President’s Update for July 27, 2012

In this edition...

In this edition …

New POW optometrist ready to start work at Alicia Roberts Medical Center: SEARHC has hired optometrist Annelle G. Maygren, OD, to head the SEARHC eye clinic on Prince of Wales Island. Dr. Maygren spent this past week training with Dr. Pam Steffes, OD, at the S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Eye Clinic in Sitka. She will start taking appointments on Thursday, July 31, at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock. Dr. Maygren comes to SEARHC from Fairbanks, where she spent a year working at Golden North Optics. Before that she spent eight years working as an optometrist with her father’s optometry practice, Shasta Vision Group, in Mount Shasta, Calif. Dr. Maygren holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D., and she earned her Doctor of Optometry degree (OD) from the Pacific University College of Optometry in Forest Grove, Ore. She is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Alaska Optometric Association and the American Optometric Society. Dr. Maygren’s medical interests include general optometry and working with kids, and she enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, hiking and reading. For now, Dr. Maygren will see patients at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center (call 755-4800 for appointments), but this fall she will move to a new eye clinic space in the Klawock Mall.

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1 is 2 Many suicide prevention task force meets in Kake: The SEARHC-sponsored “1 is 2 Many” regional suicide prevention task force for Southeast Alaska met July 19-22 in Kake. The group received an update from State of Alaska grantors, brainstormed media messaging ideas, visited the Kake Culture Camp, and discussed the Celebration Canoe Journey and other future events and topics. The group also looked at the processes and goals for its SPF SIG grant (Alaska Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant) and prioritized the SEARHC focus with the grant. The task force also conducted two focus groups, including one for a target audience of 18-24-year-olds and another for parents, so they could discuss suicide prevention, risk factors and protective factors. The group also hosted a community meeting and went over data and assessments that were gathered in the community. The group would like to say gunalchéesh, háw’aa, ndoyk’shn to the community of Kake for their gracious hospitality and wonderful Native foods prepared and shared. For more information regarding the group, please call SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention Program Manager Wilbur “Buster” Brown Jr. at 966-8753.

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Wrangell traditional foods program dedicates new community smokehouse: The SEARHC WISEFAMILIES Through Customary and Traditional Knowledge program in Wrangell built a community smokehouse this week and dedicated it on Friday, July 27. The new smokehouse is located at the Wrangell Community Garden site near City Park. It is a seven-foot-tall, four-foot-by-four-foot-wide structure built with Sitka spruce from the region and designed and crafted by local artisans. The smokehouse is big enough to process about 25 fish at a time and will mostly be used for hot smokes. Project coordinator Ken Hoyt said this is a community project aimed to pass on the traditions of food preservation to all generations (Native and non-Native). Community members will sign up in advance for time slots to use the facility. The dedication ceremony started at 11 a.m. on Friday and included a blessing, Native dancing and some fish. Donations of wood and fish are gladly accepted to keep the smokehouse going.

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Chelsea McLeod uses SEARHC developmental program to earn ultrasound technician license: Chelsea McLeod, who works in the radiology department at S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital, recently completed a SEARHC-sponsored developmental program that helped her earn her ultrasound technician license. Chelsea graduated from an 18-month-long online diagnostic medical sonography program offered through Mountain State University of Beckley W.V., which allowed her to complete an 18-month internship in ultrasound scanning while continuing to work at S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. Chelsea passed her board exam in June to become a licensed tech, earning the RDMS (Ab) credential (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, Abdomen) from the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

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Alaska Native Medical Center and SEARHC helping with CDC casting call: The Alaska Native Medical Center and SEARHC are helping with a casting call for several new ads about the harmful effects of smoking sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The ads will be part of the CDC’s “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign. The CDC is looking for real adults who have COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), diabetes, have had a heart attack or have asthma that was caused by smoking. People selected to participate in the campaign will be paid $2,500 and travel expenses to New York City to film the ads in October. They are looking for men and women of all backgrounds, age 55 or younger, who have experienced a heart attack due to exposure to secondhand smoke; men and women in their 30s or 40s who have COPD and suffer from chronic bronchitis or emphysema due to their own smoking; men and women age 55 or younger, who have diabetes due to their own smoking and have suffered blindness, amputation, renal (kidney) failure or other complications of diabetes because of continued smoking; men and women of all backgrounds who have asthma due to exposure to secondhand smoke; and men age 50 or younger who have successfully quit smoking and have an interesting story to tell about how they quit. The casting agency is specifically interested in casting military veterans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, African Americans, Spanish-speaking Hispanics and members of the LGBT community. To qualify for this project, people must now be non-smokers or haven’t smoked in six months, be willing to get a signed doctor’s statement saying tobacco caused and/or contributed to their health condition, be available to travel to New York City for filming in October 2012, and willing to sign a background check. For more information, contact Mimi Webb Miller Casting at mwmcasting@yahoo.com or send e-mail to cdccasting@gmail.com or call (310) 691-9487.

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Federal government agencies host tribal collaboration meetings in Tazlina and Juneau: Several federal government agencies are hosting the last two tribal collaboration meetings (out of a series of five) on Friday, Aug. 3, at the Tazlina Tribal Hall and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Tlingít and Haida Vocational Training and Resource Center in Juneau. The meetings are for tribal representatives and workers from federal agencies who want to strengthen their relationships with each other. Previous meetings in the series took place this spring in Nome, Ketchikan and Bethel, and additional meetings are being planned in other parts of the state. The meetings are in response to a memorandum signed by President Obama directing federal agencies to engage in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials. There are 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska, and these meetings will allow them to meet with at least 10 federal agencies to receive information about rural programs and services. The five main topics of the meetings include food production, availability and nutrition; rural housing; land management programs of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Forest Service; rural utilities (electric, telecommunications, solid waste, sewer and water); and rural economic and community development. For more information about the tribal consultation meetings, go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/AKTribalBlog.html, or contact Tiffany Zulkosky at (907) 543-3858 or tiffany.zulkowsky@ak.usda.gov. SEARHC plans to have a representative at the Juneau meeting.

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Just a reminder …

Fall 2012 mobile mammogram van schedule announced: 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 Hoonah on Aug. 20-24, 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). 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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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