Earlier this month, ANHB leadership participated in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for their newly expanded hospital. At the event, ANHB received a recognition award for ANHB’s collective partnership and advocacy. We commend YKHC for their collaborative effort with many partners in bringing their vision to fruition. This project emphasizes the significance of the Alaska Tribal Health System and how through collaboration we can better ensure the health and well-being of our Tribal Citizens. When touring the facility it was evident how self-determination and self-governance emphasized the importance of incorporating the YK Region’s culture and values into the delivery of healthcare services.
Last week, ANHB along with the Alaska Tribal Health Compact (ATHC) cosigners participated in final negotiations with the Indian Health Service (IHS). Many discussion topics were covered, including IHS’s Health IT Modernization Program, nationalization of the CHAP Program and how changes in the new mandatory funding for IHS in the Presidential budget for FY 23 would affect the Alaska Tribal health system. Co-Signers strongly advocated for accurate representation of the unique characteristics of ATHS in providing fair funding to Alaska Native people. Although final negotiations end this week, there will be continued conversations between IHS and the Co-Signers on Village Built Clinics and 105(l) leases, as well as IHS visits to rural villages.
ANHB Partners with the National Indian Health Board, Tribes, Organizations, and Friends of Indian Health and Worked Together in Joint Letters to Congress
On March 3, 2022, the Alaska Native Health Board joined the National Indian Health Board along with 72 Tribes, Organizations, and friends of Indian health that represent well over 1 million American Indian, Alaska Natives, and friends of Indian health joined to urge Congress to include advance appropriations and request no less than the House of Representatives passed level of $8.114 billion for FY 2022 funding for Indian health care. The letters were sent to the following House of Representatives and Senate Committees:
- House Committee on Appropriations and Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior
- House Committee on Natural Resources and Subcommittee for the Indigenous Peoples of the United States
- House Native American Caucus
- Speaker of the House and House Minority Leader
- Senate Committee on Appropriations and Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior
- Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
- Senate Majority Leader and Senate Minority Leader
The current continuing resolution expires on this Friday, March 11, 2022. Congress is negotiating and finalizing an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the federal government through the end of FY2022 which ends on September 30, 2022. If passed, that level of funding would be an increase of $1.884 billion over the FY2021 enacted level and Indian health programs would be protected against the harmful impacts of continuing resolutions (temporary funding measures) and government shutdowns.
The Alaska State Legislature recognize the 50 years of illustrious advocacy and service provided by the Alaska Native Health Board to Alaska.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2021
ALASKA NATIVE HEALTH BOARD
ANNOUNCES NEW PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Anchorage, Alaska – The Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) Board of Directors and Executive Committee selected Chief Operating Officer Alberta (Aakaq) Unok as the organization’s next President and Chief Executive Officer. In her new position, Alberta will oversee the day-to-day management and operations of the organization.
Over her ten years with ANHB, Alberta has been a successful member of the executive leadership team, facilitating statewide meetings and advocating for Tribal health needs. Alberta, who joined ANHB in 2011 and most recently served as Chief Operating Officer bringing experience with advocacy and program development to the position. In 2016, she was the recipient of the National Impact Award from the National Indian Health Board. Before joining ANHB, she was the lead program administrator in the development of the federally-recognized Behavioral Health Aide Program for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium.
“We are grateful for Alberta’s experience with ANHB and steadfast dedication to our organization,” said Andrew Jimmie, ANHB Board of Directors Chairman. “The Board chose Alberta for her ability to continue fostering a culture of respect and improvement while moving forward with strategic priorities and advocacy for the Alaska Tribal Health System.”
Originally from Kotlik, Alberta is Yup’ik, a shareholder of Calista Corporation and a Tribal citizen of the Village of Kotlik. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration from Alaska Pacific University. She is active in the community and currently serves as the technical advisor for the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee and Indian Health Service Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee. She has dedicated her work to fostering constructive communication with government agencies, elected officials, industry stakeholders and fellow advocacy organizations to raise awareness of Tribal health issues by promoting meaningful dialogue on strategies for effective policy changes at the state and federal levels.
On accepting the position, Ms. Unok shared, “I am so honored to be granted this opportunity to continue to work with Tribal representatives from across the state and ANHB’s partners. I believe whole heartedly in the strength of the Alaska Tribal Health System and ANHB’s advocacy efforts.”
Founded in 1968, ANHB is a private, statewide, nonprofit organization with a mission to promote the spiritual, physical, mental, social and cultural well-being and pride of Alaska Native people. ANHB is the voice of the Alaska Tribal Health System.
The Alaska Native Health Board has worked with our partners to develop a “Guide to Exchanging COVID-19 Health Information” to help support the safety, security, and public health of Alaska Native communities and patients. This guide collects information and guidance issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on how to apply the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA), as amended, to better help Tribal communities understand applications of the HIPAA Privacy Rule in a public health context.
The Alaska Native Health Board, in an effort to help inform lawmakers and policymakers, has been developing a series of white papers that touch on the impacts, preparedness, capacity, and difficulties facing the Alaska Tribal Health System and Alaska Natives during the Novel Coronavirus Response and Crisis of 2020.
Currently in this series:
- COVID-19 and Alaska Native Communities
- Coronavirus Public Health Response to Alaska Fisheries in Rural Alaska Native Communities
As the impacts and response to Novel Coronavirus continue to evolve, the Alaska Native Health Board will work to present the most up-to-date and relevant information affecting Alaska’s Tribal Health System and its Native peoples.
The National Tribal Budget Formulation Workgroup has finalized their recommendations for the Indian Health Service Fiscal Year 2022 Budget. Below is a copy of those recommendations. A link to the full document is here.
ANHB President and CEO, Verné Boerner, provided testimony to Congress on September 25, 2019. The Legislative Hearing, entitled Advance Appropriations: Protecting Tribal Communities from the Effects of a Government Shutdown, was before the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee for Indigenous Peoples of the United States. Ms. Boerner was one of many Tribal leaders who discussed the impacts that government shutdowns have on Tribal operations and patient care, highlighting the positive impacts that advance appropriations authority would give to Indian health programs.
The hearing focused on two pieces of legislation introduced during the 116th Congress. The first was H.R. 1128, the Indian Programs Advance Appropriations Act, introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum. H.R. 1128 seeks to authorize advance appropriations for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and the Indian Health Services. The second bill was H.R. 1135, the Indian Health Service Advance Appropriations Act, introduced by Congressman Don Young. H.R. 1135 seeks to provide advance appropriations authority only to the Indian Health Service. Congressman Young has introduce similar bills in the 113th, 114th, and 115th Congresses and has been a long-time advocate of advance appropriations authority for the Indian Health Service.
Each of the House bills also now has a Senate companion legislation. On September 25, 2019, Senator Lisa Murkowski’s Office introduce a companion bill to H.R. 1135, S. 2541. The bill was introduced with Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) as original co-sponsors. The companion legislation to H.R. 1128 is S. 229, introduced by Senator Udall’s Office. Currently, the entire Alaska Congressional delegation supports Indian Health Service advance appropriations authority.
Below is a copy of Ms. Boerner’s testimony.
Video of the Subcommittee Hearing.
ANHB held its February Mega Meeting in Juneau February 5-7 to resounding success. As part of the Mega Meeting, ANHB along with its sponsors was able to hold a 50th Anniversary Evening Reception. During the event, the Tlingit dance group Wosh.ji.een from Juneau performed traditional local dances, even getting attendees in on the action. Welcome remarks were given by Chairman Andrew Jimmie, and an opening prayer was given by Lincoln Bean, Sr. of the Organized Village of Kake.
A silent auction was held with donated items from ANHB’s member organizations featuring beautiful art from across the state. The fundraising efforts of the auction raised just under $8000 for ANHB cultural and welcome events, including the 2020 National Indian Health Board Consumer Conference which ANHB will host in Anchorage, September 2020. One of ANHB’s member organizations, the Tanana Chiefs Conference, created a Special ANHB 50th Year Anniversary video. The video documents the early history of the ANHB, its achievements, and interviews with many former and current board members.
As part of the celebratory events, ANHB’s Board of Directors directed the creation of a commemorative coin for the 50th anniversary. ANHB worked with the Alaska Mint to develop a coin featuring the ANHB logo on the obverse and a 50th anniversary design on the reverse. These coins were given as commemorative gifts of thanks to the Board of Directors and the Association of Tribal Health Directors. The coins have also been presented to members of the Alaska Congressional Delegation as a thank you for their work on behalf of Alaska Native peoples.
Below is the Special ANHB 50th Year Anniversary video.
ANHB would like to thank the sponsors and donors of our 50th anniversary celebration.
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
Alaska State Hospital & Nursing Home Association
Arctic Slope Native Association
Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation
Copper River Native Association
Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments
Eastern Aleutian Tribes
First National Bank Alaska
Hobbs, Straus, Dean, & Walker
Kenaitze Indian Tribe
Ketchikan Indian Community
Kodiak Area Native Association
Mt. Sanford Tribal Consortium
Norton Sound Health Corporation
Southeast Alaska Regional Health Corporation
Valdez Native Tribe
Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation
Diana L. Zirul