Story last updated at 1/28/2009 - 11:06 am
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Human Resources Department recently announced the opening of the Southeast Area Health Education Center in Sitka and the hiring of Iva GreyWolf, Ph.D., to serve as the center's director.
The Southeast Area Health Education Center (SE AHEC) is one of six regional sites for the Alaska AHEC program, which is focused on strengthening Alaska's health care workforce. The Alaska AHEC program is a partnership between the University of Alaska Anchorage School of Nursing's Alaska Center for Rural Health and various health care industry leaders from around the state. There also is a national AHEC program with sites in 45 states.
The Alaska AHEC program works in three distinct areas:
Encouraging Alaskans from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue health careers;
Coordinating clinical rotations, to encourage health professions students to secure employment in underserved areas and with underserved populations;
Providing continuing education/continuing medical education in underserved areas, toward the retention of those health care workers.
The main goal of the Alaska AHEC program is to increase the number of qualified health care workers in Alaska, and eliminate some of the shortages the state has for different provider type, especially in rural Alaska. Even though the SE AHEC site is based at SEARHC's Sitka campus, the center's recruiting, training and retention services will benefit all health care organizations throughout the region, from hospitals to private practices.
"The AHEC program is vital to Alaska's quest to 'grow our own' health care workforce," said Melanie Millhorn, SEARHC Director of Human Resources. "Iva understands first hand the challenges faced in trying to recruit and attract qualified staff into the behavioral health care field. To our benefit and her credit, Iva has a passion about turning challenges into opportunities by creating a long-term solution to address this important area."
GreyWolf holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in professional scientific psychology from Utah State University, an Master of Arts degree in special education (specializing in working with emotionally disturbed children) from the University of South Dakota, and a Bachelor of Science degree in rehabilitation and related services from the University of Montana Billings. She is a licensed psychologist, a nationally certified addictions counselor and a certified clinical supervisor.
GreyWolf spent 12 and a half years with the SEARHC Community Family Services program as a psychologist, supervisor and program director. She taught at Concordia College in Minnesota for three and a half years before arriving at SEARHC. She also spent several years working for the Indian Health Services as a mental health specialist in the Lower 48 and she has been a private consultant in the U.S. and Canada on Indian behavioral health issues (GreyWolf is Lac Courte Oreilles Anishinabe and Ft. Peck Assiniboine from Montana).
She was selected as a Minority Fellow through the American Psychological Association, and was honored as an Outstanding Indian Alumnus by the University of Montana Billings. She also received several awards from the U.S. Public Health Service for outstanding work with the Indian Health Service.
"I have enjoyed working with the people of Southeast for a number of years and I'm excited to serve them in a new way," GreyWolf said. "I have served as a clinician and an administrator, and now the opportunity to attract more people into health careers is a direction that I hope will benefit underserved populations."
The first person in her family to go to graduate school, GreyWolf said education played an important role in her life. All five of her daughters have bachelor degrees, with three of them holding masters-level degrees and a fourth nearly finished with a masters. She and her husband have 21 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
"They inspire me and reinforce the work I am dedicated to, making this a better world for the next generation," Greywolf said. "Education was a pathway out of poverty for me, and I see it as a necessity for joining the world community."
GreyWolf has a special interest in improving the quality of life in underserved areas, particularly focusing on Native/Indian populations. Her medical special interests include improving services for individuals who have experienced complex trauma; gender and culturally responsive services; interventions for suicidal individuals, grief and loss work; and improving addiction services and clinical supervision in the behavioral health field.
The SE AHEC office will be located in the SEARHC Human Resources Department building across from Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka.
GreyWolf can be reached by phone at 966-8674 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the Alaska AHEC program, go to the program's Web site at http://nursing.uaa.alaska.edu/ACRH/AHEC/default.htm. To learn more about the national AHEC program, go to http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/ahec/.