National Tribal Health Conference opens in Anchorage
The National Tribal Health Conference got underway Tuesday morning at the Dena’ina Center in downtown Anchorage.
About 1,200 tribal health advocates from across the country are meeting to deal with almost every facet of Indian health care -- from operating clinics, to serving veterans, fighting diabetes, as well as looking at the impact of climate change on health.
The Alaska Native Health Board is working with the National Indian Health Board to host this year’s gathering.
Alberta Unok is head of ANHB and says this year’s theme is: “Culture Heals. Culture Knows. Culture Leads.”
“Prior to health being provided by Public Health or the Indian Health Service or the federal government, traditional health was a key component of our communities,” Unok said. “So, we utilize traditional healers, traditional plants.”
Unok says the conference draws members from twelve regional health boards around the nation, who have come to Anchorage to share the challenges they face in delivering health care, as well as some of their success stories.
“The National Indian Health Board brings together great minds in one place, that fuel creative energy, Collective action,” Unok said. “We talk about health innovation to elevate the health of all American Indian and Alaskan Native people.”
The first day of the conference features a keynote address from Valerie Davidson, president and CEO of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. There are also sessions on tribal health equity, healing intergenerational trauma, addressing gaps in mental health care and traditional plants. The day will wrap-up with a culture night, showcasing Alaska’s Indigenous peoples.