Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation
A healthcare executive in Alaska, Charles Clement formerly held the position of COO of Southcentral Foundation, which works to improve the health and wellness of the native community in Alaska. In 2012, Mr. Clement transitioned to the role of president and CEO of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). Active in his community, Charles Clement actively supports the activities of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), which hosts symposiums on the topic of Alaskan Plants as Food and Medicine.
The ANTHC Health Promotion program will host two “Alaskan Plants as Food and Medicine” symposiums in 2017 to promote ethical harvesting, knowledge of traditional plants, and traditional ways of gathering and growing food. The symposiums are a response to the need to educate the next generation on the use of Alaskan plants.
The new generation is facing a gap in knowledge and skills in this area, which is largely a result of the overreliance on imported foods. In 2017, rather than hosting one central event in Anchorage, the ANTHC will offer two regional conferences: one in Kotzebue from September 6 through 8 and another in Kenai from September 15 through 17. To learn more about the ANTHC and its programming, visit ANTHC.org.
Charles Clement serves as the president and chief executive officer of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), a nonprofit tribal health group based in Juneau, Alaska, that involves 18 native communities. Under Charles Clement’s leadership, SEARHC fosters health awareness through an assortment of health-promotion programs.
These programs support healthier communities through identification and fulfillment of unmet healthcare needs. Additionally, the programs provide assistance with public policy, education, and problem-solving for issues related to community health. Although the programs cover a range of health issues, they operate with a universal goal of preventing disease and injury, supporting sick individuals, and advocating for public health policies.
SEARHC currently administers six health-promotion initiatives that include the WISEWOMAN Women’s Health Program. This serves low-income, under-insured, and uninsured Alaskan women by enabling them to access lifestyle programs and chronic disease risk-factor screenings. Additionally, it removes financial barriers that prevent them from affording cancer screenings, and provides referral services for preventing cardiovascular disease. Staff can also assist women in receiving any necessary follow-up care.
SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium
Since 2012, Charles Clement has served as president and chief executive officer of SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). Charles Clement brings decades of experience to this role.
Recently, SEARHC promoted the Through with Chew Week, a national effort to raise awareness of the health impact of smokeless tobacco use. In Alaska, the use of smokeless tobacco remains a major issue.
Some people have the perception that smokeless tobacco is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. The Through with Chew campaign helps people realize the dangers of smokeless tobacco. The campaign is especially important in Alaska, where adult use of smokeless tobacco has remained consistent from 1996 to 2015.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer reports the presence of 28 carcinogenic chemicals in smokeless tobacco. A common form of smokeless tobacco is chew, which can cause changes in the soft tissues of the mouth that are precursors to oral cancer. In addition, chewing tobacco irritates the gums and can lead to gum recession. Further, many products contain sugar, which can cause dental decay.
Alaska Native Health Board
Accomplished healthcare executive Charles Clement oversees operations and development at the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) as president and CEO. Active in the professional community, Charles Clement is involved with such professional organizations as the Alaska Native Health Board.
A 26-member board entity, the Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) has been promoting the physical, mental, and cultural well-being of Alaska Native people since 1968. In October 2016, the organization reported on the Northwest Commission on College and Universities’ recent approval of the Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) program. Offered at Iḷisaġvik College in Barrow, the newly accredited program gives DHAT students the chance to earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. It improves graduates’ career options and grants DHAT students full access to the Tribal college’s student services, such as tutoring and financial aid.
Iḷisaġvik College and ANTHC first announced its efforts to accredit the DHAT program in 2015. They formally announced their partnership at that year’s DHAT graduation ceremony and stated that students who started the DHAT program in July 2015 were the first students to be enrolled in the degree program. Over the years, the DHAT program has made huge contributions to the overall well-being and oral health of Alaska Native individuals in the rural areas of Alaska. Dental care and prevention services were expanded to over 40,000 Alaskan Native people in 81 rural communities.
Alaska Native Health Board
The CEO and president of Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), Charles Clement oversees employee management, infrastructure development, and execution of government contracts. In addition to his responsibilities with SEARHC, Charles Clement is also a member of the Alaska Native Health Board.
Established in 1968, the Alaska Native Health Board aims to promote holistic well-being within the Native peoples of Alaska, with the primary objectives including policy analysis and advocacy. This advocacy extends to increasing the number of health aides in the state through education. Recently, this goal was reached in part by the certification of 171 behavioral, dental, and community health aides.
These community health aides work in areas such as communicable disease control, maternal health, and environmental health in remote and underserved municipalities. Certification in these areas–received through the affiliated Community Health Aide Program Certification Board–allows many individuals to remain in or near their own communities, where jobs may otherwise be scarce.
This increase of community health aides raises the statewide total to almost 500 certified practitioners.
Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium
Since 2012, Charles Clement has been the chief executive officer and president of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. With previous positions at the Southcentral Foundation and Aetna US Healthcare, Charles Clement has spent his professional life in Alaska’s health care industry. For Alaska and Colorado business professionals, drastic change may be on the horizon as the states consider a single-payer health care system.
Traditionally in the United States, our third-party payer system means that we pay premiums to insurance companies like Aetna. In a single-payer system, the government provides health care, with citizens paying higher taxes to make up for it.
While Colorado is putting the decision to a vote, Alaska is considering it out of desperation, as the state has only one commercial insurer for residents under age 65. Since 2015, the state has lost three insurers due to Alaska’s isolation and relatively small population.
In June 2016, the Alaska state government approved a bill to subsidize health care costs for high-risk patients, paid for by levied taxes on insurance. Switching to a single-payer health care system will give Alaskans something in common with their closest neighbor, Canada, which is also on a single-payer system.
Zika and the Olympics
Charles Clement has served as the president and CEO of Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium in Juneau, Alaska, since 2012. In addition to his professional work on a local level, such as developing infrastructure to support 18 Alaskan communities, Charles Clement also closely follows emerging public health trends across the world.
With growing international concerns about the Zika virus, a group consisting of 150 doctors, scientists, and medical ethicists have publicly called for the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to be pushed back or perhaps even relocated. In a letter to the World Health Organization (WHO) the group claims that the virus represents a danger to the athletes competing in the games, as well as spectators and media who will travel from outside the country to attend.
For its part, WHO has released a statement asserting that cancelling or moving the games will have no impact on the spreading of the virus. The group goes on say that numerous other countries have reported Zika outbreaks, yet travel within those countries is still safe, granted travelers follow the proper advice and precautions. WHO did, however, advise pregnant women not to travel to any area where the Zika virus has been reported, including Rio de Janeiro.