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December 2019

in this issue

Welcome to the December Edition of Iñuuniaġniq


The Iñupiaq translation for December is Siqiñġiḷaq, the month with no sun. It is the time when people clean their ice cellars before the New Year. Also, the whales caught in the fall are distributed at the local Christmas feasts. In this issue, we have information on the Drive to Thrive, ASNA Holiday events, toy safety tips, and more. Enjoy!


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2019 Employee of the Year

Amber Leavitt-Hopson


Amber Leavitt-Hopson was selected by the ASNA Administration as the recipient of the 2019 Employee of the Year Award. Amber was also recognized for reaching her 5-year milestone with ASNA.

Rightfully promoted to Housekeeping Supervisor this past year Amber excelled in her new role. With her attention to detail and strong work ethic, Amber and her staff go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure excellent environmental services at the hospital for the patients and employees.

Nominated and celebrated by her peers Amber upholds the mission of ASNA and the core Inupiat Values of which ASNA is guided. Congratulations on a well-deserved honor Amber!

Amber joins a distinguished list of individuals who have received Employee of the Year Honors since its reintroduction in 2014.


2014 Audrey Saganna                                             2017 Hermie Romero

2015 Joan Gaela                                                     2018 Becky Andrew

2016 Cynthia Nethercott                                          2019 Amber Leavitt-Hopson


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ASNA Employee Special Recognitions


Also at ASNA’s Employee Appreciation Holiday event, dinner was served and employees were recognized for their outstanding service. ASNA’s own Bowhead Café catered the event and the Holiday Planning Committee decorated the Ipalook Elementary Gymnasium to create a holiday atmosphere. Those who attended also took home a holiday ribbon and a select few took the floral arrangement centerpiece.

ASNA would like to recognize the following employees for their dedication and service.



Mary Erjoy Malijan         Katie Akpik                   Rowell Manalang                     Lailanie Nobleza

Rosemarie Perez              Xius Jucutan                 Amber Leavitt-Hopson          Alisi Mafi

Renata Nobleza                Andres Librado             Fifita Tuai                                 Amanda Stein

Barbara Medlin                Aubrey Amistoso          Ilaisaane Tuai                          Maria Tuazon


Taya Saxton Joan Gaela


Marie Carroll


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KBRW Drive to Thrive, ASNA Hour


KBRW’s “Drive to Thrive” is an event that takes place over the course of 2 weeks. Local organizations donate their staff and time to sing songs and tell stories to raise money for the North Slope wide radio station KBRW. KBRW is vital to residents on the North Slope for local news, entertainment, weather, and more.

During the ASNA time slot we received $2,835 in phone pledges. ASNA incentives included a hoodie, turkey, thermos, measuring-tape and a tote bag.


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December is Safe Toys and Celebrations Month


The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the staff of SSMH would like to encourage holiday shoppers from buying toys that could potentially cause serious eye injuries. Toys with projectiles, laser/light beams and sharp edges are better left on the shelf. Damages to the eye can have life-long effects including blindness.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission an estimated 226,100 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2018.

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Fall Prevention


Everyone is at risk of falling, and as we grow older, the risk increases. A few medical conditions that may occur with aging include arthritis, cataracts, or hip surgery. Here are some fall prevention and home safety tips:

  • Eat foods rich in Calcium and Vitamin D.

  • Be active. Walk often and excercise.

  • Have your vision checked annually.

  • Always have a clear path in each room.

  • Be sure to keep wires tight along the walls.

  • Put a non-skid mat in the bathtub.

  • Use a sturdy step stool.

  • Wear ice grippers or ice cleats on the ice.

Please stay safe and make a checklist for home safety. .

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Stay Alert!


Always be aware of Polar Bears in our NSB communities. We love to be active and enjoy the outdoors, but we must be alert to the possibilities of wildlife. If you see a bear please contact the NSB Police Dept. at (907) 852-6111 or the NSB Wildlife Dept. at (907) 852-0350.


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Joint Commission/CMS Survey


We successfully completed 2 surveys: The Joint Commission and CMS Validation survey. Both surveys were in-depth inspections of the facility, all hospital operations, medical records, human resources, medical staff credentials, dietary, infection control, environmental services, and leadership.

Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital and the staff earned validation of The Joint Commission Accreditation. This recognition means that ASNA/SSMH complies with the highest national standards for safety and quality of care and is committed to continually improving hospital care.

“We had a very extensive and thorough survey by 4 surveyors in 5 days. As an organization, we did very well. Our staff can be proud of their performance and service to the community. Each of the surveyors said they would get their care here.” - Hospital Administrator, Richard Hall

The success of these surveys is a result of continuous planning, process improvement, and hard work of our organization. Congratulations ASNA!  


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ASNA Spirit Days


In observance of local and national awarenesses, ASNA shows their support celebrating and identifying those awarenesses as Spirit Days.


Traditional Day


On November 22nd, Traditional Day, staff expressed pride in their cultural heritage by wearing traditional regalia to work.


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Medical Travel & Funeral Assistance (MTFA) | Patient Travel Information


ASNA administers the Medical Travel and Funeral Assistance (MTFA) program serving the Arctic Slope communities of Anaktuvuk Pass, Atqasuk, Kaktovik, Nuiqsut, Point Hope, Point Lay, Utqiagvik and Wainwright. Below you will find some important tips for applicants.

For medical travel:

1. MTFA provides aid to eligible Arctic Slope Regional Corporation shareholders and residents of the North Slope Borough with medical or funeral crisis when no alternative funds are available to pay for such services.

2. Applications MUST be turned into the MTFA office five (5) days prior to departure day. There are many waiting periods that MTFA staff cannot control. This includes waiting on the applicant's employer to provide income verification or receiving health information.


The applicant is responsible for providing the referral or medical referral appointment letter to the MTFA staff. MTFA staff are available to provide assistance seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Main line: (907) 852-9114 | On Call: (907) 331-9495 | Fax: (907) 852-9152 | E-mail:


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Social Services Outreach 


The Social Services Department administers programs for residents throughout the North Slope, including job placement, higher education scholarships, adult vocational training, family preservation, Indian Child Welfare assistance, preventative behavioral health services, tribal childcare, medical and burial assistance. If you need assistance with applying for any of these programs, please schedule an appointment with social services.


For information or questions, please contact Rebecca Harris, healthy family advocate, at Telephone: 907.852.9180 | Cell Phone: 907.367.6237 | E-mail:


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Baby & Me Program


ASNA Social Services Family Preservation & Development continues to host weekly activities for parents and their toddlers, ages 0-4. The activities are themed play dates centered around child development.

Play dates are scheduled every Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the old hospital large commons (entrance C). Each week, guest speakers will share information as it relates to healthy families and early child development. We look forward to seeing you and your baby at the next "Baby and Me" event.


• The Baby and Me Program will resume in January


For information or questions, please contact Family Preservation and Program Support at Telephone: (907) 852-9196 |


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Tribal Care Program


ASNA Social Services is sponsoring the Tribal Child Care program for children ages 13 and under whose parents are employed and/or actively taking classes. The child must be enrolled or eligible to enroll into a federally recognized tribe. Eligibility is also based on family size and income.


For information or questions, please contact Daphne Leavitt, family preservation and development program coordinator, at 907.852.9379 E-mail: 


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ASNA Radio Hour│Fridays @ 11am


In an effort to do more community outreach and education, ASNA hosts a weekly one-hour KBRW radio show. Join us from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday mornings.


Here is the programming schedule for October:


• December 6 – Medicaid

• December 13 – Healthy Holiday Tips

• December 20 – Safe Toys Awareness


This schedule is subject to change at any time due to changes with KBRW scheduling or any unforeseen medical emergencies.


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Dates to Remember


Mark Your Calendar

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Dental Village Trips


The Dental Clinic Visits for this upcoming Month of Novemeber:

  •  Nuiqsut: December 2-6 (Dentist)
  • Point Lay: December 9-13 (Dentist)

Dates are subject to change. To see the dentist, please call your village health clinic to ensure your name is on the "dental list" with your current phone number(s).


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Specialty Clinics


Specialty Clinic appointments are only for those who receive a referral from a Primary Care Provider.


• Podiatry Clinic: December 2-4

• Audio Clinic: December 2-6

• Pulmonary Clinic: December 5-6

• Stress Clinic: December 9

• Sleep Studies Clinic: December 9-11

• Pediatric Clinic December 10-12

• Endoscopy Clinic: December 16-17


For more information, please contact the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital Specialty Clinic directly at Telephone: 907.852.9284 | Toll Free: 888.525.7764


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Eye Clinic Schedule in Utqiagvik


The Eye Clinic is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the following days.

  • December 2-6
  • December 9-12

For more information, please contact the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital Eye Clinic directly at Telephone: (907) 852-9291 | E-mail:


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SSMH Medicaid/Medicare Outreach


Outreach staff is available on weekday's from 8AM to 5PM at the Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital for those who would like to apply for Medicaid benefits and other public assistance programs such as Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP, which was formally known as food stamps, Temporary Assistance Program, Adult Public Assistance, and General Relief. The outreach department travels to the villages of Atqasuk, Wainwright, Pt. Lay, Kaktovik, and Nuiqsut, and the staff can be reached at the village clinics. Please stop in and see us or call 852-4611 for more information.


SSMH Outreach and Enrollment staff will be traveling to the following villages to help patients with enrollment in Medicaid and/or Medicare, senior benefits, and other public assistance programs:


• Nuiqsut: December 16-18 with Peata Tuifua


Medicaid can also help pay for medical travel including flights, hotels, and food. If you are pregnant, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Patient services paid by Medicaid or Medicare will allow SSMH to invest in new services. If you have questions, please contact SSMH Patient Benefits at Telephone: 907.852.9365 | Toll Free: 888.525.7764



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Medical Provider Village Trips

  • Point Lay: December 2–6 (Provider Visit)
  • Point Lay: December 5–6 (Podiatry)
  • Nuiqsut: December 16-20 (Provider Visit)

To schedule your appointment with SSMH Physician Assistant, please call your NSB village health clinic to ensure your name is on the list with your current phone number(s).


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ASNA Job Vacancies



  • Nurse Case Manager (2 Positions)
  • Nurse Manager-Primary Care
  • Patient Care Technician I (PCT) PRN
  • Patient Care Technician I (PCT)
  • Primary Care Nurse (2 Positions)
  • Registered Nurse Case Manager
  • Registered Nurse Emergency Room
  • Registered Nurse Inpatient
  • Registered Nurse – LDRP
  • Registered Nurse Primary Care (2 Positions)
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Respiratory Therapist (PRN) On-Call



  • CT Technologist
  • X-Ray Technologist
  • Mammographer
  • X-Ray Technologist
  • Pharmacist
  • Pharmacist (Temporary)
  • Staff Dentist TDY/On-Call
  • General Dentist



  • Accounting Specialist I
  • Assistant Director of Human Resources
  • Assistant Laboratory Manager
  • Barista
  • Clinical Training Coordinator
  • Dental Assistant
  • Elder Care Specialist On-Call
  • Emergency Room Technician
  • Family Preservation Coordinator
  • Family Preservation & Development Program Manager
  • Food Service Kitchen Helper (Temporary)
  • Fleet Laborer
  • Healthy Family Advocate (Nuiqsut)
  • Healthy Family Advocate (Wainwright)
  • Housing Housekeeper
  • Housekeeper (Temporary)
  • HR Generalist I
  • Indian Child Welfare Act Advocate
  • Lead Dental Assistant
  • Maintenance Laborer
  • Maintenance Specialist II
  • Medical Technologist
  • MTFA Coordinator I
  • OJT Dental Assistant (2 Positions)
  • Patient Access Rep (On-Call)
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Pre-Maternal Residential Assistant On-Call (Night)
  • Quality and Compliance Risk Analyst
  • Registrar Scanning Specialist (Re-Post)
  • Systems Administrator
  • Travel Assistant (Temporary)


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Upcoming ASNA Holiday


Christmas Eve

December 24, 2019

Christmas Day

December 25, 2019

New Year's Day

January 1, 2019


In observance of the upcoming holidays, the ASNA and SSMH offices will be closed with exception of the ER/emergency department and all other staff essential for emergency medical care.


The front entryway of SSMH will be closed; please enter through the ER, or southeast end of the building.


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PO Box 1232
Utqiaġvik, Alaska 99723


General SSMH Contact List

Primary Care: (907) 852-9156

Pharmacy: (907) 852-9277

Dental: (907) 852-9221

Eye Clinic: (907) 852-9291

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