Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation announces 2017 Luminary Award recipients

February 3, 2017

The Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s (ANTHC) charitable arm, will host the 10th annual Raven’s Ball on March 25 at the Hotel Captain Cook in Anchorage. The Raven’s Ball is one of Alaska’s premier black tie celebrations and dynamic fundraising events. This year’s ball will continue a tradition of success that benefits the Foundation and its three key initiatives: improving medical care; strengthening wellness and prevention efforts; and promoting healthy village environments. A highlight of the 2017 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 2017 Raven’s Ball Luminary Awards: The President’s Legacy and Leadership Award will be presented to Senator Dan Sullivan, U.S. Senator for Alaska. Senator Sullivan is a tireless advocate for improvements to the Tribal Health Care System, particularly through his effort to pass the Water Resource Development Act of 2016 (later renamed as the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 (WIIN)), which included several key provisions vital to Alaska’s water and wastewater infrastructure. The most notable provision authorizes $300 million over five years for a grant program to address water and wasterwater infrastructure needs in small and disadvantaged communities.  Working in consultation with ANTHC, Senator Sullivan was able to draft the legislation to ensure that Alaska Native communities are well positioned to be a major beneficiary of the program in addressing their unmet water and wastewater needs. A Distinguished Provider Award will be presented to Thomas Bornstein, DDS, Dental Department, SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. Dr. Tom Bornstein is a career-long advocate of Alaska Native oral health, and a truly remarkable public health visionary. Through his innovation, persistence and commitment to core public health principles, thousands of Alaska Native people have had their lives improved through oral health. Dr. Bornstein was instrumental in laying the foundation of today’s world-acclaimed Alaska Dental Health Aide Therapist Program, which has revolutionized access to oral health care for Alaska Native people. A second Distinguished Provider Award will be presented to Rita Blumenstein, Traditional Doctor, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. “Dr. Rita”, as she is affectionately known, was the first certified traditional doctor in Alaska, combining traditional Alaska Native healing techniques with modern medicine. She has made outstanding contributions locally and globally, while navigating modern technologies and providing a grounding in traditional Alaska Native ways of healing and care. The Community Spirit Award will be presented to Samuel Johns, social media and community activist. Johns has become a beacon of hope for our Alaska Native homeless population, and inspires youth to live a sober life and make a difference in our Alaska Native communities. His work with the Forget-Me-Not Movement, connecting homeless Alaska Native people with their families and communities, has inspired thousands of other Alaskans to join with him and support the group’s efforts. For more information on the 2017 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

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