ANHB’s Water and Sanitation Committee has released a White Paper, entitled “Ongoing Barriers to Access Water and Sanitation in Rural Alaska”, to highlight continued barriers to achieving access to water and sanitation systems in our unserved and underserved rural Alaska communities.
Piped water prevents disease and unnecessary suffering, and saves money and lives. Health disparities in rural Alaska persist due to lack of piped water systems. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided $3.5 billion to the Indian Health Service (IHS) for sanitation facilities construction for Alaska Native and American Indians, but the projects in rural Alaska still require cost contributions for the costs to serve public facilities. The State of Alaska is in a position now to support these projects through its Village Safe Water (VSW) Program, yet several barriers exist for rural Alaska communities to access this funding. Operation and Maintenance Best Practices scores and Sustainability Plan requirements prevent communities from accessing VSW Program funds, which are required to match federal funds from USDA and EPA. The result of these barriers is that our rural Alaska, predominately Alaska Native communities will miss the opportunity to leverage VSW funds to fully serve communities. We should act now to take advantage of the opportunity the IIJA offers to provide lifesaving water and sanitation in rural Alaska.
You can read the full White Paper by following this link.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Committee (STAC) met in Albuquerque. Tribal leaders met with federal officials to receive updates and share ways to collaborate to improve health and wellness of American Indian and Alaska Native people. The committee is pictured here with Xavier Becerra, HHS Secretary. Alaska Native Health Board participated with Alaska Area Representatives.
On July 13th, Governor Dunleavy signed House Bill (HB) 265 Health Care Services by Telehealth introduced by Rep. Spohnholz. As a result of the unity of the Alaska Tribal Health System (ATHS), and the strength in Tribal and stakeholder partnerships, this legislation was successfully passed. The Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) celebrates the passage and signing of this historic legislation alongside the entire ATHS to bring more equitable access to health and behavioral health services for Alaska Native people across the state. The bill signing was attended by representatives of the ATHS both in-person and virtually via Zoom, including ANHB, Southcentral Foundation, Maniilaq Association, Norton Sound Health Corporation, and ANTHC. To read the full press release on the bill, you can visit the House Coalition webpage here.
Tribal partners with Rep. Spohnholz (center) at HB 265 bill signing. Left to right: Ted Madsen, Policy Analyst for Corporate and Intergovernmental Affairs at Southcentral Foundation (SCF); Michelle Baker, Acting Vice President for Behavioral Health Services at SCF; Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, Leanndra Ross, Sr. Director for Corporate and Intergovernmental Affairs at SCF, and Zoe Merculieff, Legislative and Policy Advisor at ANHB.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2022
ALASKA NATIVE HEALTH BOARD
ALASKA LEGISLATURE HONORS ANDREW JIMMIE
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) congratulates ANHB Vice Chair and former Chairman, Andrew “Andy” Jimmie who was honored by the 32nd Alaska Legislature for his advocacy, time-honored service and contributions to the State of Alaska. A longstanding Tribal leader in Alaska, Andy has worked tirelessly to improve healthcare for all Alaska Native people.
Andy is a resident, Tribal citizen, and former chief of Minto, and is the Second Traditional Chief of the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) region. Andy is the former Chair and current Vice Chair of the ANHB Board of Directors and serves on the ANHB Executive Committee and TCC Executive Health Board. Andy also represents TCC on the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) Board of Directors, served as a Doyon Board Member, and a Minto Village Council Member.
For decades, Andy has advocated on behalf of all Alaska Native people and rural Alaskans, serving as the Chairman of the TCC Regional Health Board starting in 1991. He provided leadership in the adoption of Tribal Self-Determination in healthcare for Alaska, helping create the Alaska Tribal Health Compact and the development of Tribal healthcare programs and services which were previously operated by the United States Indian Health Service. During the 2000s, his impact and leadership continued by way of building waterline and sewer systems, improved roads, new clinics, and his contributions in creating the nationally recognized Dental Health Aid Therapy Program in Alaska. Andy’s hard work ethic and ability to unify people made way for these developments, including ANHB and ANTHC.
Andy continues to serve as a leader and advocate to expand substance abuse and mental health services, elder services, and water & sewer solutions for all communities in Alaska. His strong commitment to serving his people, resourcefulness, and compassion all serve as an example to his friends, family, and colleagues. At eighty-seven years old, Andy’s leadership and love for his family and Alaskans continues to create positive ripple effects within his community and state.
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 advocacy organization and voice of the Alaska Tribal Health System.
The members of the Thirty-Second Alaska State Legislature are pleased to recognize and honor the service and contributions of Andrew “Andy” Jimmie to the State of Alaska.
A resident, Tribal citizen, and former chief of Minto, Mr. Andy Jimmie has been a longstanding leader in Alaska. Andy serves on the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) Executive Health Board. He has been the Chair and is the current Vice Chair of the Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) Board of Directors. Andy also represents TCC on the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Board of Directors; he served as Doyon Board Member and a Minto Village Council Member. In 2002, the Alaska Federation of (AFN) presented Andy with the AFN Health Award. In 2016, Andy received the Legacy and Leadership Award from the Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation. In his early years he served in the U.S. Army, before working as a laborer and retiring from the Laborers’ Union.
In honor and memory of his mother, Andy worked from an early age to improve healthcare for Alaska Native people. In the 1990s, Andy provided leadership in the adoption of Tribal self-determination in healthcare in Alaska, helping create the Alaska Tribal Health Compact. He supported the development of Tribal healthcare programs and services which were previously operated by the US Indian Health Service. In his region, Andy began serving as the Chairman of the TCC Regional Health Board in 1991. During the 2000s, his impact and leadership continued by way of building waterline and sewer systems, improved roads, a new hall and new clinics. He was a great proponent and contributor to creating the Dental Health Aid Therapy Program in Alaska, now a nationally recognized program. Andy’s hard work ethic and ability to unify people made way for these developments, including ANHB and ANTHC.
Always humble, Andy has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of Alaskans, advocating on behalf of Alaska Native and rural Alaskans at the local state, and federal level. He continues to serve as a leader and advocate to expand substance use and mental health services, elder services, and water & sewer solutions for all villages in Alaska through the COVID-19 pandemic. His strong commitment to serving his people, resourcefulness, and compassion all serve as an example to his friends, family, and colleagues. At eighty-seven years old, Andy’s leadership and love for his family and Alaskans continues to create positive ripple effects within his community and state.
Andy and his wife of over sixty years, Barbara, have four adult children: Laverne, Dede, Loretta, and Douglas, and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. They are what he considers gifts from heaven. Andy carries his strong family values and heritage everywhere he goes. He spent a lot of time around his mother and grandparents, Suzy Williams and Grandpa “Chief”. In the winter and spring camps of Minto, Andy learned to hunt and fish. During this time, his family instilled in him life lessons like, “treat people how you want to be treated,” “always lend a helping hand to your Elders,” and “nothing comes easy, you need to work hard.” These valuable teachings reflect Andy’s unwavering life of love, service, and contribution to his people.
The members of the Thirty-Second Alaska State Legislature honor the many contributions of Andrew “Andy” Jimmie to Alaska, and wish him many happy, healthy, and fulfilling years to come.
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.