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State Releases Top 25 Health Concerns in Alaska

By Caslon Hatch, Health, Science and Technology Reporter, chatch@ktuu.com
Published On: Oct 15 2013 01:05:00 PM AKDT
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

Healthy Alaskans 2020, a joint effort between the state of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Alaska Native Tribal Health consortium, has released its top 25 leading health priorities for the state.

“This is the first known effort where a tribal entity and a state government has come together to make a set of health goals and priorities,” said Lisa Aquino, a Department of Health and Social Services public health specialist.

The list includes reducing the rate of alcohol dependence, reducing tobacco and drug use, reducing the rate of cancer deaths and curbing obesity rates.

“It really did a true assessment of what was important in terms of health in Alaska,” Aquino said.

Access to clean water and improved sewer services in Rural Communities is also on the list of top 25 health priorities in the state.

“We’ve seen a lot of improvements over the last decade but still there is still so far to go,” said Laurie McKeown with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. “Many of our communities don’t have the clean water and sewage services that everyone should have to be a healthy community.”

‘Healthy Alaskans 2020’ used two public surveys and state-wide data to come up with the list of 25 health indicators.

“In those surveys we asked Alaskans what were your number one health issues and what are the issues you see in your community,” Aquino said.

Aquino said the data, that is now available through the state’s website, will help align resources and connect professionals statewide to develop more efficient ways of improving Alaskan’s health.

“It’s very important to all Alaskans and our communities because it’s about making our population healthier and our communities healthier,” McKeown said.

Both McKeown and Aquino said they believe these goals and others are achievable by the year 2020.