IHS Awards Alaska-based Southcentral Foundation Traditional Healing Clinic
The Southcentral Foundation recognizes the importance of culturally sensitive health care.
Ileen Sylvester, Southcentral Foundation's vice president of executive and tribal services, accepted the Director’s Special Recognition Award for Public Health Leadership on June 29 in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the Anchorage, Alaska-based Traditional Healing Clinic of the Southcentral Foundation from Dr. Yvette Roubideaux, director of the Indian Health Service (IHS).
The Alaska Native-owned, nonprofit health care organization serves nearly 60,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people living in Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna Valley, and 60 rural villages in the Anchorage Service Unit.
“This award is for outstanding public health leadership incorporating traditional healing practices into a total medical care regimen for the benefit of native patients, families, and communities,” said Dr. Roubideaux. “This fusion of native values, beliefs, and practices with modern medical practices is a prime example of the positive power of federal self-determination policies that allow Indian tribes to manage their own health care.”
Alaska Native approaches help Tribal doctors assist people of all ages throguh supportive counseling; traditional cleansing, songs, and prayer; and consultations with tribal elders. The clinic also includes an Alaska Native traditional healing garden, which is used as a teaching garden. The majority of the garden’s plants are native to Alaska and have been used for thousands of years to nourish and heal Alaska Native people.