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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
January 11, 2018
Don't Miss the 35th Annual Alaska Health Summit Next Week!
The Alaska Health Summit will take place next week, January 16-18. It is one of the largest gatherings of health care providers in the state. The purpose of the Summit is to provide educational opportunities to health care providers, public health practitioners, policy makers, and legislators on current topics of interest that influence the health of all Alaskans. For more information and to register, visit:  
Unit Updates
Medical Laboratory Science Program - - - - - - - 
Medical Laboratory Science Alumni Update: Shannon Billings
Shannon Billings found her true passion through the UAA Medical Laboratory Science program. In her late 30s she decided to go back to school and, in 2010, graduated with a BS in Medical Technology. Shannon accepted a job at the Providence Alaska Medical Center blood bank department. Later, she served as the state president for Clinical Laboratory Scientists of Alaska, a constituent society for the American Society of Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCLS), and then as the chair for the state conference of CLSA. From 2014-2017, Shannon served as the Region IX director on the National Board of Directors for ASCLS. Also in 2014, she was awarded "National New Professional of the Year" from ASCLS.  
In 2015, Shannon graduated from Rush University with an MS in Medical Laboratory Management and accepted a position in lab management at Alaska Regional Hospital. In June 2017, she made a bold move and accepted a job as the laboratory manager for Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. On October 1, her hospital was heavily impacted by the mass shooting, with 105 victims admitted. "They [the staff] humbled me and amazed me. We made 37 units of emergency uncrossmatched blood last us through the entire crisis...My phlebotomists drew a record number of patients in a very short time...No amount of practice and drilling and policy and procedure-writing ever prepares you for a real mass casualty event. They are all heroes to me." Read the unabridged article (pdf).
Alaska Center For Rural Health and
Health Workforce - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lauren Sheard Hired as New Research and Program Evaluator
Lauren Sheard is AHEC's new Research and Program Evaluator, taking over from the newly-retired Janice Troyer. Her background is primarily in business marketing and international development. Lauren moved to Alaska in August from Burundi, East Africa where she worked for three years doing economic and community development in under-served areas. She helped manage the program's finances and operations to achieve the mission of helping Burundians raise themselves out of poverty. Her responsibilities with AHEC include managing the Pipeline Cache (online database for all AHEC activities), compiling reports, and performing a federally-mandated evaluation of the program. Lauren will also be conducing health-workforce research for AHEC and its affiliates.
Department of Health Sciences - - - - - - - - - - - -

Kaitlan Head and Other CESAs Make a Difference at UAA
Each fall and spring semester the Center for Community Engagement and Learning hosts the Community Engaged Student Assistants (CESA) program. This program provides professors with students to help with research and community engagement projects. Kaitlan Head, a third-year health sciences major with a focus in speech and language pathology, is one of these CESAs. Over the fall semester, Kaitlan teamed up with Assistant Professor Travis Hedwig in the Department of Health Sciences on a project interviewing adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This project compares individuals who have case management representation with those who do not. According to Kaitlan, "There are a lot of people who are being diagnosed later in life and then trying to grapple with how to use the services that are available to them." Read more about Kaitlan and other amazing CESAs at UAA in the Green & Gold article "Getting Involved" (12/20/17):
Justice Center - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Valle Co-Authors Article Advocating Oral Vocabulary Training
Araceli Valle , Research Professional with the Alaska Justice Information Center at UAA's Justice Center, recently co-authored an article published in PLOS ONE, " Oral vocabulary training program for Spanish third-graders with low socio-economic status: A randomized controlled trial." Valle and her co-authors recommend explicit and rich vocabulary instruction as a means to fostering vocabulary knowledge in low socio-economic status (SES) Spanish elementary third graders. The researchers developed and applied two rich oral vocabulary training programs (definition and context) to a sample of 100 Spanish elementary school third-graders recruited from areas of predominantly low SES. For more information, including the journal article, visit:
Justice Faculty and Faculty Senate President Sharon Chamard Spoke at Fall 2017 Graduation
Sharon Chamard, UAA Faculty Senate President and Justice faculty , spoke at the UAA commencement on Sunday and encouraged graduates "to lift up those around you, to contribute to the betterment of the world, or just your tiny corner of it. Do what you can to ensure that others coming behind you have the same or even better opportunities than you have had." To read the full text of Chamard's inspiring speech, visit:
(l-r) Troy Payne, Deb Periman, Allan Barnes, Sharon Chamard, Brad Myrstol, and Ron Everett. Not pictured: Kristin Knudsen and Ryan Fortson.
Congratulations to Justice Center Fall and Summer 2017 Graduates!
This fall, 15 students received a BA in Justice, nine a BA in Legal Studies, three an AAS in Paralegal Studies, and one a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies. This summer, three students graduated, one with a BA in Legal Studies, one a BA in Justice, and one a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Paralegal Studies. We also congratulate the five students who are receiving a Justice minor, and two students receiving a Legal Studies minor this fall.
Alaska Court of Appeals Judge David Mannheimer Listens to Oral Arguments in Advanced Litigation Class
On December 13, Judge David Mannheimer, Chief Judge of the Alaska Court of Appeals , listened to final oral arguments of students in Prof. Ryan Fortson's Advanced Trial and Litigation Processes class (Legal 47). As part of their final project, students prepared memos opposing or in support of one of five different fictional scenarios developed by Prof. Fortson. Prof. Fortson then invited Judge Mannheimer to give students the experience of presenting oral arguments on their memos in front of a sitting judge. Wednesday's oral arguments served as the final exam for the class.
(l-r, front ) Colleen Abad and Jenny McCord / (l-r, back) Max Delzer, Kara Stewart, Prof. Ryan Fortson, Court of Appeals Judge David Mannheimer, Sabine Kraft, Kris Young, and Joseph Mitzel
Cravez Speaks at Tundra Vision and Justice Alaska about Territorial Lawyers
In December, Pamela Cravez, editor of the Alaska Justice Forum,  was the featured speaker at the Tundra Vision Lecture Series, as well as a guest on Alaska Public Radio's Justice Alaska, a call-in radio show featuring topics on Alaska's justice system. Ms. Cravez discussed her recent book, The Biggest Damned Hat: Tales for Alaska's Territorial Lawyers and Judges. The radio show was broadcast on KSKA 91.1 FM, Wednesday, December 20.
Physical Therapist Assistant Program - - - - - - - 
Congratulations to Physical Therapist Assistant Program Graduates
The Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) Program had its 3rd cohort of students graduate during Fall Commencements 2017. Congratulations PTA Class of 2017!
School of Social Work - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Anchorage and UAA School of Social Work Take Part in National Movement to Bring Social Workers into Public Libraries
Increasingly, public libraries across the United States are involving social workers in addressing the many needs of a changing user base, which often can include people in transition such as military personnel and people who require immediate assistance to fulfill their information needs, like people coping with housing distress. As national demonstrations indicate, public librarians and social workers can form powerful teams in addressing both information needs of patrons and their needs for community support. In Anchorage, the Loussac Library is looking to include a full time social worker. Students from the UAA School of Social Work are now fulfilling their practicum requirements through placements in local libraries. They are involved in answering questions from library users, engaging people who face distress, and linking library patrons to human services and other community resources.
Journal Club Takes off in School of Social Work's BSW Field Education Program 
School of Social Work faculty member Alexa Filanowicz hosted a reading group for BSW field instructors (social work practicum supervisors) in December. A few weeks prior to the meeting, attendees from various community agencies were sent journal articles for their review. At the meeting, using findings from the journal articles, group members discussed training and supporting students who are completing their senior year practica. Given the feedback about and participation in the event, Prof. Filanowicz plans to hold two "reading groups" per month during the spring 2018 semester. 
UAA MSW Students Engage in Telehealth SBIRT Simulation
UAA MSW students in SWK A629 Advanced Generalist Practice with Individuals participated in a pilot telehealth simulation on November 29 and 30. This activity was implemented in Professor Alexa Filanowicz's course with the support of the Interprofessional Health Sciences Simulation Center staff, including: Ryan Shercliffe, Simulation Center Manager; Marissa Beninati, Simulation Technology Specialist; and Portia Fortes-Runnels, Simulation Technician.  
Over the course of two separate evenings, 24 MSW students connected from their home communities to the Simulation Center via Zoom in order to facilitate a 15-minute Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) interview with a standardized patient. Students successfully engaged in the videoconferencing simulation from multiple locations, including Nenana, Sitka, Fairbanks, Valdez, Seward, Homer, Soldotna, the Mat-Su Valley, and Anchorage. Professor Filanowicz demonstrated the feasibility of undertaking simulation through distance education, and helping students learn experientially about SBIRT. The UAA School of Social Work is working strategically to advance simulation training in both its undergraduate and graduate social work programs.  
S chool of Social Work Honors Individuals with Special Awards
Initiating a new tradition, the School of Social Work honored citizens in two award categories on November 15 at the Conference of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. The following three community leaders received the Friends of Social Work award for their work addressing the needs of the most vulnerable Alaskans: Elvi Gray-Jackson for her community and public leadership, Les S. Gara for advancing public child welfare, and Jeff Jessee for his broad leadership in advancing health and human services in Alaska. The recipient of the Heart of Social Work award was Dan Bigley, LCSW, clinical director of Denali Family Services, for his distinguished service in helping families and youth navigate serious social issues. Read more about these award recipients (pdf) .
(l-r) David P. Moxley, Director of the UAA School of Social Work; Les S. Gara; Dan Bigley, Jeff Jessee; and Diane DiSanto (accepting on behalf of Elvie Gray-Jackson)
Upcoming Events/Deadlines
  • January 15 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
  • January 15 - Emeritus applications due to OAA
  • February 15 - UNAC workloads due to directors/chairs
  • March 5, 2018 - Faculty Development and Research Travel Grant applications due to OAA
  • March 15 - Sabbatical reports due to OAA / UAFT workloads due to administrator
  • April 2 - UNAC workloads due to dean