Chalkyitsik Clinic Grand Opening
Anchorage, Alaska, May 17, 2013 – The Chalkyitsik Traditional Council is hosting grand opening festivities to celebrate the completion and opening of their new clinic today, May 17, 2013. The Denali Commission in partnership with the Chalkyitsik Traditional Council, Indian Health Service, and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority invested just over $2 million in both design and construction of the newly constructed clinic.
The 1,642 square foot facility, designed and constructed by the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), is a much needed and welcome addition to the Community. The state of the art facility will provide the residents of Chalkyitsik with exam rooms, dentistry offices, sleep-over quarters, behavioral health offices, a pharmacy and a waiting room. During construction, ANTHC focused on local hire and seven jobs were held by community members throughout the project.
Stephanie Herbert, First Chief, Chalkyitsik Tribal Council said “the clinic has been planned for years and has everything the health aide needs.” Additionally, Herbert shared that the old clinic was so small that people could not effectively move around during emergencies. Additional room in the new clinic also means that when dental providers are in town they will no longer have to set up in the school to provide service to residents.
Mary Nathaniel, the Community Health Aid/Practitioner for Chalkyitsik added that she is very excited about the new technology available in the clinic. The health records will now be electronic, enabling patient files to easily be shared with doctors providing services via telemedicine. The state of the art facility will also allow for a Physician Assistant to visit Chalkyitsik three times a year, more often than with the old facility. Additionally, residents can use a brand new large screen to video conference with healthcare providers.
Chalkyitsik is located on the Black River about 50 miles east of Fort Yukon. Access is primarily by air and no roads connect Chalkyitsik with other villages.
Introduced by Congress in 1998, the Denali Commission is an independent federal agency designed to provide critical utilities, infrastructure, and economic support throughout Alaska. With the creation of the Denali Commission, Congress acknowledged the need for increased inter-agency cooperation and focus on Alaska's remote communities.