This position is based in Bethel Alaska, a community of 6,000 people in Southwest Alaska. The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) is a privately owned, non-profit 501(c)(3) tribal health organization with a board of elected members representing various tribal communities within the region. The corporation supports 1,411 employees and runs a hospital facility in Bethel that oversees the operation of 48 village clinics with 5 larger sub regional clinics in the Yukon-Kuskokwim (YK) Delta region. These village clinics are mostly staffed by Community Health Aides who provide primary health care to residents of their communities.
YKHC Tobacco Prevention and Cessation department, operating out of YKHC, is committed to tobacco prevention and cessation efforts for the YK Delta. Over the years our department has worked to change community rules, norms and practices around tobacco use in the region as well as to reduce tobacco related health disparities. Our department utilizes a comprehensive approach which includes increasing tobacco prices, promoting tobacco/smoke free events, offering cessation support services and supporting tribes to adopt tobacco free policies.
While we have enjoyed many successes, such as supporting the passage of a local tobacco tax, tobacco free tribal policies, and tobacco free smokefree events, we still have much work to do. We believe working with youth is a key component to reducing tobacco social norms and supporting youth to be the first generation tobacco free. However we simply have not had the resources for a youth tobacco prevention program.
Therefore it is our intent to utilize, train, develop and mentor an AmeriCorps member to support implementation and enforcement of tobacco free schools (primary and secondary) district wide that are consistent with Alaska Tobacco Free School policy recommendations. This may include prompting standardized evidence-based tobacco prevention curriculum within school districts for every class in each grade level, and assisting with the development of supportive interventions.
More specifically a dedicated AmeriCorps member focused on regional youth tobacco
Prevention activities will benefit our community by offering:
- Alternative to suspension for violating school district tobacco use policy
- Development of culturally relevant K-12 Tobacco Prevention Curriculum
- Youth Tobacco Cessation support group
- Establish & Support Youth Tobacco Prevention leadership opportunities
- Support & Coordinate youth tobacco prevention community activities
The AmeriCorps member would meet weekly with targeted youth’s groups such as Teens Acting against violence and 4H to coordinate 4 community Tobacco Prevention events. The meetings would occur at the Tundra’s Woman’s Center and Local teen center. The remainder of their time would be spent researching culturally relevant tobacco diversion programs and tobacco prevention curriculum, offer the programs to the School districts with the goal to support at minimum one of the seven YK Delta School Districts to adopt and implement the programs.