ALPHA Board Blog 28 Mar 2021

What would a vaccine for the climate crisis look like?

Over the past year, many commentary writers have pointed out similarities between the coronavirus pandemic and the climate crisis. They’ve reminded us that, in both cases, we were warned by experts. Many government leaders denied the existence of both problems, and some of the general public were drawn into dismissing the experts. Both threats have no regard for national borders, with the most vulnerable people everywhere being at highest risk.

Okay, fine, but what can that tell us about finding solutions? Well, here’s another important similarity: individual, voluntary actions by citizens aren’t enough. It takes policy actions by the federal government.

Small, individual actions we can take to help fight climate change include replacing light bulbs with LEDs, reducing our meat consumption, and driving less. In a way it’s the same with social distancing and wearing a mask to fight Covid-19 – individual efforts can help slow down the rate of increase (of Covid-19 cases, or of greenhouse gases), but by themselves they aren’t enough to bring an end to either crisis.

For the pandemic, the real solution, of course, is widespread vaccination. And although the vaccines are manufactured by private companies, ensuring their rapid development and distribution are things only the federal government can do. (more…)

ALPHA Board Blog 13 Feb 2021

ALPHA members who attended the membership meeting at the 2021 Health Summit last month participated in one of our primary forms of member engagement, the annual vote to adopt resolutions. This year we adopted seven resolutions on a wide range of topics, all drafted and submitted by members. (You can always find ALPHA’s resolutions, past and present, under the Advocacy & Policy tab above.) In coming weeks, we’ll review each of the 2021 resolutions here, beginning with “Human Health and Protection of Nature.” (more…)

ALPHA Board Blog, 3 Feb 2021

The weeks, and then the days, leading up to the annual Alaska Health Summit were such a frenzy of activity for the ALPHA board and our conference coordinator that these days since the Summit feel almost empty in comparison. Summit preparations were of course made extra complicated by taking it online for the first time. It’s a relief to have the event successfully behind us, and gratifying for all that we learned about the process — especially because of the excellent attendance and participation by ALPHA members. Thanks to all who were there! (more…)

APHA’s Keep It Moving Challenge

Keep It Moving Alaska!

It’s time to get moving — and it’s more fun if we do it together. That’s why the Alaska Public Health Association is participating in APHA’s Keep It Moving Challenge. We’ve created a team called “Alaska Public Health Association.” When you join you’ll be able to track how far your activity takes you each day, see total distance for our team and the collective progress of all teams toward the goal of crossing the country on a virtual map.

The 2021 Challenge begins Jan. 1 and runs through April 11. You can sync your step counting device (iPhone, Android, Fitbit, Apple watch, etc.) or enter activity manually if you don’t have a device. So register today, and let’s get moving! We’ll have a lot of fun, improve our health and keep moving! Join today! 

2021 Alaska Health Summit

“Public Health During Changing Times”

Thank you 2021 Health Summit Sponsor

Division of Public Health/Chronic Disease Prevention Health Promotion

UAA Division of Population Health Sciences

Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA)

Alaska Cancer Partnership

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Mat-Su Health Foundation

Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (AMHTA)

Providence Health & Services Alaska

Alaska State Hospital & Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA)

Municipality of Anchorage – Anchorage Health Department

SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC)

Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT)


Thank you 2021 Health Summit Exhibitors

Actionable Data Consulting

Alaska Pacific University

American Lung Association in Alaska

American Society for Circumpolar Health

ANTHC AK Native Epidemiology Center

Assistive Technology of Alaska

Collective Change Consulting

Food and Drug Administration

healtheConnect Alaska

i360 healthcare

Recover Alaska

Racism is an ongoing public health crisis that needs our attention now

Date: May 29 2020

Contact: APHA Media Relations, 202-777-3913

Statement from American Public Health Association Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD

“I can’t breathe.”

With those last words, George Floyd, an unarmed, handcuffed black man, died this week after being pinned down by a white Minneapolis police officer, an atrocious action that has sparked outrage throughout the nation.

We raise our voices, too, horrified, stunned and angered.

We are appalled but are not surprised by the despicable way Floyd was killed. We weep for the man, his family and a country that continues to allow this to happen. We also join in the chorus for justice and ring the alarm to all Americans. Racism is a longstanding systemic structure in this country that must be dismantled, through brutally honest conversations, policy changes and practices.

Racism attacks people’s physical and mental health. And racism is an ongoing public health crisis that needs our attention now!

We see discrimination every day in all aspects of life, including housing, education, the criminal justice system and employment. And it is amplified during this pandemic as communities of color face inequities in everything from a greater burden of COVID-19 cases to less access to testing, treatment and care.

Americans cannot be silent about this. As Martin Luther King, Jr. observed, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

We refuse to be silent, and we call for you to join us in our advocacy for a healthier nation. At the American Public Health Association, every moment of our waking hours is poured into finding better, more healthful lives for all, so everyone has a chance to breathe. It’s our life-blood.

APHA champions the health of all people and all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at

Supporting public health supports all Alaskans

“Public health” is a phrase you hear everywhere right now. The COVID-19 pandemic has focused attention on the federal, state and local public health agencies we depend on to guide us through an infectious disease crisis. Most of the time, though, it’s easy to ignore all the behind-the-scenes work done by public health workers and agencies that makes modern life possible. But as we’re finding out, if we don’t support public health systems they may not be ready when we really need them.

Public health is more than preventing and stopping pandemics. It’s everything that promotes and protects the health of people where they live, learn, work and play. Whereas physicians treat us when we’re sick or injured, those working in public health prevent us from getting sick or injured in the first place, by providing services such as immunizations and disease screening and by encouraging healthy behaviors. Some examples of the many public-health occupations are: restaurant inspectors, health educators, nutritionists, researchers, social workers, epidemiologists, infection control officers, and, of course, public health physicians and nurses.

Earlier this year, the Anchorage Daily News reported that “Years of cuts have starved Alaska’s public health system.” There is now some supplemental funding to address COVID-19, but we need a truly robust public health system in both good times and bad. That’s where the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the Alaska Public Health Association (ALPHA) come in. APHA, in coordination with its state and regional affiliates, works with key decisionmakers to shape public health policies, year after year. Those include ensuring access to care, protecting funding for core public health programs and services, and eliminating health disparities. APHA is the leading voice for public health in the nation, and ALPHA, the state affiliate of the APHA since 1976, is the leading voice for public health in Alaska.

Concerned Alaskans of all backgrounds can join ALPHA to work with public health professionals for a better, healthier future. Are you a parent concerned about kids using tobacco and vaping products? Do you care about your neighbors who rely on Medicaid? Do you wish somebody would do something about restoring health and social services for all the people you see on the streets? Are you a student interested in a career in nursing or epidemiology? Do you worry about the cleanliness of the air you breathe and the water you drink? Are you alarmed about the likely health effects of the climate crisis? Opioid abuse? Domestic violence? ALPHA is working to improve our state’s ability to deal with each of those issues, and more.

There’s a role for each of us to play in strengthening public health in Alaska. We can all let our legislators know we want appropriate funding for public health nurses and epidemiologists, for mental health services, and for university programs that conduct research and provide training on medicine and public health. A good way to stay informed and raise your voice together with other concerned citizens is to join ALPHA. You’ll receive regular updates on important health policy issues, and you’ll have the best public health information right at your fingertips. Just click on the Membership tab above.

We are all deeply invested in public health, and we’re all put at risk when our public health systems are allowed to decline. Do your part, by learning more about public health and the work ALPHA is doing for you every day.