Partners Share Integration of the Nuka System of Care

During the conference, SCF President/CEO Dr. Katherine Gottlieb honored Paul Theodore with a drum and vest in recognition of his contributions to the Native Community and to culturally respectful care at SCF.

Southcentral Foundation hosted its 7th Annual Nuka System of Care Conference in Anchorage, Alaska, June 19–23 at the Alaska Native Health Campus. Despite attendees arriving from a variety of places — six different countries and 16 U.S. states — their stories shared many similarities. One of the values that brought more than 120 Nuka Conference attendees together is a strong commitment to their communities. A great way to ensure the success of a community is to ensure its health and wellness.

The State of Oregon has opted to expand their Medicaid program and to create coordinated care organizations, which integrate physical, behavioral and oral health care programs. One of these CCOs, Health Share of Oregon, sent a team of staff to SCF about 14 years ago to learn about the Nuka System of Care. In his keynote speech at this year’s conference, former chief medical officer of Health Share of Oregon, Dr. David Labby, emphasized the importance of understanding story, especially as it relates to population health. SCF’s Core Concepts, a training to develop communication and story-telling skills, was key for Labby and others to better understand and meet the needs of the populations they serve.

Another keynote speech was given by Cherokee Indian Hospital CEO, Casey Cooper. Cooper shared CIH’s transformation story, which began in 2003 when CIH opted for self-governance of their tribally-run health care system. In 2012, a team of CIH staff attended the Nuka Conference, to learn how SCF connects with the Native Community. Excited about what they learned and how it aligned with their values, CIH decided to commit fully to system reforms based on SCF’s Nuka System of Care.

by SCF Learning Institute

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