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April Meeting Minutes

Date: Tuesday, April 9th, 2024
Start Time: 10:05AM
Stop Time: 10:58AM
Attendance:
  • Sierra Winter

  • Gina McCullough

  • Amanda Simpson

  • Abigail Vanwormer

  • Mary Gunderson

  • Brenda McCain

  • Michael Powell

  • Jennifer Lockhart

  • Lynn Williams

  • Lisa Boyles

  • Ashley Minaei

  • Bronn Salmon

  • Melitta White

  • Glory Dollarhide

  • Ronni Spaulding.


Minutes:

Sierra Winter, Northern Valley Health Coalition (NVHC) board chair, calls the meeting to order at 10:05AM and suggests new members to introduce themselves to the group.

 

Michael Powell introduces himself as the division of behavioral health prevention and early intervention with the State of Alaska (SOA). Michael is the health program manager.


Sierra introduces Lisa Boyles who is a WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) representative. She explains that WIC Is a supplemental health program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). She explains additional services provided:

-          Height and weight checks

-          Hemoglobin checks (certain levels get referred out)

-          Possible future testing: Led testing, in older communities this may still be an issue

-          Breast feeding lactation consultant

-          Dieticians


Lisa Boyles explains that 2,000 women and children are served in the Mat Su Valley right now. COVID affected a lot, but it has now allowed WIC users to become eligible via telephone instead of having to come into the office to be eligible.


Food packages start for newborns, infants, and mothers. These items include fruits, vegetables, canned protein such as tuna, beans, peanut butter etc. WIC provides farmers market checks for $30.00 to use at any market during the season in the State of Alaska. Lisa shares her pride of the Mat Su Valley farm’s ability to provide amazing fresh fruits, vegetables, and other items. WIC attempts to address every food group to provide.


Lisa shares that the referral aspects within WIC are much more prominent now with the familiar health and social determinants conditions seen today. They have been collaborating with mental health entities and substance abuse programs to ensure families are assisted with healthy resources. Any new mother, even if they do not have custody of their children, is eligible for WIC. There has been a big increase in WIC applicants since the lag with eligibility for the SNAP program.


Promoting breast feeding has been on the top of the WIC programs radar since the 1980’s. They offer training for mothers to breast feed and can offer breast feeding support as late as 10:00PM AK time.


Lisa states that Cubby's Marketplace is the only vender in the northern valley that accepts WIC food vouchers. She adds that anyone on Denali Kid Care is approved for WIC.


Lisa informs the group that WIC is currently working on data to break down where exactly needs are, Willow is the second most in need to Wasilla.


The group discusses the amount of processed and sugary foods offered through these food assistance programs that have an impact on the health of the individuals. Michael Powell states that the NVHC and similar small groups are very powerful and capable of advocating for change to what food is provided to families in need through programs such as WIC.

Sierra explains that the NVHC could collaborate to write up a nutrition petition to advocate for a change.


Sierra explains that the NVHC is working to receive the 501C3 federal recognition. NVHC is currently working on revamping the website, please send any ideas to Sierra.


NVHC is collaborating with the Denali Education Center to create a community calendar that will inform the community of events with a goal to avoid event conflicts.


Sierra states that today is the last call for signatures of support for Sunshine Community Health Center's (SCHC) professional rural housing through the Denali Commission Grant. There is a signature panel on the main page of the NVHC website, and members can add their signatures there. SCHC mobile unit will be arriving soon, and input is welcome to address the needs within our region. Behavioral health has naloxone kits available, please call SCHC or come into the clinic to receive a kit for free.


Lisa states that Cubby's Marketplace is the only vender in the northern valley that accepts WIC food vouchers. She adds that anyone on Denali Kid Care is approved for WIC.

Lisa answers that WIC is currently working on data to break down where exactly needs are, Willow is the second most in need to Wasilla.


Sierra, Board Chair, opens the floor for round table discussions.


Brenda shares that May 4th is National Wild Land Fire Preparedness Day and there will be a Wildfire Prevention event at each local fire department.


Brenda shares that on May 18th from 11AM-2PM there is a fourth annual Su Valley Emergency Preparedness Fair that will take place at the Willow Community Center that provides information on preparation for earthquakes, floods, other natural disasters, and other emergency preparedness trainings.


Michael Powell shares a lot of events and training opportunities with the State of Alaska on May 7th-10th. Follow our NVHC events page for more information: https://www.nvhealthco.org/event-list.



Next Meeting Planning:

Date: Tuesday, May 14th, 2024

Time: 10:00 AM



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