Now offering primary care!
Alaska Behavioral Health is pleased to be adding primary care services for our clients. Current clients who don't have a primary care provider will now be able to access basic health care through our clinic in Anchorage. People living with mental illness have an increased risk of developing chronic physical health conditions, are more likely to smoke, and generally have poorer health outcomes than the general population.

With integrated primary care, clients will have the opportunity to work toward a healthier life with behavioral and physical health supports and expertise.
Dr. Nataliya Polito is the new Director and Physician at the AKBH Primary Care Center at our Folker Street location. Dr. Polito’s focus is to provide patient – centered comprehensive care and preventative medicine services.
Dr. Polito recently graduated from the University of Incarnate Word Family Medicine Residency in San Antonio, Texas with a focus in care for the underserved inner-city population. Her medical school and first years of internship and training were in Tulsa, at the Oklahoma State University Center of Medicine with a focus in psychiatry and rural medicine. 
Child Parent Psychotherapy
Three AKBH clinicians in our Little Tykes program recently completed a two year learning collaborative to increase their skills in Child Parent Psychotherapy. Congratulations to
Geri Hernandez, Mara Hill and Patty Quinn! (pictured above center, with Early Childhood Mental Health trainer and consultant Deb Harris on the left and AKBH manager Kristin Mortenson on the right.)

Our early childhood team has been working hard to expand their knowledge and skills in trauma-focused intervention, learning the components of CPP through training, reflective consultation/supervision and direct practice.

Director of Early Childhood and Outpatient Services Kristin Mortenson says, "The CPP learning collaborative and national rostering process is the most extensive I have been a part of. Each provider completes extensive fidelity worksheets for each phase of treatment, elaborate case presentation worksheets and regular supervisor fidelity forms."

Clinician Geri Hernandez reflected on the learning process.

One of the MANY things I learned to appreciate more is the importance of considering the caregiver’s trauma/stressor history. In addition to screening for the child’s history, we gather extensive information regarding the caregiver’s history. This has been very helpful in terms of holding the caregiver’s perspective through connecting with their child and strengthening their attachment, what CPP terms “double scooping!”

Coming from a strengths-based perspective, I also find great value in caregiver’s completing an “Angels in the Nursery” questionnaire. It supports caregivers in evoking memories of love, support, protection, feeling understood, cared for, etc. and essentially leads them to explore what they would like their child to think, say, and remember about them. I’ve found this to be very powerful in a sense of always looping back around to what the caregiver’s goals are regarding strengthening and securing their attachments with their child

Congrats, Mara, Patty and Geri!
The experience of trauma has widespread impacts on the clients we serve. This lunch and learn will show how trauma may impact clients who struggle with patterns of disordered eating and negative body image. Surprisingly, the root cause is rarely about food or the need to be thin. Trauma treatment modalities will be explored to empower clinicians working with clients who demonstrate signs or patterns of negative body image and disordered eating. This presentation aims to provide awareness and tools for the clinician in better supporting their clients with body image and healthy patterns of eating.

Presenter Saraj Gottstein, LPC, is a lifelong Alaskan who graduated with a Master's in Counseling from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado in transpersonal counseling and wilderness therapy. She works with transition age youth at Alaska Behavioral Health, based at Alaska Seeds of Change and the Power Center youth drop-in program.

This free Lunch & Learn is aimed at clinicians and others working in a clinical setting. No CEU's. Register here.

See below for an opportunity for more in-depth training on Eating Disorders.
For more in The Alaska Eating Disorders Alliance presents
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Essential Skills Conference March 5-6, 2021
DBT certified trainer Leslie Karwoski Anderson offers 2 days of DBT skills training for Alaska mental health providers. Learn how to run skills groups, help individual clients apply DBT skills, and gain an understanding of how DBT helps clients with eating disorders. 12 CEUs (pending approval).

Cohen Clinic Update
Black History Month
Cohen Clinic is highlighting the contributions of black veterans and service members this month, and reaffirming its commitment to equitable and inclusive care. Unfortunately, nationwide, disparities in mental health diagnoses and access to care still exist. Read more about the Cohen Veterans Network work to address this disparity.
Military Lessons in Love campaign
Deployments. Frequent moves. Long separations. Military couples face situations not typically experienced by their civilian counterparts. This month, Cohen Clinic staff in Anchorage joined veterans and military spouses from across the Cohen Veterans Network in sharing their lessons in love.

Follow the campaign on Instagram!
Don't forget to Pick.Click.Give!
We're half-way through the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend filing period - Alaskans, make sure to file by March 31! We know it's been a tough year for many, which makes support from those who are able to give even more important for Alaska's nonprofits. There are MANY worthy non-profits to consider; we hope you'll consider supporting our vision of "Wellness for Everyone!". You'll find us listed under Alaska Behavioral Health. Get started at myAlaska.gov