Thursday, June 26, 2014

Prof. Knudsen talks to students in Della Keats program about impact of the law on health care in Alaska

Prof. Knudsen points to the damage to the hospital in Unalaska during WWII.
Prof. Kristin Knudsen, J.D., Legal Studies faculty in the Justice Center, was invited to speak to high school students in the Della Keats Health Sciences Summer Program at UAA on June 25. She discussed "The Impact of Law on Medicine and the Delivery of Health Care in Alaska."

This residential summer program, established over 30 years ago, is named after Della Keats, an Inupiaq traditional healer, and seeks to foster, affirm, and encourage high school students’ interest in the medical professions. Between 2002 and 2013, over 200 high school students attended the program. The diverse group has included Hmong, African American/Black, and 77 Alaska Native youth.  Dr. Ian van Tets, Program Director, notes that to date, every student who has participated in this program has gone on to attend college - and many have entered a medical profession.

 Della Puyuk Keats
Inupiaq traditional healer
(1907 - 1986)
There is no cost to participants.  Funding comes from WWAMI (Alaska's Medical School), grants, the New York Life Foundation, and other private funding. The program has two phases. The class of 2014 has 12 students  in Della Keats Part 1 and 4 students in Della Keats Part 2 in research internships. The number of slots for this year's class decreased by nearly half due to budget cuts. (The class of 2013 had a total of 25 students.)

WWAMI sponsors this UAA program for high school students who 1) come from an ethnic minority background, 2) live in rural Alaska off the road system, 3) are first-generation American, 4) speak English as a second language, and/or 4) are economically disadvantaged.  Students must have a 3.0 GPA, provide references, and have demonstrated interest in entering a health profession, including medicine, nursing, dentistry, physical therapy, or public health. The program is run in collaboration with the UAA School of Nursing and the Department of Health Sciences.