While many of the leading health indicators (LHI) in the Healthy Alaskans 2020 have made progress, the following four made significant improvement for both population groupings of All Alaskans and Alaska Native peoples. These improvements come from the hard work of various health and wellness partners across the state who implemented evidence based strategies for each issue. The recommended strategies were created using teams of experts and County Health Rankings to ensure they are the best practices for Alaska specifically (Click here to see the page with 2020’s strategies). With only one month until the rollout of the new Healthy Alaskans 2030 strategies, it’s time to look at a few of the successes of the last decade and highlight just some of the work that has been done.
HA2020 Leading Health Indicator 4a: Reduce the percentage of adults who meet the criteria for overweight
Both the State of Alaska and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium addressed this Leading Health Indicator by creating and supporting programs designed to promote nutrition and physical activity.
The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s nutrition program has partnered with many of the different health programs to incorporate nutrition education for topics like tobacco cessation, diabetes, and elder health. They have specifically paired up with the Food Distribution Program (FDPIR) to give healthy food demonstrations to recipients of the program using traditional, FDPIR foods, and store-bought foods. The emphasis in almost all their education is on traditional foods, like with the Store Outside Your Door Program which promotes both physical activity through harvesting and knowledge of traditional ways (Click here to learn more)
In 2012, the State of Alaska created the Play Every Day campaign that aimed to get children to get at least an hour of physical activity every day and reduce the number of sugary drinks consumed with lesson plans, public service announcements, and educational materials. The Leading Health Indicator was also supported by the Healthy Drinks project that trains dental providers encourage people to reduce consumption of sugary beverages (Click here to learn more).
HA2020 Leading Health Indicator 13: Reduce the percentage of adolescents who were ever hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the last 12 months
The ANTHC domestic violence program provided training to 9 tribal partners across the state to increase education and awareness about recognizing domestic violence and to increase community capacity for domestic violence prevention (Click here to learn more).
In 2017, the Alaska Safe Children’s Act went into effect requiring schools, statewide, to provide healthy relationships training. The State of Alaska’s Fourth R program is a curriculum that teachers can implement in grades 7-9 to teach students about safe and healthy relationships. As of 2017, the Fourth R program was implemented in over 100 schools in 28 districts and the teens who participated in the program were demonstrated increased knowledge, improved awareness of abusive behavior and reduced acceptance of physical aggression (Click here to learn more).
The Department of Education also created a required electronic training for all teachers in Alaska to increase understanding and recognize domestic violence and sexual assault in students and families.
HA2020 Leading Health Indicator 15b: Reduce the percentage of adolescents who report binge drinking in the past 30 days
Both ANTHC’s substance abuse prevention program and Recover Alaska have worked to support and fund the Be [You] statewide media campaign that was used to prevent and reduce underage drinking by promoting the fact that the majority of Alaska teens don’t drink alcohol and highlighting healthy choices. This campaign was led by the Alaska Wellness Coalition and is still active through Mat-Su’s Thrive coalition and Be[You] Fairbanks (Click here to learn more).
Statewide, the Healthy Choices, Healthy Voices coalition, supported public education projects and events focused on decreasing substance misuse and other health topics.
Recover Alaska has also helped to fund the development of a curriculum on substance misuse and addiction prevention with the Homer Resource and Enrichment Co-Op (R.E.C. room) that provides resources for teenagers ages 12-18.
HA2020 Leading Health Indicator 23: Reduce the rate of adults who could not afford to see a doctor in the last 12 months
As of May 2014, Tribally Sponsored Health Insurance Program has helped increase insurance coverage for over 10 tribes and Tribal organizations, increasing the options for services for Alaska Native peoples who are traveling or away from their local Tribal health facilities. The program covers the insurance premiums and supports people who aren’t eligible for other government healthcare options (Click here to learn more).
In 2016, the State of Alaska passed Senate bill 74 to redesign the Medicaid program, which had initiatives to improve coverage for behavioral health, long term care, and telehealth. With the expansion, over 43,993 Alaskans are enrolled in Medicaid.
These are not the only partners of Healthy Alaskans and the descriptions above just brush the surface of the work that has been done over the past decade and will continue into the future for each of these health topics and more. If you have a Healthy Alaskans success or if your organization has worked on any of the leading health indicators, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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