11th annual Raven’s Ball Luminary Award recipients announced

February 21, 2018

The Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s (ANTHC) charitable arm, will host the 11th annual Raven’s Ball on March 24 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage. The Raven’s Ball has garnered the reputation as one of Alaska’s most elegant black-tie celebrations and vibrant fundraising events. This year’s gala will continue the tradition of philanthropy that benefits the Foundation and its three key initiatives: improving medical care; strengthening wellness and prevention efforts; and promoting healthy village environments. An annual highlight of the 2018 Raven’s Ball will be the presentation of the Luminary Awards. Each year, the Luminary Awards recognize individuals for their dedication and outstanding contributions to the Alaska Tribal Health System and their communities. The Foundation Oversight Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Raven’s Ball Luminary Awards: The President’s Legacy and Leadership Award will be presented to Senator Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator for Alaska. Senator Murkowski has been a longtime supporter and friend of the Alaska Tribal Health System. Through her various congressional committee assignments, she has enacted legislation and provide critical federal funding to improve the health and lives of Alaska Native people. Senator Murkowski was instrumental in getting the Indian Health Service (IHS) to settle its contract support cost claims with Tribal health programs. She secured additional funding for the severely underfunded Village Built Clinic Lease Program and has been an unparalleled champion of sanitation infrastructure in rural Alaska. In 2017, her brave vote against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal efforts protected health care access for tens of thousands of Alaskans and the continued vitality of the Alaska Tribal Health System, by ensuring Alaska would not be negatively affected by cuts to Medicaid and ACA Marketplace subsidies. A Distinguished Provider Award will be presented to Aurora Johnson, Norton Sound Health Corporation Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT). Prior to the Dental Health Aide Therapist Program, there was a lack of adequate dental care in rural Alaska. With the goal of improving dental health in her community, Johnson uprooted her family and moved to New Zealand for two years to be a part of the first cohort of Alaskan DHATs. Following her training program, she moved back to Unalakleet in 2006 and has initiated an active prevention program and provides her community with restorative care. She has positively affected oral health outcomes in the region, teaching patients to care for their teeth, lowering the rates of tooth decay and improving overall health. Johnson has transformed the dental health in her region through the services she’s provided and a tireless dedication to her community. A second Distinguished Provider Award will be presented posthumously to Julie McNulty, RN, PhD, CPHQ, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. McNulty was a visionary, dedicated, passionate and hard-working nurse leader who worked in the Alaska Tribal Health System – first at the Alaska Area Native Health Service and later the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium – from 1993 until her death in March 2016 following a brave 18-month battle with cancer. She left a lasting legacy on health care in Alaska and was the driving force behind ANMC receiving Magnet designation in 2003, which is the highest honor bestowed to a health care organization for nursing excellence and awarded to only eight percent of hospitals in the U.S. McNulty was a mentor to nurses, pioneering both the Nursing Internship Program and the multidisciplinary Preceptor Development Program to strengthen nursing both at ANMC and throughout the Tribal Health System. Her published research on Cancer Survivorship in Rural and Urban Adults leads us to challenge long-held beliefs about the role of support for cancer survivors. Her efforts towards improving nursing research, evidence-based practice, nursing quality and community partnerships are immeasurable but felt throughout Alaska – in the programs she helped implement, the nurses she mentored and the quality health care delivered in our communities. The Community Spirit Award will be presented to Wilson Justin, community activist. Justin has dedicated his life to community health, education, and support and outreach programs. He is an outstanding advocate for culturally responsive education, especially health and wellness related education within the Alaska Tribal Health System. For over two decades, he has worked to bridge the distance between western medicine, traditional medicine and overall well-being. He has been a dedicated, unpaid volunteer and featured guest speaker and adjunct professor to a number of courses taught at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Alaska Anchorage, including courses such as Tribal Government in Alaska, a variety of Tribal court and justice courses, and Alaska Native cultural values. Justin helped move programs forward at the Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium, where he was the Health Director for 17 years. Wilson has mentored many Alaska Native scholars and leaders and has made life-long education and community service a way of life. For more information on the 2018 Raven’s Ball Luminary Awards, Raven’s Ball sponsorship and table information, or the Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation, please call (907) 729-5652 or visit www.inspiringgoodhealth.org.

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