Southcentral Foundation History

Southcentral Foundation is an Alaska Native-owned, nonprofit health care organization serving nearly 65,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people living in Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Borough and 55 rural villages in the Anchorage Service Unit.

Incorporated in 1982 under the Tribal authority of Cook Inlet Region, Inc., Southcentral Foundation is the largest of the CIRI nonprofits, employing more than 2,500 people in more than 80 programs.

Southcentral Foundation’s Vision is a Native Community that enjoys physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness; its Mission is to work together with the Native Community to achieve wellness through health and related services. The organization has developed and implemented comprehensive health-related services to meet the changing needs of the Native Community, enhance culture and empower individuals and families to take charge of their lives.

Southcentral Foundation’s first compact agreement under Public Law 93-638 began in 1984. The compact agreement provided dentistry, optometry, community health representatives and injury control services. A funding request to provide substance abuse treatment service was added in 1987.

Gradually, Southcentral Foundation increased its compact agreement capacity within the Anchorage Service Unit so that by late 1994 it was administering nearly half the primary care services for Alaska Native people.

The Alaska Native Medical Center opened its doors in May 1997. Earlier that year, Congress had passed Public Law 105-83, which included a section that enabled Alaska Native people to obtain ownership and management of all Alaska Native health care services.

In 1998, Southcentral Foundation completed the assumption of ownership and management of primary care and other programs located in the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center. Since the beginning of the assumption of services, Southcentral Foundation instituted significant philosophical changes and other changes in the design and administration of these programs. Southcentral Foundation instituted a total system-wide transformation of care, increasing the quality and adaptability of programs —and more importantly—the accountability of providers and customers alike. Alaska Native people are in charge of designing and delivering health care.

Southcentral Foundation Timeline 

• Cook Inlet Region Inc. (CIRI) establishes South¬central Foundation (SCF) as a 501c3 nonprofit.
• Cook Inlet Native Association operates a dental clinic at 670 W. Fireweed Lane that would later become SCF’s first clinic.

• Under CIRI’s tribal authority, SCF assumes the contract with the federal government to manage dental services, optometry, community health, and accident and injury prevention education in the region. (four programs/departments)

• SCF’s Optometry Clinic opens on Fireweed Lane.
• SCF enters into a contract for mental health. (five programs/departments)

• SCF grows to 24 employees, and Katherine Gottlieb joins the team as a receptionist.
• SCF adds substance abuse treatment and women’s health screenings, and expands services in the areas of health promotion and disease pre¬vention, family support and youth aftercare. (10 programs/departments)

• SCF evaluates natural helper/peer counselor best practices, and hires advocates to work in the hospital and help Alaska Native and American Indian people obtain the best possible care.

• SCF receives a grant for exploring and studying traditional healing practices.
• Katherine Gottlieb becomes SCF’s deputy director and current SCF Vice President Chanda Aloysius serves as her executive assistant.
• SCF launches Dena A Coy for pregnant women – the first residential treatment center of its kind. (11 programs/departments)

• CIRI transfers Head Start from Cook Inlet Tribal Council to SCF.
• SCF launches Quyana Clubhouse to serve chronically mentally ill adults.
• SCF establishes tobacco cessation services and holds its first cessation class. (14 programs/departments)

• SCF grows to 52 employees and five clinics.
• SCF begins planning for primary care services and conducts a survey to find out more about the wants, needs, values and priorities of its 14,000 customer-owners.

• SCF opens its first orthodontic clinic, and enters into contracts for family medicine and psychiatric care.
• SCF receives its first cancer screening grant under the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. (18 programs/departments)

• SCF launches its Elder Program to assist Elders with their health care and home maintenance needs.
• Current SCF Vice Presidents Dr. Doug Eby and Ileen Sylvester join the SCF team. (19 programs/departments)

• SCF, CIRI and IHS break ground to build the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center (ANPCC).
• Nine youth participate in SCF’s new summer internship program.
• Current SCF Vice President Michelle Tierney joins the SCF team, and SCF Executive Director Katherine Gottlieb is named president/CEO. (20 programs/departments)

• SCF moves into 4501 Diplomacy Drive, which later becomes its administration building.
• The new Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) opens as the largest IHS facility in the country.
• Current SCF Vice President Lee Olson joins the SCF team.

• CIRI signs papers to name SCF as its tribally designated health care entity, and SCF obtains ownership and management of primary care and related services at ANMC.
• SCF’s inaugural Gathering takes place to cel¬ebrate family wellness and share health informa¬tion with the community.

• ANMC transfers to Alaska Native ownership. SCF and Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) sign a co-ownership and co-manage¬ment agreement, and establish a joint operating board, logo and mission statement.
• An SCF Elder council certifies SCF’s first tribal doctor.
• SCF hosts a ceremony to thank U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and CIRI for their support of the ANPCC.
• SCF’s Family Wellness Warriors Initiative (FWWI) forms a steering committee. (21 programs/departments)

• SCF hosts a site dedication ceremony for an expansion of the ANPCC.
• After four moves in five years, Quyana Club¬house gets a permanent home.
• SCF establishes a fetal alcohol syndrome diagnostic clinic.
• Construction on the ANPCC more than doubles the size of the facility.
• SCF begins to empanel customer-owners, and offer integrated care teams, same-day access, complementary medicine, and much more.

• SCF opens new facilities for The Pathway Home and Dena A Coy.
• New wing of the ANPCC opens with a tradi¬tional healing clinic and other services requested by customer-owners.
• SCF grows to 700 employees and creates a Development Center for employee training.

• SCF’s FWWI hosts a series of family wellness workshops in conjunction with the Alaska Fed¬eration of Natives Convention.
• SCF breaks ground for the Fireweed Building, a new, three-story clinic.
• SCF celebrates its 20th anniversary.

• SCF’s new Fireweed Building opens with dental, optometry and behavioral health services.
• SCF revamps the empanelment process to include appointments with representatives who help screen for eligibility for outside financial resources.
• In partnership with representatives from the Iliamna Lake villages and the Denali Commission, construction begins on the Nilavena Subregional Clinic in the remote community of Iliamna, Alaska.

• The Russian Orthodox Church participates in FWWI education and training.
• SCF President/CEO Katherine Gottlieb receives the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius award.”

• The SCF Elder Program moves to a new location and broadens its services.
• SCF opens its Valley Native Primary Care Center in Wasilla, Alaska, for customer-owners living 45 to 75 miles north of Anchorage.
• SCF submits its first application to the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.

• At the urging of a youth intern, SCF imple¬ments a tobacco-free campus policy on the day of the annual Great American Smokeout.
• SCF opens its Health Education & Wellness Center for customer-owners and employees.

• SCF opens its Employee Family Center, a day care for the children of SCF employees.

• SCF builds a parking garage and breaks ground to prepare for an 80,000-square-foot expansion of the ANPCC.
• SCF launches Core Concepts, a relationship building training for all employees.
• SCF’s Alaska Women’s Recovery Project opens a gathering place for women to support their re¬covery through expanded peer-to-peer services.

• SCF completes the three-story, 80,000-square-foot expansion of the ANPCC to accommodate the growth in the number of customer-owners in the region.
• SCF’s FWWI relocates to a larger campus; just one mile west of most of SCF’s other facilities in Anchorage.

• In partnership with the McGrath Native Village Council, the City of McGrath, MTNT, Denali Com¬mission and ANTHC, SCF completes construction on the new McGrath Subregional Health Center in the remote community of McGrath, Alaska.

• SCF hosts its inaugural Nuka System of Care Conference, with 150 participants from all over the world.
• SCF breaks ground for a new Valley Native Primary Care Center in Wasilla, Alaska, to serve the rapidly growing population.
• SCF launches a comprehensive public aware¬ness campaign on youth suicide prevention.
• SCF is one of four recipients of the 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

• SCF serves 58,000 customer-owners, offers 65 programs and maintains a workforce of 1,500 employees.
• SCF celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Alaska Native Medical Center History

In 1999, Southcentral Foundation and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium signed an agreement to take over ownership and management of the entire Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC).

As the parent organizations, Southcentral Foundation and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium worked together to establish a Joint Operating Board to set policy and direction for ANMC. The Southcentral Foundation Board of Directors and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Board of Directors both appoint representatives to serve as voting members of the Joint Operating Board. Also, the Southcentral Foundation President/CEO, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium CEO, the ANMC Administrator, and the ANMC Medical Director serve as non-voting members. This approach ensures unified operation of the health care delivery system.

The mission of ANMC is “working together with the Native Community to achieve wellness by providing the highest quality health services for all Alaska Natives”—is unique in that it combines the mission and vision of Southcentral Foundation and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.

Lastly, whereas most Southcentral Foundation programs are offered to residents of Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, and villages within the rural Anchorage Service Unit, the jointly owned and managed Alaska Native Medical Center serves the entire Alaska Native and American Indian population of the state – an estimated 108,000 people (based on U.S. Census data).