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Governor Parnell Announces New Boards Appointments


December 18, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell announced appointments to the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council, Board of Nursing, State Commission for Human Rights, State Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, and Alaska Council on Emergency Medical Services.

Statewide Suicide Prevention Council

Governor Parnell reappointed Barbara Franks and Meghan Crow to the Statewide Suicide Prevention Council. The council works to broaden the public’s awareness of suicide and the risk factors related to suicide; enhance suicide prevention services and programs throughout the state; and develop healthy communities through comprehensive, collaborative, community-based, and faith-based approaches. In addition, the council builds and strengthens partnerships between public and private entities that will advance suicide prevention efforts in the state.

Franks, of Anchorage, has an extensive history of working on Alaska Native and suicide prevention issues, and is currently a program associate for suicide prevention programs with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. She has worked for the University of Alaska Southeast in Alaska Native student services, and in office positions with the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Point Sophia Development Project, and Huna Heritage Foundation. She also spent nine years as a legal secretary in Juneau. Franks earned an associate degree in human services from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). She is reappointed to a seat reserved for an individual who has experienced the death of a family member from suicide.

Crow, of Bethel, has been a social worker at Bethel High School since 1998. She previously worked in Bethel as a community educator and legal advocate for the Tundra Women’s Coalition and as a Jesuit volunteer. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a master’s degree in social work from Boston College. She is an Alaska-licensed clinical social worker, holds a state special services education certificate, and coaches girl’s high school basketball and junior high cross country. Crow is reappointed to a seat reserved for a secondary school employee.

Board of Nursing

Governor Parnell appointed Hannah Espera to the Board of Nursing. The board regulates and approves applications for licenses and permits, and discipline of nurses.

Espera, of Anchorage, is a licensed practical nurse at the Alaska Native Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Outpatient Clinic. She has also worked at the Providence Extended Care Center and as office staff at the Anchorage Fracture and Orthopedic Clinic. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a practical nursing certificate, both from UAA. Espera is appointed to a seat reserved for a licensed practical nurse.

State Commission for Human Rights

Governor Parnell appointed Jason Hart to the State Commission for Human Rights. The commission works to eliminate and prevent discrimination in employment, in practices by the state or its political subdivisions, in credit and financing practices, in places of public accommodation, and in the sale, lease or rental of real property. The commission also processes complaints from the public, holds hearings and orders appropriate relief, and makes an overall assessment, at least every three years, of the progress toward equal employment opportunity by every state department.

Hart, of Anchorage, is an executive business associate with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and a former member of the Alaska Air National Guard. He holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in business management from UAA. He is appointed to a seat reserved for an at-large member.

State Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children

Governor Parnell appointed Jimmy Ng and Pete Lewis to the State Council on Educational Opportunity for Military Children. The council works to provide for the coordination among state government agencies, local education agencies, and military installations concerning the state's compliance with the terms of the Compact and the activities of the Interstate Commission on Educational Opportunity for Military Children.

Ng, of Kodiak, is the director of mission and spiritual care for Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center. He retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2002 after 34 years of service. His career included work as the deputy director of international affairs and the commanding officer of three different Alaskan Coast Guard units. Ng graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and holds two master’s degrees: aeronautical systems from the University of West Florida and national resource strategy from the National Defense University. Ng has been the director of the Kodiak Island Health Care Foundation and served on the Boards of the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, University of Alaska Kodiak Campus, Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center, and the Rotary Club. He is appointed to a seat reserved for a stakeholder in the education of military children.

Lewis, of Fairbanks, is the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District Superintendent of Schools. He began his career as a teacher in Spokane, Washington in 1982, and served as a middle and high school principal as well as a district superintendent. Lewis earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Whitworth College. Lewis places great value on military-to-school partnerships, which he and Ft. Wainwright Army Post and Eielson Air Force Base commanders work diligently to maintain as a mechanism to enhance parental involvement and to improve student achievement. Lewis is appointed to a seat reserved for a superintendent.

Alaska Council on Emergency Medical Services

Governor Parnell appointed Abner Hoage and reappointed Dr. Danita Koehler to the Alaska Council on Emergency Medical Services. The council advises the commissioner of Health and Social Services and the governor on planning and implementation of the emergency medical services (EMS) system.

Hoage, of Unalaska, has more than 20 years of experience in fire and emergency medical services, and is the fire chief for the City of Unalaska. Prior to that, he worked in a variety of firefighting and emergency management roles with the United States Air Force. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business and a master’s degree in management and public administration from the University of Phoenix. He is appointed to a seat reserved for an EMS administrator.

Dr. Koehler lives with her family off the Alaska Highway near Tok, Alaska, by the Johnson River. Her work in emergency medical services began in the 1970s when the EMS workforce was first developing in the United States. She was among an initial group of EMT’s to work internationally with the Red Cross during the United Nations’ Cambodian famine and genocide relief mission of 1979-80. She earned bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and subsequently graduated from University of Washington Medical School. She has worked as a staff emergency physician in the Emergency Departments of Ketchikan General Hospital and Bassett Army Community Hospital since 1994. In 2013, she will chair the Rural Committee of the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP), and contribute as a member of the Medical Task Force of the State of Alaska Emergency Management operations. She is reappointed to the Governor’s Alaska Council on Emergency Medical Services representing trauma or emergency room physicians.

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