3RNet Blog

Thanks for visiting the 3RNet blog! Blog posts are written by members, staff, and partners. If you have an idea for a blog post, or are interested in writing one, please contact Kristine Morin, Director of Communications and Marketing, at Morin@3RNet.org.

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This post comes to us from our Alaska 3RNet member, Eric Peter.

The history of health care in Alaska has its origins with Alaska’s indigenous people. Today, a tribal health system forms a vital network of health care that extends to all parts of the state.  From the earliest days of health care in Alaska consisting of indigenous natural medicines, to care later on by teachers and missionaries, then a network of public health nurses and a handful of doctors, health care in Alaska has presented unique challenges, many directly related to the sheer size and geography of the state. One of the most notable examples was in 1925 during a diphtheria epidemic in Nome. Diphtheria serum was rushed to Nome by dogsled from Nenana, 700 miles away. This event, called the “Great Race of Mercy,” is still commemorated each March with the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Alaska’s indigenous population – consisting of Inupiat, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and Athabaskan – encompasses a wide array of cultures, traditions and languages, all set against the backdrop of the state’s incredible natural beauty. Providers of health care in underserved areas often report the satisfaction and personal reward of making a difference in people’s lives. Working with indigenous peoples offers a window into ancient traditions of food gathering and cultural values. Working with tribal health organizations provides a unique opportunity to participate in health care on a true frontier, embracing Alaska’s spirit of adventure.

The Alaska tribal health system consists of over 30 tribes and tribal organizations that provide services to over 150 communities. Many of these provider sites are situated in small villages. Typically a tribal organization will consist of a geographic hub that oversees services and provides itinerant care to smaller communities in the region. Often tribal health organizations provide the only health care in rural Alaska. Not only do tribal health organizations provide vital health care, they also offer opportunities to health care providers to pay off school debt through the National Health Service Corps, Indian Health Service, and State Loan Repayment Programs.

Alaska’s tribal health organizations use 3RNet extensively to post career opportunities in communities from Sitka to Barrow, and from the southeast Panhandle to the Aleutian Islands. These communities offer health care providers the chance to deliver vital service to medically underserved and health professional shortage areas.

A large number of 3RNet tribal health opportunities direct to the email address healthcare@anthc.org. This is the contact email for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), located in Anchorage. ANTHC coordinates health care recruitment for communities throughout Alaska. The ANTHC website, https://anthc.org/, provides additional information on job prospects.

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