President’s Update for Sept. 7, 2012

In this edition...

In this edition …

SEARHC honors National Recovery Month in September: September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, and SEARHC is partnering with community programs throughout the region to host special events in Sitka, Juneau and Prince of Wales Island during this month. In Sitka, SEARHC has two keynote events for the month — a canoe journey/potluck dinner on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the SEARHC At Kaník Hít Community Health building, and a recovery walk/potlatch on Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi. In Juneau, SEARHC’s main event is a recovery walk from Marine Park in downtown Juneau to Sandy Beach in Douglas followed by a barbecue potluck on Saturday, Sept. 15. Our Prince of Wales Behavioral Health staff will be making presentations to schools this month about substance abuse and mental illness recovery. To learn more about National Recovery Month (including a calendar of events in Southeast), go to http://www.searhc.org/common/pages/pressreleases/detail.php?id=339.

Back to top

Prince of Wales hosts presentation on ‘Aging, Medicines and Alcohol:’ Prince of Wales Island seniors and their loved ones are invited to a free presentation on “Aging, Medicines and Alcohol,” from 10-11:30 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, at the Klawock Senior Center. This presentation is sponsored by Whale Tail Pharmacy, SEARHC and Southeast Senior Services. Among older people, there is reason for concern about mixing alcohol and drugs. Combining prescriptions with alcohol can be deadly at any age, but especially for seniors. Also, a high percentage of hospitalized seniors show signs of alcohol abuse and/or the misuse of prescription drugs. This presentation will include tips for family members about how to reduce the risks and what to do if they need to intervene. To learn more, contact SEARHC Behavioral Health Clinician Kathleen Wescott, MA, at 755-4931.

Back to top

SEARHC hosts FASD expert John Hays for community presentation in Sitka: SEARHC will host FASD expert John Hays and his wife, Holiday, for a community presentation about “Relationship Parenting” at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24, at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi in Sitka. John and Holiday Hays (http://www.hayskids.org/) have adopted 15 children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) over the years, and they will provide encouragement for families and coping skills to help parents better raise their struggling children. In addition to their community presentation in Sitka, they will meet with local health providers and schools in Sitka, Juneau and Hoonah. Also, Sunday, Sept. 9, is World FASD Awareness Day and several restaurants around the state are providing information tents about FASD and free non-alcoholic beverages for pregnant women. FASD is the umbrella name used for more than 100 types of disorders that happen to a child when a pregnant woman drinks. These disorders can result in permanent birth defects and/or physical, mental, behavioral and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. It’s easier to help a child who has one or more of the disorders associated with FASD develop when you can diagnoses the disorders early. For more information, contact Gayle Young at 966-8815.

Back to top

National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 9-15 and World Suicide Prevention Day is Sept. 10: The SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention program and the “1 is 2 Many” suicide prevention task force for Southeast Alaska have been planning events for National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 9-15) and World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10). One of the main projects is working with schools across Alaska to create “Walls of Hope,” where students will write down words or phrases (ideally three of them) about things in their life that make it worth living. This project is collaboration between the Alaska Association of Student Governments, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, SEARHC, the Alaska Statewide Suicide Prevention Council, the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the Alaska Mental Health Board, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Division of Behavioral Health, and numerous schools and school districts around the state. The SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention program staff already has contacted people in some Southeast communities, but may need local champions to help bring this project to our communities. For more information and to offer to help, please contact SEARHC Behavioral Health/Suicide Prevention program community project organizer Megan Gregory in Juneau at 463-6645 or by e-mail at megan.gregory@searhc.org. She can help put you in contact with people from your community already working on the project, or help you find out what you need to do to get the project launched in your community.

Back to top

Sitka Health Summit changes schedule to accommodate ANB/ANS Grand Camp: The dates for the 2012 Sitka Health Summit have changed in order to avoid a conflict with the 100th anniversary Alaska Native Brotherhood/Alaska Native Sisterhood Grand Camp happening in early October in Sitka. The new schedule for the Sitka Health Summit is as follows (remember these are new venues this year, so check the schedule for each event’s location):

  • Sitka Community Health Fair — Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Sweetland Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus (with Alaska Health Fair Inc. providing low-cost blood tests and health screenings, and information booths from a variety of local health-related organizations and businesses).
  • “Exercise Is Medicine” Lunch-and-Learn with Don Lehmann, MD — Monday, Oct. 8, from noon to 1 p.m., at Kettleson Memorial Library (bring your lunch and listen to a presentation from the 2011 Sitka Health Summit keynote speaker).
  • Sitka Health Summit Community Wellness Champions Awards Celebration — Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi (desserts and awards for community members whose healthy habits inspire us all).
  • Sitka Health Summit “Planning Day: Selecting Community Wellness Goals” — Friday, Oct. 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Sweetland Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus (Sitka residents pick our projects for next year).

More details about this year’s Sitka Health Summit will be available soon at http://www.sitkahealthsummit.com/. The Sitka Health Summit started in 2007 when SEARHC and Sitka Community Hospital invited other health providers in Sitka to join together to create a community event centered on health and wellness.

Back to top

Martha Pearson presents to CDC panel on effective project officer technical assistance: SEARHC Community Transformation Grant Manager Martha Pearson, who also manages our WISEFAMILIES Through Customary and Traditional Knowledge grants, recently presented by videoconference to 300 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff on the subject of effective project officer technical assistance. The presentation was part of a program “Project Officers and Grantees: The Power of Effective Technical Assistance.” The meeting was so popular, the CDC ran out of phone and video lines. So a second presentation was scheduled, and Martha had to be ready to present again at 3 a.m. Alaska time (7 a.m. Eastern) on Friday, Sept. 7. This is a nice opportunity for SEARHC to share its history of more than a decade of working with CDC on grant-funded programs like Women's Health, WISEWOMAN, Tobacco and Traditional Foods.

Back to top

Sealaska, Central Council sponsor ‘Get Out The Native Vote’ campaign: Sealaska Corp. and the Central Council of Tlingít and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (Central Council) are teaming up to sponsor a “Get Out The Native Vote” campaign this election year. This is part of a national “Native Vote 2012” campaign designed to remind Alaska Natives and Native Americans that every vote counts. The two Southeast Alaska organizations are planning a voter education event the week of Sept. 23 to help Southeast Alaska Natives learn more about their candidates and why it’s important to vote in local elections this October (most communities vote on Oct. 2, but check your date) and in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6 (this is the election for state legislative candidates and for the president of the United States). To learn more about the campaign, go to http://www.sealaska.com/object/io_1345758749101.html or http://www.nativevote.org/page/website-tools.

Back to top

Just a reminder …

Fall 2012 mobile mammogram van schedule concludes Haines visit, then heads to Skagway: 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 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). The van already visited Hoonah on this season’s schedule. 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/.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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).

Back to top

Charles Clement SEARHC President/CEO

Charles Clement

Just a reminder...