Southcentral Foundation to Host 2017 Nuka Conference

Since its inaugural conference in 2011, Southcentral Foundation has welcomed Nuka Conference attendees from all over the world. Conference-goers have visited from 30 U.S. states, six Canadian provinces, and traveled across oceans from places as far as Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Scotland, and Singapore to learn about a system of health care shaped by Alaska Native people.

Health care organizations around the world are facing ever-increasing pressure to provide better care at a lower cost. Many of them have found that their current models are not economically sustainable and, more importantly, do not prioritize the overall health and well-being of customers.

Southcentral Foundation’s Nuka System of Care is a name given to the whole health care system created, managed, and owned by Alaska Native people to achieve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Nuka is an Alaska Native word used for strong, giant structures and living things. The relationship-based Nuka System of Care is comprised of organizational strategies and processes; medical, behavioral, dental, and traditional practices; and supporting infrastructure that work together—in relationship—to support wellness. By putting relationships at the forefront of health care, the Nuka System of Care will continue to develop and improve for future generations. The Nuka System of Care has won national and international recognition for its sustained success over the course of three decades.

Dr. David Labby and Casey Cooper have recognized what the Nuka System of Care has to offer the health care industry. They will be the keynote speakers at this year’s conference, along with SCF President/CEO Dr. Katherine Gottlieb. Labby was the Chief Medical Officer of Health Share of Oregon, a Coordinated Care Organization that serves 220,000 Medicaid enrollees in the Tri-County region around Portland, Oregon. Cooper is the CEO of Cherokee Indian Hospital (CIH), a facility owned and operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. SCF has worked with CIH to create a version of SCF’s Core Concepts training tailored for their organization. The training is called The Right Way, and it launched in December 2016 to a positive reception from CIH’s employees.

For more information about SCF’s Nuka System of Care, visit

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