Story last updated at 1/28/2009 - 11:06 am
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) recently named Melody Price-Yonts, MS, as the new director of the SEARHC Division of Behavioral Health.
Price-Yonts will lead one of the Southeast region's first and largest behavioral health programs. The SEARHC Division of Behavioral Health provides full-service psychiatry, clinical psychology and behavioral health clinician services from the Haa Tóowoo Naakw Hít outpatient behavioral health clinic in Sitka and the Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau; three nationally accredited residential substance abuse treatment centers (for adolescents, adults and women) in Sitka; the Community Family Services program that provides substance abuse prevention, education and counseling services in nine Southeast communities; and a nationally recognized telebehavioral health program where patients in remote communities can receive services from a psychiatrist or psychologist in Sitka or Juneau using videoconferencing so they don't have to leave home.
"We are very pleased that Melody is assuming the role of Director of Behavioral Health," said Mark Gorman, SEARHC Vice President of Community Health Services. "Her potent leadership and professional competencies are a tremendous asset. Further, Melody's strong cultural perspective adds a focus of critical value to SEARHC's behavioral health services. We are thrilled to have her leading our team of over 100 behavioral health staff in the region."
Price-Yonts' Tlingít name is Jukwaneeka (Peacemaker) and she is from the Wooshkeetaan (Eagle/Shark) clan of Kake.
"As a Tlingít from Southeast Alaska, I was drawn to SEARHC by its mission, vision and values," she said. "I am honored to have the opportunity to use my education and experience to serve SEARHC patients and clients."
Price-Yonts holds a Master of Science degree from the Xavier University College of Social Sciences in Cincinnati, Ohio. She also holds a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from the Xavier University College of Arts and Sciences. Price-Yonts grew up in Haines and joined the U.S. Army after graduating from Haines High School. Her interests include family and cultural activities and traveling to foreign countries.
Before her promotion, Price-Yonts served as SEARHC Acting Behavioral Health Division Director since October 2008, when longtime Division Director Pat Hefley was appointed the Deputy Commissioner of Family, Community and Integrated Services for the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. In her previous positions at SEARHC, Price-Yonts served as the quality improvement coordinator for Community Health Services, a substance abuse counselor and Native cultural consultant with Gunaanastí Bill Brady Healing Center, the acting clinic administrator at the Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock and administrator for outpatient behavioral health services (Haa Tóowoo Naakw Hít in Sitka, Ethel Lund Medical Center in Juneau and the Community Family Services program).
Prior to her arrival at SEARHC, Price-Yonts was an active duty soldier in the U.S. Army stationed in Germany, Oklahoma and South Korea; worked at Department of Defense hospitals in Germany and Fort Drum, N.Y.; and worked in health care management positions with government and private health care organizations in the Cincinnati area.