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Luminary Award Spotlight: Community Health Aides and Practitioners of Savoonga

May 7, 2016




Our Healthy Alaska Native Foundation Luminary Award winners are individuals recognized for their exceptional dedication and contributions to the Alaska Tribal Health System. Awards were presented April 2, and we are highlighting the winners.

The Distinguished Provider Award was presented to the Savoonga Community Health Aides and Practitioners of the Norton Sound Health Corporation for their dedication to their community’s health. They are Rosemary Akeya, Jordan Annogiyuk, Brianne Gologergen, Dorothy Kava, Danielle Reynolds, and Mary Ann Seppilu.

As the only full-time health care providers for their remote island community, the Savoonga Health Aides’ resilience and strength is put to the test on a daily basis as they are called upon to make difficult decisions, overcome significant obstacles, practice new medical techniques, and save lives in emergency situations.

In 2011, they were recognized by Gov. Sean Parnell with 2011 Emergency Medical Services Provider Award for saving a gunshot wound victim. All of the providers are committed to advancing in their profession and learning new skills to serve their community, with almost all of them reaching the level of Community Health Practitioner. They are dedicated to team oriented care in the face of difficult decisions and significant obstacles, and are well respected in their community and have made a significant difference in the lives of the patients in Savoonga.

A video tribute to the Savoonga Health Aides can be seen online here. An article on the Savoonga team also appeared in the Alaska Dispatch News: The team that holds the line between life and death in Savoonga.

Next week, we will feature the winner of the 2016 Luminary Award Community Spirit Award, Mike Williams, Sr. You can also read about the President’s Legacy & Leadership awardee, Dr. Matthew Schnellbaecher here. Luminary Award nominations are accepted in the fall.


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