Local News

Sitka shortlisted for national health prize

Sitka has been shortlisted for a national health prize, called Roadmaps to Health. This week, a team from the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in New Jersey visited to check out the city’s efforts to promote public health.

261 cities applied for the prize, and Sitka is one of twelve finalists. Six winners will receive a $25,000 grant.

The prize aims to reward cities that have embraced a broad approach to public health. That means taking into account traditional indicators like access to healthcare – but also looking at a wider range of issues.

“The most important issues are health behaviors — whether we smoke, are physically active, our diet,” said Robert Wood Johnson Foundation spokesman Joe Marx. “But even more important are social and economic factors, things like education, high school graduation rates, how many kids in poverty in your community, income, physical environment. Do you have safe places to walk and exercise? Things like that”

The team visited sites around Sitka, including the Hames Center and Pacific High School. Marx said the team was particularly impressed by the fish to schools program and the community gardens and Choose Respect Mural at Blatchley Middle School. Most of all, though, he said the team was impressed by a sense of community.

“What really struck me were the partnerships in this community,” Marx said. “The relationships are really genuine, they’re really authentic, it’s clear. People knew each other by first name, they work with each other, and you value that here in Sitka. That was very impressive to us.”

The prize is based on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings, which compare health indicators among every county in America.

The prize winners will be announced in June, 2014.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Peanut is a “hoot” at Raptor Center

Peanut is a 13-year-old Western Screech Owl currently living at the Alaska Raptor Center. KCAW photo/Vanessa Walker
There’s a new bird in town, and she’s a little shy. After a long career in education, she doesn’t have a lot of patience for the classroom. But for the right student, she still has plenty to teach. These days, she’s settling into a comfortable retirement, just off Sawmill Creek Road-- at the Alaska Raptor Center. more

SEASWAP: How to stop a whale of a thief

homet2
Linda Behnken, the Executive Director of the Alaska Longline Fisherman's Association was joined by Tori O'Connell, the Research Director of the Sitka Sound Science Center, to provide an update on SEASWAP (The Southeast Alaska Sperm Whale Avoidance Project). As O'Connell explains, the project just secured $311,000 in funding to continue research on a sperm whale avoidance network this fall. The avoidance network will tag whales in the Chatham Strait black cod fishery and give fisherman devices to communicate where the whales are located. Downloadable audio. more