Resources Department, 222 Tongass Drive, Sitka, AK 99835. Applications also can be faxed to 907-966-8527, or scanned and e-mailed to Because space is limited, interested students should apply early. Application packets are available at high school offices, at local village corporations or by going to For additional information, contact Jessika Beam at 907-966-8903 or by e-mail at

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).