President’s Update for Sept. 18, 2010

In this edition...

Fire at Klawock water treatment plant: A fire on Monday morning (Sept. 13) destroyed much of Klawock’s water treatment plant and put the community on a boil-water notice for much of the week from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC). SEARHC Remote Maintenance Specialist Phil Downing was working in Hydaburg at the time, so he was able to get to Klawock within an hour or two of the fire to assess the situation. Phil had some spare water plant parts and he worked with Klawock Water Treatment Operator Bennett Charles, Journeyman Electrician Mike Poe from Tribal Utility Support, other staff from the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) and ADEC staff to help Klawock gets its water treatment plant back on line. They had the plant filtering waste by Wednesday, and by Friday afternoon the ADEC rescinded the boil-water notice so Klawock residents could again use tap water without treating it. It also meant we could stop worrying about the fire’s impact on the Alicia Roberts Medical Center, since our medical staff needs safe water for cleaning and our fire safety systems need water pressure to stay operational. The preliminary feedback is that the plant’s entire building shell, including roof and mezzanine, needs to be replaced, and so will the entire electrical system and much of the process equipment. ANTHC and the City of Klawock are working to find out how much it will cost to rebuild the plant and what funding is available. Tlingít & Haida Indians of the City and Borough of Juneau hosts Juneau Health Forum on Sept. 18: About 30 members of the community joined with SEARHC and Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) staff at the Juneau Health Forum on Saturday. The Tlingít & Haida Indians of the City and Borough of Juneau organized the forum to discuss health care services in Juneau. This forum took place at the Juneau Tlingít and Haida Community Center. The purpose of the forum was to strengthen communication between tribal citizens and local leadership, increase understanding of how health care services are accessed and delivered, and to renew our commitment of mission and vision to SEARHC’s core health services, its structure and organization. Forum members heard what SEARHC is doing today and where SEARHC is going so it can deliver the highest quality health care in partnership with Native people. ANMC gave an update on services including its work to improve referrals, the Quyana House, and local transportation. Several community members shared their experience and needs for health services. The meeting went well, given the pressure of the incredible weather this weekend. There was a lot of good feedback on services received from the community. Be Safe, Be Seen: In the past week, SEARHC Injury Prevention sent 550 pieces of reflective tape and reflective zipper pulls to seven communities — Wrangell, Petersburg, Sitka, Craig, Hydaburg, Klawock and Haines. The reflective items will be distributed by volunteers at local school and community events over the next couple of months, which will make it easier for drivers to see school kids as they walk along the roads during our darkest months. SEARHC Injury Prevention is working to find volunteers in Angoon, Juneau, Kake, Hoonah and Skagway to distribute more reflective items. Hidden Falls Hatchery to donate coho salmon to Kake, Angoon: The Hidden Falls Hatchery, run by the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA), will donate roe-stripped coho salmon to households in Kake and Angoon. Kake Community Wellness Advocate Georgie Davis-Gastelum said she was told they expect to get about the same number of coho to Kake families this year as last year. Last year Kake received 1,053 coho for 96 households, about 10 coho per family plus 40 coho given to the senior center’s lunch program and 40 more coho filleted and frozen for community dinners. Thank you NSRAA and Hidden Falls Hatchery for donating the fish so our patients in these communities can have healthy meals. Operating room delays elective surgery during renovations: The S’áxt’ Hít Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital operating room will have delays for all elective surgery because of the hospital’s siding, windows and roofing renovation project. The partial closure currently is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 20, through Friday, Oct. 8, but that could change depending on how the project is going. The operating room closure is so the windows and siding in the operating room area can be replaced. We will maintain our on-call surgical team for any emergency surgeries and C-Sections that might be needed during this partial closure, but elective surgery procedures will be delayed until after the windows and siding are replaced in the operating area. Also, all of the operating room’s sterile processing will be done at Sitka Community Hospital during the closure. Since all of the hospital’s windows are being replaced in this year-long hospital construction project, there could be other impacts to the inpatient rooms and our outpatient services at various times over the next few months. Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October: The SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program will honor National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October by hosting Wear Pink Day on Friday, Oct. 1. At 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, the sixth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk takes place in Sitka, a free three-mile walk from Brenner’s Store across the O’Connell Bridge to Japonski Island and back. People who donate to the Sitka Cancer Survivors Association are eligible for prizes. For information, contact Susan Suarez at 966-8459. National Recovery Month in September: September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, and SEARHC is partnering with several community groups to offer events in Sitka, Juneau, Haines and Prince of Wales Island. The full list of events is quite extensive, but here are a few highlights (a complete list of events has been sent to local media and tribal groups). On Saturdays in Sitka, there is a potluck and talking circle on Sept. 4, a canoe journey, drumming and open mike on Sept. 11, a sobriety walk and open mike on Sept. 18, and a sobriety potlatch celebration on Sept. 25. In Juneau, there is a series of movies about recovery every Wednesday, an art show all month, a recovery poetry jam on Sept. 18 and a SoberFest party on Sept. 24. In Haines on Sept. 25 there will be a potlatch and dance. In Craig on Sept. 25 there will be a sobriety walk, basketball tournament, bicycle rodeo, children’s events and community potluck dinner. Also during the month there will be school presentations on Prince of Wales Island. Mobile mammogram van continues summer/fall schedule: The mobile mammogram van will visit Klawock on Sept. 22-Oct. 8, followed by stop in Craig on Oct. 11-12 and Metlakatla on Oct. 14-22. The summer/fall schedule started with a visit to Hoonah on Aug. 23-27 to kick things off, Haines on Aug. 30-Sept. 13 and Skagway on Sept. 14-17. Appointment times are available from the local clinics. The mobile mammography program is run through a partnership between Bartlett Regional Hospital in Juneau and the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. Between the spring and summer/fall seasons, the van provides about 800-900 women in nine communities with regular mammography screening services in places where the services aren’t available year round. For more information, contact your local clinic or call the SEARHC WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program at 966-8782 in Sitka or 1-888-388-8782 (toll-free in Alaska), send an e-mail to askwh@searhc.org, or go online at http://www.searhc.org/womenshealth/. SEARHC’SMILERS team conquers Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay: Congratulations to SEARHC’SMILERS for finishing the Klondike Trail of ’98 International Bike Relay on Friday-Saturday, Sept. 10-11, in 10th place out of 19 corporate teams and 60th place overall out of 122 teams that finished the 109.8-mile relay run from Skagway, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. SEARHC’SMILERS (which is typed so it can be read as either SEARHC Smilers or SEARHC’s Milers) finished the course in 17 hours, 16 minutes, 8 seconds, just four seconds off of team captain Dr. Tom Bornstein’s predicted time of 17:16:12. The 10-person team included eight members of the SEARHC Dental staff, plus two non-SEARHC employees (one is a former employee). Dr. Randy Wiest (former medical director for the SEARHC Juneau Medical Center in the 1980s-90s) ran the first leg, followed by SEARHC Director of Dental Services Dr. Tom Bornstein, Juneau dental hygienist Liz Mallott, Sitka dental assistant Kelly Barnaby, Juneau dentist Dr. John Sohonage, Juneau dental resident Brian Sheppard, Haines dental prevention director Lisa Cone, Paul Andrews (non-SEARHC), Juneau dental resident Robb Garni, and Juneau dental residency program director Dr. Matt Webb. SEARHC Health Promotion helps refurbish Mt. Edgecumbe High School bike program: SEARHC Health Promotion is working with Mt. Edgecumbe High School and Island Fever Diving and Adventures/Sitka Bike and Hike to refurbish several bikes and provide bike helmets for Mt. Edgecumbe High School students to use to get around Sitka. In discussions with Mt. Edgecumbe High School recreation staff, many of the school’s bicycles were identified as safety concerns. Both Sitka bicycle shops were contacted, and Island Fever Diving and Adventures/Sitka Bike and Hike (IFDA/SBH) was selected because they offered to donate labor, safety gear and transportation to get the bike fleet repaired so they were safe for the students to use. Mt. Edgecumbe students now can check out the bicycles so they can get physical activity and mobility, and do it safely. Reminder, toll-free SEARHC Help Line is available for any crisis 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 is 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 Prevention Program Director Wilbur Brown at 966-8753. Regards, Roald Addendum to the President’s Update for Sept. 18, 2010 SEARHC hosts management training in Sitka, Juneau: SEARHC brought trainers Brenda Heinicke and Cindy Cook from the Institute of Applied Management and Law (IAML) to Alaska for a pair of two-day supervisor trainings, on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 9-10, in Sitka and Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 13-14, in Juneau. Heinicke, an attorney who discussed policy issues such as the Family Medical Leave Act and discrimination, led the first day of the training. Cook, a human resources consultant who discussed supervisory fundamentals such as interviews, job structure, and performance, led the second day. This training was so our managers and supervisors could receive the tools and know best practices in management of our human resources. ALERT founder/CEO Jorge Guimarães in Alaska for site visit: Jorge Guimarães, the founder/CEO of ALERT Life Sciences Computing, made his first trip to Alaska to check out how SEARHC’s implementation of the ALERT electronic health record software is going. Jorge visited Sitka on Tuesday, Sept. 14, and since then has been in Juneau to meet with his staff and SEARHC System Transformation staff on the implementation. Traveling with Jorge is ALERT Vice President Jerry Colachino. While Jorge is here, he is going through a punch list of prioritized issues that need to be corrected in the software. Having Jorge in Alaska is helping him see the scope of our project, and he deferred his scheduled trip to San Francisco so he could stay in Juneau to work with his staff on software updates. SEARHC presents at Central Council full staff meeting: On Friday, Sept. 17, we were invited to provide a health update to the full staff meeting of the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council). This gave us a chance to provide the latest information on the causes of illness and injury affecting our population. We shared current information on cancer, heart disease and unintentional injuries. Stephanie Zideck-Chandler gave an update and tips on managing personal health. Rowena Reeves spoke about the importance of tobacco cessation and smoke-free environments. We appreciate the opportunity to talk with the Central Council staff to share health information. We hope to be invited again to provide an update.