Lisa McGuire, manager of organizational improvement “We need health improvements”
by carlos matías
The Alaska Department of Health has released a report showing various aspects of Alaskans: they seek to live healthy lives, but many are overweight and obese, consume excessive alcohol or commit suicide.
The Healthy Alaskans plan is developed by the Department of Health and the Alaska Native Tribal Consortium. Lisa McGuire, manager of Organizational Improvement for this plan, talks to Sol de medianoche.
What are the findings of Healthy Alaskans 2020? Healthy Alaskans is a State Plan, a roadmap. It brings together partners from many sectors to ensure health equity. There are three areas in our ten-year goals: reducing alcohol consumption, overweight and cancer mortality.
In Healthy Alaskans 2020 we are concerned about adults, adolescents, and children with obesity; suicide among youth aged 15-24 or over 25; child maltreatment; rape and violence. Many of these issues need improvement, so they have been carried over into the Healthy Alaskans 2030 Health Improvement Plan, with 30 goals for 2030.
The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) participated in the study. Have other communities participated as well? Everyone had an opportunity to provide input in a survey, in community listening sessions, and with written comments. Health disparities are complex and there are often inequities in access to health care, education, housing, economic opportunity, or discrimination. Equity is a fundamental principle of Healthy Alaskans. We encourage all leaders and populations to commit to raising awareness about, and implementing actions that will improve their health conditions.
Is there a defined program? The HA2030 Alaska Health Improvement Plan is a roadmap. Each partner defines how it implements its work and aligns with the plan. HA2030 provides a framework based on a review of national models, such as Healthy People and County Health Rankings; completion of a health assessment; prioritization of health issues, objectives, and goals; and identification of strategies to achieve those goals. This collaborative planning process has fostered shared ownership and accountability.
The framework is based on the most recent health data and input from Alaskans across the state. Healthy Alaskans are rooted in the collective impact model that brings organizations together in a structured way, to achieve social change. Healthy Alaskans adopted the collective impact model because it focuses on having entities that serve as core support through planning and leadership; having a common agenda; shared goals; and ongoing communication. It’s everybody’s job.
How are you going to ensure equity in your program? The Department is implementing a Healthy and Equitable Communities Strategic Plan to address inequity issues. It is supported by CDC foundation funding and led by the Alaska Division of Public Health.
The Healthy and Equitable Communities Plan was designed to improve the health and wellness conditions of community members with significant barriers to better health. The Healthy and Equitable Communities Committee and the Healthy Advisory Team work to integrate and move toward shared work on these goals and strategies.
You must have funding so that communities are educated, informed, and supported. How do you do this with non-English speakers? Healthy Alaskans is the framework. Each partner defines how they implement their work and align with the plan, based on their organization, goals and funding.
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