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Southcentral Foundation Places First in National Institutes of Health Storytelling Challenge

Southcentral Foundation received top honors from the National Institutes of Health’s Tribal Health Research Office storytelling challenge.

SCF Celebrated National Dental Assistant Recognition Week

National Dental Assistant Week was established by the American Dental Association in 1976 to acknowledge the skills and contributions of dental assistants. SCF greatly appreciates what our dental assistants do for our customer-owners and dental employees

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Former RAISE Intern Shares Story of Growth

Former RAISE intern Riley Stewman shares his story of growth and success in this first-person narrative of his journey with SCF.

February is Children’s Dental Health Month

February is Children’s Dental Health month!

Children’s Dental Health Month has been celebrated and promoted since 1981, bringing together thousands of oral health professionals such as hygienists, dentists, and pediatric dentists to promote the benefits of good oral health to children (and adults).

The Southcentral Foundation Dental Clinic is dedicated to promoting and providing oral care to over 60,000 Alaska Native and American Indian customer-owners in the Anchorage service unit.  Our clinic and employees participate in providing education at preschools, health fairs and gathering events sponsored by communities and Native corporations throughout the year.

Attitudes and habits established at an early age are critical in maintaining good oral health throughout life. By participating in the annual celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, members of the dental team, parents, teachers and others can help keep children’s smiles beautiful now and for years to come.

~ The American Dental Association

 

What are you doing to promote good oral health?

Oral care is a shared responsibility and extends beyond annual visits to the dentist. 

It is important for anyone caring for a child, including caregivers, medical providers, and teachers to promote a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily oral care, nutrition, and education.

Parents can be positive role models by caring for their own teeth and showing children that brushing and flossing are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents can help by giving children healthy snacks. When a child is at a sleepover, encourage brushing before bedtime to reduce the risk of cavities.

Medical providers, including doctors, nurses, and certified medical assistants can remind parents to schedule a child’s first visit before or when the teeth start to erupt into the mouth or schedule annual visits for older children.  Providers can ask about habits such as brushing and snacking to incorporate a risk assessment into their well-baby exams. Pediatricians can apply fluoride varnish at visits.

Daycare facilities can provide healthy snacks that are “teeth friendly” such as fresh fruits, vegetable and cheese, as well as encouraging brushing after meals while at school. Teachers can incorporate activities in their classroom to have children learn about teeth and their importance or ask a dental professional to present to their class.

Alaska Native children have some of the highest rates of decay in the United States.

 SCF Dental is committed to providing quality dental care and education to our children (and adults), but encourage everyone to do their part to promote oral health 365 days a year!  When children learn, from an early age, the importance of good oral health, we can be successful in reducing decay in the Alaska Native and American Indian people.

To find out when the SCF Dental team will be out in the lobby near you, check out our Facebook Page.

Customer-Owners Can Access SCF Research Online

Have you ever been curious about what Southcentral Foundation Research does? This information is now available on southcentralfoundation.com, where you can find updates on projects, learn about opportunities to join studies, and find helpful resources. The Research webpage includes four parts: introductions to research employees, descriptions of current studies and status updates, a list of publications with links to full articles, and information about SCF’s Tribal Review Process.

As a customer-owner, you may wonder why this information is important.

All studies conducted at SCF have two primary goals:

• Investigate health concerns that customer-owners express to SCF’s Board of Directors.
• Help improve overall health for Alaska Natives and American Indians.

As customer-owners, your opinions matter. Your participation helps inform SCF research projects, provides data, and shapes the Nuka System of Care.

“We have consistently heard that people in the Alaska Native and American Indian Community want to know what kind of research is going on and what is being found,” SCF Director of Research Denise Dillard said. “We have struggled to find ways to most effectively communicate to the 65,000 customer-owners SCF serves. So I am excited to have the website available so we can try to do a better job of getting the word out.”

For more information on research project findings or to enroll in a research project, please call SCF Research at (907) 729-8623 or go click here. You can also stop by their booth at the 20th Annual Gathering on Saturday, February 4th at the Egan Center in Anchorage.

 

The Gathering Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

On Feb. 4, Southcentral Foundation will host The Gathering, a family-friendly community health fair that is free and open to the general public. The Gathering is a congregation of people and cultures that is attended by nearly 3,000 people each year. Individuals and families of all backgrounds and ages are welcome to come enjoy a variety of age-appropriate activities, learning opportunities, giveaways, and entertainment. This year’s celebration marks the 20th anniversary of the event and will take place from 10:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. at the Egan Civic and Convention Center in Anchorage.

The Gathering was conceived by SCF leadership back in the late 90s. The vision was to honor the Alaska Native tradition of bringing people together with family and friends to visit, eat, dance, and share. However, this event does more than honor tradition, it opens its doors to the entire community to share health information and to celebrate the benefits of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness.

Throughout the years, The Gathering has seen a variety of participants and attendees. Alaska’s political leaders have attended and are enthusiastic supporters. Last year, Governor Walker attended, and in years past, Congressman Don Young, Senator Lisa Murkowski, the late Senator Ted Stevens, and others have also joined in the festivities.

Perhaps most notably, Golden Globe nominated actress Irene Bedard, who starred in Smoke Signals and as the voice of Disney’s Pocahontas, celebrated with SCF in 2012 by attending The Gathering. She met with attendees and autographed memorabilia for fans.

New additions that SCF is excited to present at the 20th Annual Gathering include the Family Wellness Zone, a SCF Health Education-run area where adults and children can participate in activities as a family; an incredible magic show with magician, Magic by Robbie; and story time, a place for families to experience the exciting power of narrative. Returning family favorites include complimentary carriage rides, face painting, and free tax preparation!

Please join us at The Gathering to learn more about Alaska Native culture and healthy living, and enjoy connecting with the community.

New Online Fitness Resource Launched by Health Ed

Health care information shouldn’t be hard to access; with My AK Wellness, it’s easy. Smartphones keep a variety of essential resources close at hand: camera, maps, shopping, email, and more; Southcentral Foundation wants to put health care within reach too.

My AK Wellness, an online fitness and wellness resource, was designed to help customer-owners achieve their health and wellness goals. The tool is free and available to those ages 18 and older.
The confidential website provides resources that provide customer-owners with the ability to:

• Track your food and exercise.
• Log health information such as weight, blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol.
• Sync your activity tracker (e.g., Garmin or Fitbit) and upload achievements
• Participate in wellness contests to win prizes.
• Create personalized meal plans with shopping lists.
• Help create work-out routines (complete with exercise videos).
• and more!

SCF understands that one health plan does not fit everyone’s needs, which is why My AK Wellness is personalized for each customer-owner. The full My AK Wellness experience comes when a participant completes the personal health assessment (PHA), which is a survey that asks questions about health, nutrition, exercise, emotions/stress, and more. After completing the PHA, the program will provide resources specific to the individual participant’s needs, allow them to browse through meal plans, including diabetic and vegetarian plans, view health risks, and make a plan to address them.

My AK Wellness doesn’t just provide information, it receives it too! Customers can engage in two-way conversations with a health coach or dietitian. When you are on your wellness journey and have questions or concerns, you can message them directly. A health coach specializes in health education and disease prevention but does not replace your primary care provider, instead, they become a part of your primary care team.

For questions about My AK Wellness, please contact SCF Health Education at (907) 729-2689. To gain access to tools that promote healthy living go to https://myakwellness.cernerwellness.com

Dr. Matt Hirschfeld Receives Ray Helfer Award

In early December, Alaska Children’s Trust awarded Dr. Matt Hirschfeld with the prestigious Ray Helfer Award. Established by the National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds and the American Academy of Pediatrics, this award is given to a pediatrician who demonstrates a significant contribution to the well-being and health of children.

Congratulations to the December Graduates of the Dental Assistant Training Program

We would like to welcome the December 2016 SCF Dental Assistant Training Program graduates to the SCF Dental team. Our dental assistants are fully qualified to provide quality dental care for our customer-owners. These students completed a four month training course where they were mentored and trained by SCF instructors, learning and development specialists, and dentists.