Statewide health and prevention services

Our health is rooted in our traditional values, cultures, families, and communities — in partnership across Alaska. Despite Alaska’s unique features among different regions, we come together to better our health and strengthen our communities.

Like the rings of a fishing net, our strength is tied to one another across the state. And like a fishing net, if one ring develops a hole, the strength of the entire net is compromised.

Creating a stronger net of health, ANTHC and Tribal health organizations work with the state to: set health priorities based on data; more education for dental therapists; deeper understanding of trauma through an interactive walk across history; construction projects to increase access to sewer and water; and ensuring our services are accessible and easy to navigate for all of our patients and caregivers.

Healthy Alaskans 2030

Alaska’s diverse terrain, people and cultures provides a challenging opportunity to deliver health care. Healthy Alaskans 2030, the state’s health improvement plan, is a continued effort between ANTHC and the State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).

Through shared goals, united efforts, and collective accountability, HA 2030 works to address health inequities and improve health for all Alaskans. This partnership makes Alaska the only state whose health improvement plan is led in partnership between the state and Tribal leaders.

Tribal leaders and DHSS staff lead the creation and implementation of HA2030. Composed of 15 priority health topics, containing 30 health objectives, the joint effort provides data-driven goals for improving the health of all Alaskans.

These priorities were selected based on data and input from Alaskan residents and subject matter experts. Within each of the 15 priority health topics contain objectives with strategies and actions for communities and organizations to adopt in support of their goals moving the state toward the plan’s 2030 targets.

Health education: Dental Health Aide Therapist program earns American Dental Association accreditation

The American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) granted accreditation to the dental therapy education program at Iḷisaġvik College in Utqiaġvik. The Commission is responsible for accrediting all U.S. education programs for dentists and dental hygienists.

In Alaska, dental therapists work to provide regular access to dental care for 40,000 people living in rural communities strengthening each communities net of health.

Alaska Blanket Exercise unfolds layers of cultural trauma for behavioral health healing

Community Health Services established the Alaska Blanket Exercise, a history lesson developed in collaboration with Alaska Native Elders, knowledge keepers and educators. The participatory exercise is aimed at fostering truth, understanding, respect, and reconciliation among Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Participants gain knowledge and understanding of Alaska Native peoples’ history and develop or deepen an understanding of the impacts of intergenerational trauma. The experiential activity guides participants to develop an understanding of what they can do in their own lives and communities to break cycles of intergenerational trauma.

Healthy Homes and Communities

After a statewide pull back from construction in March, ANTHC staff returned to communities in June following the development of our COVID-19 Safety Plan. As of Sept. 1, ANTHC’s Environmental Health and Engineering provided water and sewer service to 67 homes, 26 of those following COVID-19 shutdowns. This includes service to homes in the unserved communities of Akiachak and Lower Kalskag, unserved subdivisions of Elim and individual homes along the road system with our Scattered Sites Program. In Kivalina, ANTHC installed the Portable Alternative Sanitation System (PASS) units for 25 more homes.

ANTHC’s continued work on this important health infrastructure has completed new services to more than 100 homes in 2020.

Additionally, communities and Tribal health organizations have received over $120 million in sanitation funding and $25 million in competitive federal funding for health facilities with technical assistance from ANTHC’s grant teams. This was in addition to IHS-provided $1.1 million in CARES Act funding for ANTHC to complete critical water and sewer repairs in five communities, watering point installation or repairs in seven communities, and to purchase three months of water treatment chemicals for 122 communities around the state.

ANTHC regional field offices provide additional support services

ANTHC recognizes the diversity of the services we provide and that it can be challenging to navigate. To better support our patients and partners, the Consortium employs regional ANTHC liaisons to work at field offices within Tribal health organizations across the state. These regional liaisons are trained in how to navigate the Consortium and work to educate patients about the services available and sustain and improve coordination and communication between patients and medical providers when they visit the Alaska Native Medical Center.

As of September 2020, ANTHC hired six regional liaisons and established six field offices with THOs, including: Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation (BBAHC); Copper River Native Association (CRNA), supporting and visiting Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium (MSTC) and Chitina Traditional Indian Village Council; Norton Sound Health Corporation (NSHC); SouthEast Regional Health Corporation (SEARHC); Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC), and Kodiak Area Native Association (KANA).

We are also looking to fill field offices with liaisons to work with the Aleutian-Pribilof Island Association (APIA) and Eastern Aleutian Tribes (EAT), Ketchikan Indian Community (KIC), and their Tribal partner the Organized Village of Saxman.

By the numbers: 5 – new leading health indicators in HA2030; 67 – number of homes with first time water service; 23,000 labor hours in 11 communities by local employees.

Regional Liaisons