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Nonprofit Plans to Transform Cancer Care in Alaska

Feb 7, 2024 | Healthcare, News, Nonprofits

Choreograph | Envato

A new Alaska nonprofit organization, the Aurora Integrated Oncology Foundation (AIOF), announced its launch February 1 with a mission of improving cancer care access, services, and support for patients and families across Alaska.

AIOF brings together several established oncology centers under a unified mission and organizational structure to deliver advanced cancer treatment. The foundation’s network includes Anchorage Radiation Oncology Center, Mat-Su Valley Cancer Care, Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center, and Southeast Radiation Oncology Center.

Nonprofit Model Allows Community Support

The foundation’s nonprofit model is a response to the unique challenges of Alaska’s healthcare landscape. By prioritizing patient-centered care, the organization will follow a strategic, statewide model to better direct resources towards improving treatment facilities, enhancing staff capabilities, and broadening patient services. The foundation’s commitment to state-of-the-art cancer services is coupled with efforts to ease financial burdens for patients and to foster healthcare sector collaboration that will enhance cancer outcomes in Alaska. The model also allows for the foundation to reinvest profits into community health initiatives, including preventative care education programs and collaborations with other nonprofits focused on patient and family support.

“Alaskans affected by cancer are our priority, and we were determined to develop a model that would ensure they have access to high quality care long-term,” says Sherrie Wilson Hinshaw, AIOF’s president and CEO. “With the foundation model, we can combine resources to make strategic investments in technology and services. That means Alaskan cancer patients and their families, who already receive excellent care at AIOF centers across the state, can be assured that they will continue to receive exceptional cancer care services comparable to, or even better than, those available in the Lower 48.”

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The AIOF network of oncology centers has made significant strides in cancer care in Alaska. Since opening, the network of centers across Alaska has treated more than 14,000 patients, with a team of sixty healthcare professionals delivering around 20,000 radiation therapy treatments annually. The foundation’s inclusive approach ensures that all Alaskans have access to care regardless of their insurance status.

“Through AIOF, we are making a meaningful difference in the lives of Alaskans and their families facing cancer,” says AIOF board member Dr. Donna Galbreath. “Our commitment extends beyond treatment to nurturing a supportive community environment, setting a precedent in how cancer care is delivered.”

AIOF’s sustainable model aims to ensure the long-term viability of quality oncology care in the state. Governed by a board of directors, the foundation is focused upon creating impactful philanthropic avenues to benefit Alaskan cancer patients and their families. This includes maintaining consistency in care and ensuring transparent communication during all phases of the foundation’s development and operation.

In 2024, AIOF plans to contribute $500,000 to support workforce development programs, address patient barriers to care, and support nonprofit organizations in the care community like the American Cancer Society (ACS) of Alaska. Every year ACS provides free rides, flights, and lodging to more than 600 Alaskan cancer patients and their families.

“Cancer treatment is scary and stressful, not only for the patient, but also for their family,” says Alaska ACS Director Charissa Habeger. “We’re thrilled that Aurora Integrated Oncology Foundation will continue to provide care for Alaskan cancer patients while contributing additional funding to the local nonprofit community and we are grateful for their ongoing partnership in improving the lives of cancer patients in our state.”

For additional information about AIOF and its programs, please visit the foundation’s website at www.aiofak.org.

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Welcome to the 2024 Best of Alaska Business special section! For the ninth time we invited our readers to tell us which Alaska businesses they love the most, this year in forty-four categories. Throughout the month of March, you told us who should be featured in these pages, and we're thrilled to be able to publish the results.
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