Study group identifies top 25 Alaska health care concerns

Healthy Alaskans 2020, a joint effort between the state of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, has released its “25 Leading Health Indicators” — a list of critical health priorities for Alaska. The indicators provide a science-based framework for identifying public health priorities and are designed to guide efforts in Alaska over the next decade to improve health and ensure health equity for all Alaskans.

The selection process was a collaborative effort among a wide spectrum of partners statewide and was both data- and community-driven. A team of experts spent 10 months reviewing Alaska-specific quantitative data related to a broad range of health factors, gathered information from subject matter experts, and considered input from two public surveys in establishing the 25 indicators. The surveys were conducted in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013 to ascertain Alaskans’ top health concerns and received over 3,000 responses from individuals across the state.

The 25 leading health indicators include reducing the rates of cancer, suicide, and interpersonal violence and sexual assault. Alaskans also wanted to see alcohol, tobacco and drug use curtailed, and an increase in disease prevention through vaccines, improved access to in-home water and wastewater services, and lowering Alaska’s obesity rate.

Target goals for each of the 25 indicators have been established. The next step will be to initiate efforts, or increase existing efforts, to reach those goals.

“Success in meeting the leading health indicator targets will require a combined effort on the part of all Alaskans — from individuals to communities to policymakers — working together to promote health and prevent illnesses,” said Beverly Wooley, community health systems performance improvement director with ANTHC.

All Alaskans are encouraged to review the 25 leading health indicators on the Healthy Alaskans 2020 website at

Alaskans are also encouraged to register for the program’s GovDelivery email distribution list to receive updates and notices of other opportunities to stay involved throughout the process.

Healthy Alaskans 2020 is part of the national Healthy People 2020 project to provide science-based, 10-year national objectives for ambitious — yet achievable — goals for improving the health of all Americans.

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