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ANTHC Health Aide Training Programs named Harvard Honoring Nations finalist

August 8, 2018

In July, Harvard Honoring Nations committee members conducted a daylong site visit of ANTHC’s three health aide training programs, collaboratively known as the Tribal Community Health Provider Programs. Following the site visit, ANTHC has been named a finalist for the 2018 Honoring Nations award.

According to The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development, “Honoring Nations identifies, celebrates and shares excellence in American Indian tribal governance. At the heart of Honoring Nations are the principles that tribes themselves hold the key to generating social, political, and economic prosperity and that self-governance plays a crucial role in building and sustaining strong, healthy Indian Nations.”

“It is such an honor for the Consortium to be considered as a finalist for the 2018 Honoring Nations award,” said Dr. Tina Woods, ANTHC Senior Director of Community Health Services. “Our health aide providers are the foundation of the Alaska Tribal Health System. Through self-determination, our people receive health care closer to home.”

ANTHC’s Community Health Aide, Dental Health Aide and Behavioral Health Aide training programs are uniquely Alaska Native centered programs in Alaska dedicated to expanding culturally appropriate health care at the village level. These programs train Alaska Native people who are on the front line of rural health care, addressing community members’ medical, dental and behavioral health needs.

Visiting the ANTHC training programs on the site visit were Senior Harvard Project Fellows Catherine Curtis and Jonathan Taylor, and Dr. Dennis Norman, Faculty Chair, Harvard University Native American Program and Senior Psychologist, Massachusetts General Hospital.

The day started with an overview of the Alaska Tribal Health System, presented by Andy Teuber, ANTHC President and Chairman, and Roald Helgesen, ANTHC CEO and Hospital Administrator. Dr. Woods dove deeper into the health aide training programs.

Three community Elders and Tribal leaders then gave personal accounts of the positive impact health aides have in rural Alaska Native communities. Anna Frank, former Health Aide with Tanana Chiefs Conference, James Sipray, Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation, and Mary Schaffer, Maniilaq Association, gave stirring accounts of their time as recipients of health care in their rural areas from health aides and testament to how the programs are the backbone of health care in our rural Native communities.

“Our Elders’ heartfelt memories and stories of health aides providing care for our people closer to home undeniably tells the story of how important Tribal Sovereignty is to our people,” Woods added.

The visiting Harvard Honoring Nations spent the rest of the day visiting ANTHC’s Dental Health Aide Training Center, the new Education and Development Center, the Community Health Aide Training Center and took a tour of the Alaska Native Medical Center hospital. They also enjoyed a taste of traditional foods during lunch including fresh salmon and akutaq (Eskimo ice cream).

ANTHC has been invited to Denver to make a public presentation at the National Congress of American Indians conference in October. At the conference, Harvard Honoring Nations will name the award recipients.

Learn more about Honoring Nations and the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development:

In 2016, Harvard Honoring Nations awarded the Alaska Rural Utility Collaborative, an ANTHC program that was created to manage, operate and maintain water/sewer systems in rural Alaska, with its highest honor. Read more:

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