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This Leadership Team Newsletter is published every two weeks by the Dean's Office in the College of Health at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

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The UAA College of Health advances the health and well being of people and communities
August 24, 2017
Dr. Janet Johnston Appointed Interim Director of ICHS
Dr. Janet Johnston, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, was appointed interim director for the Institute of Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS). Dr. Johnston received her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. She has served as the biostatistician for ICHS since 2011, taking time off in 2016 for a stint with the Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services. Her current areas of research focus are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) prevention and health care utilization in homeless populations. Prior to joining UAA, Dr. Johnston served as Health Research Director and Senior Epidemiologist for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Co-Principal Investigator for the Coordinating Center for the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation. Dr. Johnston can be reached at 786-6568 or A nationwide search for a new director will be launched soon.
Congratulations to All COH Faculty Promotions!
Congratulations to the following COH faculty members who received promotions.

Philippe Amstislavski
- promoted to tenure. Philippe joined the Department of Health Sciences in 2014 and teaches courses in Biostatistics, Circumpolar Health Issues, Environmental and Occupational Health, and GIS. His research focuses on examining the feasibility of Mycelium-based bioinsulation material for geoengineering applications.
Ryan Fortson - promoted to Associate Professor of Justice with tenure. Ryan joined UAA in 2012 and teaches classes in Advanced Litigation, Evidence, Investigation and Discovery, Family Law, Jurisprudence, and Tribal Courts and Alaska Native Rights. He is the state coordinator for the Alaska High School Mock Trial Competition.
Kristen Knudsen - promoted to Associate Professor of Justice with tenure. Kristen joined UAA in 2012 and is the program coordinator for Legal Studies. Before joining UAA, she served 17 years as an assistant Attorney General and eight years as an Administrative Law Judge.
Troy Payne - promoted to Associate Professor of Justice with tenure. Troy joined UAA in 2010 and created a Crime Analysis and Mapping course. In addition to peer-reviewed research, he has completed several applied research projects with the Anchorage Police Department and Alaska State Troopers.
Ammie Tremblay - promoted to Associate Professor of Nursing with tenure. Since joining UAA in 2011, Ammie has taught an obstetrical nursing course in which she incorporated simulation experiences for her students. She has also been co-chair of the UAA Interprofessional Simulation Committee.
Patrick Cunningham - promoted to Professor of Social Work. Over the 28 years he has been with the school, Patrick has taught a variety of program courses, including Introduction to Social Welfare, Introduction to Social Work, Communities and Organization, and Geriatric Social Work Practice, Policy, and Practice.
Stephanie Olson - promoted to Professor of Dental Assisting. Stephanie has been the director of the UAA Dental Assisting Program since 2001. In addition to 17 years of teaching, she received a service appointment in 2015 with the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation as a site visitor.
(l-r) Kathy Craft, Dean/Vice Provost Jeff Jessee, Stephanie Olson, Kristen Knudsen, Ryan Fortson, Troy Payne, Philippe Amstislavski, Interim Provost Duane Hrncir, and Andre Rosay. Not pictured: Ammie Tremblay and Patrick Cunningham
Unit Updates
School of Allied Health - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

UAA Dental Hygiene Students Score High on Board Exams
UAA's Dental Hygiene program has a history of excellence in teaching and learning. In March, students from the graduating dental hygiene class took their National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (NBDHE), and in May they sat for their Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) clinical exams. The NBDHE is a comprehensive national examination from the American Dental Association that is required in every state for dental hygiene licensure. For the past 10 years, every student in UAA's Dental Hygiene program has passed the 8-hour NBDHE test on their first attempt. Results also revealed the composite scores for UAA students were 2.31 standard deviations above the national average.
A brave junior dental hygiene student sitting as a patient for a senior student practicing local anesthesia. The cotton tipped wooden sticks apply topical prior to needle placement.
The UAA Dental Hygiene
program qualifies students to sit for two separate clinical exams. All of our students passed, with an overall average score of 97.85. Furthermore, half earned perfect scores with no deductions.
In Alaska, dental hygienists may earn additional licensure to administer local anesthesia, though it is not required to practice basic dental hygiene. Licensure hygienists in Alaska must pass the WREB "Local Anesthesia" exam that has both written and clinical components. The national pass rate is 74.4%, and commonly requires more than one attempt to pass both parts. 100% of the  2017 UAA graduates taking this board exam passed both the written and clinical sections on their first attempt. We are proud of the students on their board performance, and thankful for our faculty and staff of the UAA Dental Hygiene program that provide such an excellent program for Alaska.
Alaska Center for Rural Health and
Health Workforce
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Alaska AHEC Program Awarded 5-Year Renewal, Seeks Input
The Alaska AHEC Program was awarded a 5-year renewal for the Area Health Education Centers award by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This award marks the start of a planning year for the Alaska AHEC Program beginning September 1, 2017, and will include many shifts in programming. One of the main differences will be the development of a national AHEC Scholars Program.
The AHEC Scholars Program -- a longitudinal, interdisciplinary program which will launch in Fall 2018 -- will require intercampus and statewide collaboration to support annual cohorts of 90 students per year. In turn, September 2017- August 2018 will be the final year the Alaska AHEC Program provides current support services for clinical rotation students. Following the launch, all AHEC program funding will be allocated specifically to the AHEC Scholars program, which focuses on clinical activities, didactic activities, community-based training, Rural Track, and Underserved Track.
The AHEC Program is actively seeking faculty and student input in developing the program during our planning year. If you are interested, or if you know of students who would be interested in becoming an AHEC Scholar, please complete the following form and share with your students:
The Alaska AHEC program would like to especially thank all faculty, staff, students, and stakeholders across the state who helped support the development of this grant application!
Center for Human Development - - - - - - - - - - - -

AK GILD Program Has Seats for Students in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018!
Do you have students interested in geriatrics & gerontology who aspire to be leaders in their fields? The Center for Human Development's AK GILD (Alaska Geriatrics Interdisciplinary Leadership Development) program has several seats open for students in health and behavioral health majors this Fall and Spring. The program begins September 21, 2017 and ends January 25, 2018.
The AK GILD program provides face-to-face and distance delivered interdisciplinary leadership training (150 hours) over one semester to prepare leaders to promote systems change and advocacy to meet the needs of older Alaskans, Alaskan Native Elders, and their families in rural and frontier communities. AK GILD participants will engage in a highly customized experiential learning environment based on their personal and professional leadership goals. This is a 3-credit 500-level course, but it can be used as a practicum opportunity with a built-in externship and activities at Southcentral Foundation's Nuka System of Care.
Students can also train to become a Certified Dementia Practitioner®, offered by the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioner's ( via the AK GILD program. For more information, contact Sheila Shinn at or 907-264-6251. Or visit
Justice Center  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
AJiC's Results First Research in the News

Alaska Dispatch News
 columnist Charles Wohlforth cited research produced by the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) in a recent  article about the cost-effectiveness of the Alaska Department of Correction's (DOC) sex offender treatment program. Information regarding the state's monetary investment in the DOC program and its return on investment in terms of reducing recidivism comes from work that AJiC is doing as part of Alaska's partnership with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative. 
Hospitals Apply for More Psychiatric Beds, Alaska Justice Forum Article Supports Need
Information from "Alaska's Lack of Psychiatric Beds and Consequences" in the Alaska Justice Forum (Summer 2017) was used in a recent Certificate of Need (CON) hearing to support a request for additional psychiatric beds. Alaska Regional Hospital and Mat-Su Regional Medical Center both presented cases and supported each other's requests for expanding behavioral health units to the CON board on August 16 in Anchorage. Mat-Su Regional is applying for 36 beds for behavioral health and substance use disorder patients. Alaska Regional Hospital is seeking 24 psychiatric beds, 12 of which would be secure.

Alaska Regional CEO Julie Taylor presented historical information taken from the Justice Forum article. When the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) began operating in the 1960s, it had over 200 beds, but now has 80 -- with only 50 reserved for adults. The rest are for adolescents, forensic cases, and people with dementia and other disabilities who have no other options for placement.

A second CON hearing will be held at Mat-Su College on August 31 at 4:30 pm. For more information, visit:
API in May 1968 (Christine M. McClain papers, Archives and Special collections, Consortium Library,UAA. Jim Balog, photographer)
Upcoming Events/Deadlines
  • August 25 - Welcome Back, Promotion and Tenure celebration
  • August 28 - First day of classes, Fall Semester
  • September 4 - Labor Day Holiday
  • September 11 - UNAC Promotion, Tenure, Post-Tenure Reviews, 4th Year Comp files, and Activity Reports due to dean
  • September 14 - Leadership team meeting
  • September 25 - Sabbatical requests due to dean/director
  • September 28 - Leadership team meeting
  • October 16 - Faculty development and research/travel grants due to OAA*
  • October 30 - Sabbatical requests due to OAA with Dean's/Director's signature