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.