A graduate of the University of Alaska with a master’s degree in public administration, Charles Clement also participated in the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard Business School. Charles Clement leverages his experience to serve as president and CEO of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), which recently hosted high school students for a unique educational program.
From April 23 through April 26, SEARHC welcomed 17 Native American and Indian high school students to participate in the Ethel Lund Village Health Occupations Program (VHOP). The students were selected to visit SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital for nearly a week to learn about the diverse array of health care careers in the community.
In addition to participating in a tour of the campus and a luncheon with SEARHC’s chief operating officer, students visited nursing stations and learned about the behavioral health and dental professions. Further, they enjoyed an overnight stay on Biorka Island, where they undertook communication and leadership training and met with Ethel Lund, the founder of SEARHC and VHOP.
Through the VHOP, SEARHC aims to expose students to the diverse menu of rewarding health care careers to encourage them to consider pursuing a career in which they can contribute to the health of the local community following graduation.
SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium
An accomplished public administrator with nearly two decades of experience, Charles Clement serves as the president and CEO of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). Overseeing around 1,000 employees, Charles Clement works with 15 board members in managing the consortium’s health care operations. SEARHC prides itself as one of the United States’ largest and oldest Native-run health organizations.
Last year, the SEARHC website posted about the Kick Butts Day initiative, in which advocates from all around the US speak out against the risks of tobacco use among youth. In March 2018, Juneau again participated in the annual initiative through various activities such as maintaining an information booth at Juneau Douglas High School and holding a “Kids in Jeopardy” game that centers on tobacco-related trivia.
According to statistics, tobacco use in Alaska claims 600 lives and results in $438 million in health care costs each year. Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in the United States.
During the Kick Butts Day initiative, health advocates clamor for strategies that can lead to a smoke-free generation. Tax increases and government prevention programs are seen as possible moves that could prove effective in the fight against youth tobacco use.
WISEWOMAN Women’s Health
Charles Clement is the CEO and president of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in Juneau. In this role, Charles Clement leads the organization in its efforts to support the health of the 27 communities of the region through efforts like SEARHC’s WISEWOMAN program.
WISEWOMAN is one of several programs aimed at communities that may need special help. This program focuses on women between the ages of 30 and 64, especially if they are in a low-income bracket or lack insurance for basic health care.
Cancer screening is a major aspect of this program, and this year, WISEWOMAN partnered with the Breast Cancer Detection Center to offer mobile mammography services to women in Alaska for whom traveling might be a barrier to get a screening. While lung cancer is the most common cause of death by cancer in the region, breast cancer is the second most common. Early detection can greatly help reduce the likelihood of death, and SEARHC aims to remove the financial and geographical barriers that might prevent women from getting screenings in time.
WISEWOMAN also helps Alaskan women access other kinds of screening and health care, including pap tests, screenings for chronic disease, and lifestyle programs for general health and prevention.
Charles Clement has been president and CEO of Juneau-based Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) since 2012, and brings more than two decades of experience in healthcare to the organization. One often-overlooked aspect of patient care Charles Clement oversees as the leader of SEARHC is healthcare security.
As part of a healthcare security initiative, Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital (MEH) has deployed the Hugs Wi-Fi Infant Protection system, as well as its Kisses Mother component. The Hugs and Kisses system protects infants from abduction anywhere within a hospital’s wireless network, using an ankle monitor with a tamper-proof detection band. Hospital administrators can track a monitored child anywhere within the hospital’s wireless area, and the detection of infants outside the labor and delivery unit with no staff transportation record automatically triggers an alarm. The Kisses component includes a wrist monitor for the mother, which notifies staff that mother and infant are together when the child and mother monitors are sufficiently close.
The implementation of this program is part of SEARHC’s commitment to patient safety and security. Hugs and Kisses is one of many such upgrades recently implemented at MEH to improve the quality of patient care.
Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital
An Alaska-based health care executive, Charles Clement serves as president and CEO of Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in Juneau. In this role, Charles Clement oversees a Native-run health organization that serves over 20 Alaskan communities.
With much of its work focused on providing patient-centered care for Native populations, SEARHC and its member organizations are committed to promoting healthy traditional activities and diets. As part of this work, Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital (MEH) in Sitka recently began offering traditional food options to inpatients.
To add the offerings to the hospital’s menu, the nutrition team at MEH coordinated with the Alaska State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Fish and Game to develop a process for accepting donations of traditional food items. As long as the items are handled and donated properly, MEH welcomes gifts of locally harvested meat and seafood as well as native plants and berries.
Currently, MEH offers a weekly “Chef Special” of venison stew made with fresh vegetables and herbs alongside venison harvested from the Sitka area. The hospital hopes that future menus will incorporate other indigenous foods, including herring eggs, beach asparagus, reindeer, and moose.
WISEWOMAN Women’s Health
A graduate of the University of Alaska, Charles Clement worked for more than a decade as a senior executive with Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage. In 2012, Charles Clement left the organization and joined Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), where he currently serves as president and CEO.
In addition to overseeing medical facilities in over 20 communities, SEARHC offers a number of programs to help prevent disease and injury among the populations it serves. The organization’s work in the area of health promotion includes the WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program, which provides cancer screenings and other services for Alaskan women.
Through the program, SEARHC partners with the Breast Cancer Detection Center to provide mammograms in remote communities using a mobile mammography van. The van makes various stops throughout southeast Alaska each spring and fall.
Other services offered as part of the WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program include free breast exams, pap tests, and cardiovascular screenings. The program also connects women to any follow-up care they may need. More information about WISEWOMAN and SEARHC’s other health promotion programs and activities can be found at www.searhc.org.
SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium
After graduating from high school in his hometown of Metlakatla, Alaska, Charles Clement went on to acquire a bachelor of science from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Alaska. Charles Clement serves as president and CEO of SEARHC, the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium.
SEARHC recently announced a new program to help people in the community living with Type 2 diabetes. The no-cost Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP) aims to help Sitka community members manage the emotional and physical effects of the illness on their own to help improve their health, general wellness, and confidence.
The DSMP, developed at Stanford University, uses evidence-based techniques that have shown positive results for patients who participated in studies. These techniques can help improve sleep, dietary habits, and communication with healthcare providers in order to manage symptoms like fatigue, pain, and blood-sugar fluctuations.
The weekly, interactive DSMP classes are led by facilitators who typically have diabetes themselves. Usually held in a community space such as a church, the participatory learning sessions may help attendees feel more connected to others facing similar issues. The classes are also open to friends and family of those living with diabetes so they can better support their loved ones.