Alaska Models and Innovations
These stories feature model programs and successful rural projects that can serve as a source of ideas. Some of the projects or programs may no longer be active. Read about the criteria and evidence-base for programs included.
Updated/reviewed February 2018
- Need: Rural Alaskans are significantly more likely to be obese compared to the rest of the state.
- Intervention: The rural community of Hoonah, AK, is creating more opportunities for participation in physical activities and community engagement through Hoonah Fun and Fit Partnership.
- Results: Healthier school menus and various fitness options are being encouraged throughout the community. Community members have reported healthier lifestyles and higher levels of physical activity.
Updated/reviewed December 2017
- Need: There is a shortage of rural physicians in the Northwestern United States.
- Intervention: University of Washington medical students are receiving training through the TRUST program in rural, underserved communities across a five-state radius.
- Results: Long-lasting connections have been formed among regional and underserved communities, medical students, and rural health professionals, producing more rural physicians as a result.
Updated/reviewed July 2017
- Need: To increase collaboration between healthcare facilities and other organizations on a rural Alaska island in order to provide better access to and quality of healthcare.
- Intervention: A health network focused on collaboration in order to best meet healthcare needs of island residents.
- Results: Increased collaboration and cooperation among healthcare facilities and other organizations, leading to enhanced healthcare services for island residents while eliminating unneeded duplication of services and filling in service gaps.
Updated/reviewed June 2017
- Need: Drowning was a leading cause of death for children in Alaska.
- Intervention: Cold Water Safety and Survival for Educators workshops were developed in 1998, with help from a 4-year federal grant, to train educators to provide education and hands-on skills for school children and members of the public.
- Results: The safety program was integrated into many Alaskan schools curriculum, helping to train hundreds of educators and thousands of Alaskan children on the importance of cold water safety.
Updated/reviewed April 2017
- Need: To ensure a well-qualified and sustainable Alaskan workforce to meet the current and future health care needs of its residents.
- Intervention: Establishment of the Alaska Health Workforce Coalition (AHWC), a public-private partnership created to develop, facilitate, implement, and support a statewide health workforce system.
- Results: Coalition efforts impacted multiple state policies and programs, including a loan repayment and incentives program, completion of a health vacancy study, and the development and expansion of health-related education programs.
Added November 2016
- Need: To bring a low-cost water and sanitation system to an Alaska Native village with no running water or sewer system.
- Intervention: The Portable Alternative Sanitation System (PASS) collects and treats water and disposes waste without traditional piping.
- Results: Residents in the pilot project reported that PASS was cleaner and healthier than the self-haul method.
Updated/reviewed October 2016
- Need: The teen suicide rate in rural Northwest Arctic Borough, Alaska, was 7 times higher than the statewide teen suicide rate.
- Intervention: The Teck John Baker Youth Leaders Program trains student leaders to effectively give support to struggling peers and appropriately deal with social issues.
- Results: The number of teen suicides in the Northwest Arctic Borough decreased from 8 in 2008 to 5 in 2009 (when the program first began) and has successfully dropped and remained at zero every year since.
Updated/reviewed July 2016
- Need: 80% of rural EMS providers are volunteers. Distance, time, and cost make it difficult for these volunteers to attend continuing education and maintain certification.
- Intervention: Inland Northwest Health Services delivers free online training to rural EMS providers via video teleconferencing.
- Results: The EMS Live@Nite program provides free, monthly training to rural EMS providers in the northwestern part of the United States. The Program is available through live video conferencing from certified locations in rural communities.
Last Updated: 2/21/2018