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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
September 7, 2017
Congratulations to 2017 Chancellor's Award Recipients
Congratulations to new 2017 Chancellor's Award recipients Jan Harris, former vice provost for Health Programs and director of the Alaska Center for Rural Health and Health Workforce, and Lindsey Blumenstein, assistant professor in the Justice Center. Jan Harris received the Community Engagement and Service award for "outstanding contributions to the advancement of partnerships between the university and Alaska's communities." Lindsey Blumenstein received the Excellence in Academic Research/Creative Activity award for contributing "outstanding and significant impact in a field of study and to UAA through research, engagement or creative activities." For a list of additional recipients, visit:
New Surgical Technology Program Featured in Green & Gold
UAA's Green & Gold recently featured the new surgical technology program in the article "New surgical technology program at UAA helps meet industry need" (8/23/17). Currently, qualified surgical technologists are generally hired from outside the state. However, in March, the program received University of Alaska Board of Regents' approval, and in May received accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The first students have been admitted and begin classes this semester. Surgical technologists prepare the operating room for surgeons and maintain and sterilize equipment. Read more in the Green & Gold ( or download the story (pdf).
Unit Updates
Alaska Center for Rural Health and
Health Workforce
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Alaska AHEC & Alaska Training Collaborative Coordinate Mental Health First Aid Instructor Training Update
Mental Health First Aid has been an effective training in Alaska, helping to destigmatize mental illness and better prepare Alaskans to respond to mental health crises. Now, thanks to a partnership between the Alaska AHEC and Alaska Training Cooperative, Alaska has 28 new MHFA Instructors, 2 UAA employees (Gloria Burnett and Betsey Chivers), Alaska State Troopers, AHEC staff in four regions, the Alaska Department of Corrections, Mat-Su EMS, the Anchorage Police Department, and Hope Community Resources. The week-long training took place August 28-September 1 and helped assure that trainers will continue to certify Alaskans as Mental Health First Aiders throughout the state. The Alaska AHEC is planning to utilize this training in high school PATH Camps and Pre-Apprenticeship PATH Academies, as well as part of the upcoming AHEC Scholars Program. The Alaska Training Cooperative will continue to provide community based trainings by request throughout the state. Other participants will train their staff and employees. If you are interested in requesting a Mental Health First Aid training for your students, staff, or partner organization, please contact Jill Ramsey at
Department of Health Sciences - - - - - - - - - - - -

Congratulations MEDEX Anchorage Class 7!
On August 17, the seventh class of the MEDEX Northwest Anchorage site concluded with 14 new graduates. These individuals spent the past two years in training and now must pass their national certification boards before they can practice as physician assistants. MEDEX congratulates them on a job well done, and looks forward to including them in our community of alumni in the years to follow.

Welcome 2017 MEDEX Incoming Class!
On June 26th, a total of 131 new MEDEX Northwest students met for the first time in Seattle on the University of Washington campus. The students of the 2017 incoming class were accepted at the four different MEDEX sites: Anchorage, Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. For six weeks, they learned and studied together and built bonds that will last long after they have returned to their respective locations. The largest site is Seattle with 50 students, followed by Spokane (30), Tacoma (27), and Anchorage (24). This will be Anchorage's first hybrid class, containing both Bachelors and Masters students.
Dr. Rhonda Johnson Presents in Scotland on Ethical Principles for Health Research 
Dr. Rhonda Johnson, Professor of Public Health, participated in the recent U Arctic "Conversations from the North" Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. She co-presented with Dr. Arja Rautio of
Dr. Rhonda Johnson and Dr. Diane Hirshberg from ISER.
the University of Oulu on their ongoing collaborative project "Development of Ethical Principles for Health Research with Sami in Finland" as part of the Health, Demography, and Cultural Change theme of the conference. Dr. Johnson was also invited to serve on the Scientific Planning Committee for the next U Arctic Congress to be held in Oulu, Finland in September 2018. For more information on the conference, visit:
Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies - - - - - -
ICHS Research Associate Visits Village of Wainwright, Assesses InReach Device Program
Rebecca Van Wyck, ICHS Research Associate, made a site visit to Wainwright, Alaska August 30 - September 1 with a team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control. They met with Village of Wainwright Tribal Government and National Indian Health Board collaborators to review progress on a Search and Rescue personal location device check-out program aimed at promoting the adaptive capacity of the local community to adjust to changing seasonal weather patterns. Local first responders reported that the InReach devices have helped save time and fuel when searching for travelers in distress. In coming months, ICHS will be evaluating this program for impacts on the local rate of unintentional injury.
School of Allied Health - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
School of Allied Health Participates in Campus Kick-Off
On August 26, the School of Allied Health participated in the UAA Campus Kick-Off to welcome new and returning students to UAA. Dedicated staff Lynda Hernandez and Alexis Rasley set up a booth to provide "free stuff" and information to students. In addition, some Dental Hygiene students strolled among the booths providing free toothpaste.    
(l-r) Heather, Kira, Marian, Rena (Dental Office Manager), Ashley, and Kelly   
School of Nursing - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Ketchikan Daily News Reports on Expansion of UAA Nursing Program in Ketchikan
An article published in the Ketchikan Daily News discusses the recent expansion of the UAA nursing program in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Petersburg. Specifically, the two-year Associates of Applied Science in Nursing will increase from eight to 10 students in Ketchikan. According to Joseph Lefleur, assistant professor of nursing at the UAA Ketchikan campus, "It was decided that we were going to do a pilot and increase to 10 this January and also do a yearly rollout." Marianne Murray, director of the UAA School of Nursing, and Jeffrey Jessee, dean of the COH, visited a number of the outreach locations and were behind the decision-making process. Read more in the Ketchikan Daily News article "UAA expands nursing program": .
Justice Center - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
As Undergraduate Program Coordinator for 2017-18, Dr. Troy C. Payne, Associate Professor of Justice, is leading curriculum development and student academic advising for the Bachelor of Arts in Justice and Minor in Justice programs. Dr. Payne remains a faculty adviser to the UAA Society of Law & Justice, and is teaching a variety of courses, including Justice Data Analysis, Terrorism, and Crime Analysis and Mapping
Brad Myrstol Endorses Thoughtful Approach When Testing Sexual Assault Kits
Dr. Brad Myrstol, Interim Justice Center Director , urged patience regarding the use of $1.1 million the state received for testing DNA evidence from sexual assaults. "It requires patience, and on a topic, frankly, that people may not have much patience," Myrstol said in an interview reported in a recent Juneau Empire story. Myrstol, a member of the statewide Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) working Group, endorsed the thoughtful and deliberative approach the group is taking, both to determine factors that have led to a backlog in testing and to determine how to best protect victims from being re-traumatized when kits are tested.
Justice Faculty Engage with Students in Campus Kickoff
At the 2017 Campus Kickoff, Dr. Brad Myrstol , Dr. Troy Payne, Prof. Deborah Periman, Dr. Ryan Fortson, and Prof. Kristin Knudsen welcomed students and answered questions about Justice programs.
Upcoming Events/Deadlines
  • 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
  • November 23-24 - Thanksgiving Holiday
  • December 17 - Fall Commencement
  • December 25-26 - Christmas holiday
  • December 27-31 - Winter Holiday, campus closed