New SEARHC Clinic is dedicated in Kasaan
Corrected Release - Kasaan, AK, July 24, 2013 – The Organized Village of Kasaan announces the opening of the new SEARHC Kasaan clinic on Prince of Wales Island. The new clinic is a prototype “micro clinic” designed for communities with a full time population of under 100 residents. Funding for the design work on this state-wide small clinic prototype was provided by the Denali Commission. The first deployment of the prototype is in the village of Kasaan. Construction project management was provided by the local Tribe, Organized Village of Kasaan.
The clinic construction was made possible through the efforts of combined funding from the Denali Commission, SEARHC, the Organized Village of Kasaan, the City of Kasaan and the Indian Health Service Tribal Equipment fund.
As part of the dedication ceremony on June 15, 2013, the new clinic was gifted to SEARHC who in turn, is leasing the land from the Organized Village of Kasaan. This new 975 square foot clinic in Kasaan replaces the current clinic which is about 250 square feet and did not allow for gurney or stretcher access, adequate storage, a provider office, or adequate patient confidentiality. Jon Wunrow, Project Manager for the Organized Village of Kasaan (OVK), also shared that the very small size of the old clinic did not allow for a mobile dental chair for itinerant dental care, or for more than one person to be seen at a time when visiting specialists are in Kasaan. The new clinic remedies all of these issues allowing for higher quality and more accessible healthcare in the community.
The clinic design includes two exam rooms, one of which is fully equipped for dental care, a locked lab and pharmacy space, a provider office, a covered ambulance bay, can handle gurneys and stretchers, and is equipped for telemedicine. The clinic will also cost the community less to operate as it has been built with extreme energy efficiency in mind, utilizing a highly efficient heating system and insulation envelope which minimizes heating fuel costs. The clinic also incorporates passive solar features and skylights for natural lighting. The June 15, 2013 dedication also included the unveiling of a beautiful carved sign and two totem poles, created by Kasaan Haida carvers Eric and Stormy Hamar.
"The Kasaan clinic is an excellent example of the unique abilities of the Denali Commission to work with an array of partners to design and construct a facility that best suits the needs of local communities," as shared by Tessa Axelson, Sr. Program Manager, the Denali Commission. The clinic was constructed on-time and under budget, which allowed for the addition of the dental suite, and a concrete sidewalk and ambulance bay to the original project.
“As a fourth generation resident of Kasaan, I have special pride in representing both the OVK and SEARHC at this historic time,” states Fred Olsen, SEARHC Board Chair.
“The SEARHC Board would like to thank the Denali Commission, the City of Kasaan, and the Organized Village of Kasaan for this beautiful clinic, "Ngiisdla Naay", Kasaan's Healing House. This is proof that with everyone working together, we can fulfill our mission to improve the health care of our Native people.” Continues Olsen.