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The College of Health Newsletter is published every two weeks by the UAA COH Dean's Office.

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Mission Statement ~ ~ ~
Advancing the health and well-being of people and communities
February 22, 2018
Brad Myrstol Named Justice Center Director  

College of Health Dean Jeff Jessee is pleased to announce that, after a national search, Dr. Brad Myrstol was appointed director of the Justice Center. Dr. Myrstol, who has been interim director since August 2017, is also director of the Alaska Justice Information Center (AJiC) and has been with the Justice Center as a faculty member since 2009. From 2002 to 2006 he worked at the Justice Center as a research professional. "We are all extremely fortunate to have such a talented leader for the Justice Center," Dean Jessee said. "He is deeply committed to the Justice Center's mission of leading Alaska toward a safer, healthier and more just society."

Dr. Myrstol received his PhD in Criminal Justice from Indiana University in 2006. He has served as the principal or co-principal investigator on a variety of Alaska justice topics and is currently the principal investigator on the Alaska's Results First Initiative. While at UAA, Dr. Myrstol received over $1 million in research funding from sources including the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, and Alaska state and local agencies.

Volunteers Needed for the 1st Annual Diversity in Health Careers Conference!
Please join us for the 1st Annual Diversity in Health Careers Conference on April 6 from 9 am - 2:30 pm. The conference will highlight the degree and certificate programs available through the College of Health. The goal of the conference is to show students that the college embraces diversity and is accepting of all students and applicants. Our goal is to promote diversity as well as the COH career path programs. All volunteers are welcome, including COH faculty, staff, directors, advisers, alumni, current students, and student clubs. For more information on volunteering, download the volunteer flyer (pdf). A general conference flyer (pdf) is also available. To register, visit: Please forward this information to anyone who might be interested in participating! For Additional Information please contact: Rebecca Dreier, COH Diversity Chair, or, 907-786-4714.
Unit Updates
Medical Laboratory Science - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
MLS Club "Love Bug" Booth Educates Public on STDs, Raises Funds
On February 14, the Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Club, in collaboration with the City of Anchorage Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), conducted a Valentine's Day "love bug" booth in the UAA Student Union. Along with selling baked goods and "love bugs," the students and DHHS staff educated the public on sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention. The "love bug" booth distributed over 80 free STD informational packets, and the bake sale raised funds for the MLS students to attend the ASCLS Spring Conference "Empowering Laboratory Professionals."

MLS students and DHHS staff conducting "love bug" booth in UAA Student Union. Images by Grace Leu Burke. 
WWAMMI - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
WWAMI's Annual PreMed Summit Planning Begins
As February comes to a close, planning for the 13th Annual Alaska Pre Med Summit has reached full swing. Each year, WWAMI offers a free full-day public event to those interested in pursuing a medical career. Attendees include high school students and their families, college and non-traditional students, advisors, career counselors, and others. Speakers are scheduled throughout the day, covering a wide range of topics, including the medical school admissions process, stories from the field, and information on varying disciplines. We also offer informational tables by various clubs and departments, mock medical school interviews, and hands-on learning opportunities. Approximately 150 participants attend each year, many who will find themselves contributing to the future of Alaska's ever-growing community of health professionals. If you or your department are interested in participating, please contact Alida at

Center for Human Development - - - - - - - - - - -

Alaska Training Cooperative Staff Present at Alaska Commission on Aging
Lisa Cauble, Director, and Betsy Chivers, Training Coordinator, with the CHD Alaska Training Cooperative (AKTC) attended the Alaska Commission on Aging in Juneau February 5-7. The CHD AKTC was invited to present a current Update to the Commissioners on training outcomes and progress regarding the requirements in the Alaska State Plan for Senior Services. The AKTC has been tasked in several areas of training including: Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults, Alaska Core Competency Training, Geriatric Education Series Center Partnership, Basic Concepts of Care Coordination, and Assistance with Self-Administration of Medication (ASAM). Lisa and Betsy participated in the business meeting and met with stakeholders of AgeNet, the Pioneer Home Advisory Board, and AARP Alaska, along with other attendees during the Commission meetings.
AKTC continues their partnership with the Alzheimer's Resource of Alaska providing distance delivered Dementia Care Essentials and Dementia Care Workshops. A new partnership was been cultivated with the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and the AKTC to provide Passenger Assistance Safety and Sensitivity (PASS) Train the Trainer for agencie
s who transport individuals in wheelchairs, which is a new mandatory requirement for the Division of Senior and Disability Services.  
Department of Health Sciences - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Garcia Presents on Filipino Culture at Cultural Storytelling Festival
Dr. Gabriel Garcia, Associate Professor of Public Health, was invited to present at the Cultural Storytelling Festival at BP Energy Center on February 3. The event was organized by Keys to Life, a non-pr ofit organization in Anchorage. Dr. Garcia's presentation was titled, "The Power of Storytelling: Filipino Culture, Public Health, Etc..."

Dr. Johnson Interviewed by Sami TV/Radio
Dr. Rhonda Johnson, Professor of Public Health, and other members of the research team from the US and Finland were interviewed by local Sami TV/radio this week about their collaborative project to develop ethical guidelines for research with and about Sami people of Finland. She received travel support from both United Academics and AK INBRE (Alaska IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) to support dissemination of the research results in northern Finland.  
Dr. Hedwig Presents on FASD at Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference
On February 7, Travis Hedwig (Health Sciences) presented at the Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference in Anchorage. The session was titled, "The Alaska Center for FASD: Building an FASD-informed educational system." The session included updates on current research and best practices related to supporting people with FASD in the classroom, observations from the FASD diagnostic team on interpreting assessment results to better serve students, and reflections on the challenges and lived experiences of families. The session concluded with an interactive brainstorming session on what an FASD-informed educational system could look like in our state.
Justice Center - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ABA Approves Legal Studies Program through August 2023

Justice Center Legal Studies Program  has been approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) through August 2023. The Justice Center Legal Studies Program includes: Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies Minor, Legal Studies Associate of Applied Science, Paralegal Studies Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Paralegal Studies Certificate, Legal Nurse Consultant Paralegal. According to the ABA, "approved programs have demonstrated their high quality education to the lawyers and paralegals in their legal communities." The Legal Studies Program at UAA and the Paralegal Studies Program at UAF are the only ABA-approved programs in Alaska. This year marks the 26th anniversary of ABA approval of UAA's program. For more information, visit: .   
FY 2017 Alaska Court System Annual Report Released
Last week, the  Alaska Court System Annual Report FY 2017 was released. It includes an overview of the court system, review of court initiatives over the fiscal year, photo directory of Alaska Court System judges and magistrate judges, maps of court locations, statistical tables of court system activity, and photos of Alaska courthouses and scenic areas around the state. This is the sixth year Melissa S. Green, Justice Center publication specialist, worked with Antonia Moras, project coordinator for the court system and former editor of the Alaska Justice Forum, to produce the report. For more information, and to download the report (including a more abbreviated Profile of the Alaska Court System 2018), visit: .   

Pretrial Risk Assessment Tool Provides Alaska Courts New Information on Defendants
On January 1, Alaska courts began receiving information from a pretrial risk assessment tool to assist in bail decisions. The goal is to improve public safety by reducing the number of defendants who fail to appear for trial or commit a new crime while out on bail.  Read about it in the Winter 2018 Alaska Justice Forum:
Bail hearing at Anchorage Correctional Complex Court with Judge Douglas H. Kossler presiding.
Interprofessional Health Sciences Simulation Center - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
COH Spring 2018 Interprofessional Simulation Kickoff Events: Opioid Use/Misuse
The Interprofessional Simulation Committee (ISC) Spring Kick-off event, held January 31, was a big success. This spring, the focus is opioid use, and students from Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Psychology, Social Work, Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Ultrasound, and Pharmacy will be working together to create care for patients with opioid use issues. Everyone is invited to participate in the following events:
  • January-April 2018: Simulated Clinical Encounters as organized by individual faculty
  • April 4, 2018: Interprofessional Care Conference, LIB 307, 5:30-8:00 pm
The ISC event coordinator welcomes faculty involvement. Students can get up to six clinical hours for participation and will receive a certificate of participation for the Spring 2018 ISC Opioid use/misuse events from the ISC committee. For more information, or to participate, contact: Ryan Shercliffe, , or Alexa Filanowicz, 
School of Nursing - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Nursing Students Present on Menopause and Opioid Awareness
On February 10, senior BS School of Nursing students from the NS 411L community capstone course presented at the Health Science building on the following topics:
  • Take a Pause for Menopause: Promoting Menopause Awareness in the Community - included the myths, effects, and current treatment options for women who experience menopause.
  • Anchorage Opioid Awareness: Informing Nurses for an Empowered Community - Addressed opioid awareness and the common misunderstanding to who uses, how they are supplied, and what Anchorage is doing to take action locally.

Students created 45 minute presentations for this event that were informative, interactive, and relevant to the community. More than 30 individuals attended, including nurses from the community, nursing students, and community members. Attendees enjoyed food, free supplies, and
even prizes such as the Pill Pod, which is an excellent tool to keep medications safe from children at home. 
Frontiersman Highlights Expanding Nursing Program in Mat-Su
In their February 2018 publication Progress Mat-Su Valley, the Frontiersman highlighted the expansion of the nursing program in Mat-Su recently. The article explained the new yearly admission of nursing students instead of every other year admission. "[T]he average number of nursing graduates will double from eight every two years to eight every year." Download the article "Nursing Program: Expanding at Mat-Su College to Meet Growing Need" (pdf).

Nursing Certification Exam Results Show High Marks!
Certification Exam results are in for the 2017 graduates in both the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs at the UAA SON, and the pass rates are fantastic.
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification - 100% (National Average - 88.7%)
  • Family Nurse Practitioner Certification - 100% (National Average - 82.3%)
  • BS Nursing Program - 93.1% (National Average 90.0%)
  • AAS Nursing Program - 91.7% (National Average 84.2%)
RRANN Program Featured in Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing
The Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing (RRANN) Program was featured on the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing in the article "Providing Culturally Competent Nursing Care in Alaska." The article discusses how the RRANN Program helps bridge the cultural gap between providing quality health care to Alaska Native communities by recruiting and mentoring Alaska Native students into the UAA nursing program. Read more at:  

Dr. Burdette-Taylor to Publish Paper, Makes a Difference in Wound and Foot Care
Dr. Michele (Shelly) Burdette-Taylor's article "Case Study of Inherited Peripheral Neuropathy" was accepted for publication in the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists Journal. She will also present three papers at the Wound Council of Enterostomal Therapists Congress in Malaysia in April 2018.
Dr. Burdette-Taylor created an interprofessional sustainable foot and wound care clinic at the brother Francis Shelter, which has expanded to the Central Lutheran Church. WWAMI students, SON faculty, and SON students have joined forces to make a difference for the homeless in our community. The Project Hope poster related to this foot and wound care clinic has been presented in Alaska three times by the student group and now accepted for publication in the Journal of Undergraduate Research. Dr. Burdette-Taylor has inspired 11 interprofessional students to enroll and complete their wound treatment associate online course for wound and ostomy board certification
Upcoming Events/Deadlines
  • March 1 - UNAC workloads due to directors/chairs
  • March 5 - Faculty Development and Research Travel Grant applications due to OAA
  • March 12-17 - Spring Break
  • March 15 - Sabbatical reports due to OAA / UAFT workloads due to administrator
  • March 16 - Spring Break Holiday
  • April 2 - UNAC workloads due to dean
  • May 1 - UNAC workloads due to faculty
  • May 6 - Spring Commencement