Project Jukebox

Digital Branch of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program

Project Jukebox Survey

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CHAmontage2.jpgThis project includes interviews with community health aides, doctors, nurses, medical trainers, and communications technicians who have been involved with Alaska's Community Health Aide Program. This program was established in 1968 to provide rural health care by training local people as medical providers. Currently, there are approximately 500 health aides/practitioners in over 170 rural Alaska villages.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Oral History Program conducted the interviews in 2005 and 2006 and put together this site with funding from the University of Alaska Health Programs through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. The final project was reviewed by CHAP Program Directors. In 2020, the Community Health Aide Program Project Jukebox was upgraded from its original HTML format to Drupal. The information in this project reflects the context of the original creation date. Some information may now be out of date.


Marge Adams Marge Adams

Marge Adams was born in Yakutat, Alaska in 1932 and graduated from the Catholic Mission high school in Skagway, Alaska. She married George Adams, raised six children, and became a community health aide in Yakutat in the mid-1970s. Marge went on to Physician's Assistant training in New Mexico, and was health aide coordinator for the Cook Inlet Native Association in Anchorage, and the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium in Sitka.

Bob Ahgook Bob Ahgook

Bob Ahgook was Nunamiut Iñupiaq and was born on September 29, 1929 to Myrtle and Jesse Ahgook near the mouth of the Colville River in northern Alaska. He and his family moved around quite a bit until they settled in the village of Anaktuvuk Pass in the 1940's. In 1953, a flu epidemic hit and Bob helped administer penicillin to the village. In 1968, he was selected as a community health aide by village members because people always came to him for help. He had five children to support and was... Read More

Rose Ambrose Rose Ambrose

Rose Ambrose is a Koyukon Athabascan elder from Huslia, Alaska. She was born in 1928 to Eliza and George Attla, Sr. in Koyukuk, Alaska, and grew up along the Koyukon and Yukon Rivers living a traditional subsistence lifestyle moving to seasonal camps for hunting, fishing, trapping, and berry picking. Her brother is the late, George Attla, Jr. ("the Huslia Hustler"), widely considered one of the best sprint sled dog racer to ever compete in Alaska. Rose attended... Read More

Hannah Anderson Hannah Anderson

Hannah Anderson was born on December 10, 1924 to Eva Brasil and David Tobuk in Alatna, Alaska, and was raised in Old Bettles (five miles downriver from the current Bettles site). Her father was a sternwheeler operator and her mother raised Hannah and her three siblings. Hannah's mother died young, so Hannah helped raise her younger siblings, and moved into Fairbanks when she was seventeen years old. Hannah moved back to Bettles in 1948 when her husband, pilot James "Andy" Anderson was hired... Read More

Willa Ashenfelter Willa Ashenfelter

Willa Ashenfelter is Iñupiaq and was born on July 4, 1940 to Lucy and Abraham Lincoln in the village of White Mountain, Alaska. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle with summers at fish camp. Her father died in 1952 from tuberculosis, so her mother and the children did all the hard work of harvesting, cutting, and drying the fish. Willa got married in 1959 to George Ashenfelter and raised six children in White Mountain. In the early 1960s, the Ashenfelters spent five years... Read More

Irene Aukongak Irene Aukongak

Irene Tagumaaq Aukongak was born on January 2, 1937 in the village of Upper Kalskag, Alaska. Her father was a fur trapper so the family moved around a lot, and the children missed a lot of school. Eventually, she and her younger sister spent three years at the Holy Cross Mission school in Holy Cross, Alaska. From 1954 to 1955, Irene attended licensed practical nurse training at Mt. Edgecumbe School in Sitka, Alaska. She got a job as a nurse at the... Read More

Paula Ayunerak Paula Ayunerak

Paula Chigayuk Ayunerak is Yup'ik and was born in 1938 to Maria and Charlie Augustine in Fox Village, located between Black River and Scammon Bay, Alaska. She grew up out on the land near Scammon Bay and did not go to school until she was sent to the village of St. Mary's at age fifteen. After being in the hospital for tuberculosis, Paula eventually graduated from high school in Tacoma, Washington and spent another year in the area attending nurses training. In 1966, Paula married John... Read More

Elsie Bergman Elsie Bergman

Elsie Bergman is Koyukon Athabascan and was born in September 1944 to Mary and Arthur Williams in Allakaket, Alaska. She grew up living a traditional subsistence lifestyle based upon hunting, fishing, trapping and berry picking with her father, step-mother (Jenny Williams) and siblings. Elsie married Kenneth Bergman, Sr. on December 31, 1962 at the St. John's in the Wilderness Church when it was 62 degrees below zero. Together they had seven kids, raised their three grandchildren, and cared... Read More

George Brown Dr. George Brown

Dr. George Brown practiced medicine at the US Public Health Service Native hospital in Tanana, Alaska from 1970 to 1972 where he worked with community health aides in the surrounding villages. He later had a private practice and was an orthopedic surgeon in Fairbanks, Alaska. Upon retirement, George and his wife, Marcia, settled in Portland, Oregon.

Rita Buck Rita Buck

Rita Buck was born in 1952 in her grandmother's cabin in Golovin, Alaska. When Rita was three years old, her mother, Martha, married Steven Agloinga and they moved to White Mountain. She attended grade school in White Mountain and graduated from high school in Unalakleet in 1971. In 1973, Rita applied to be an alternate health aide in White Mountain and worked with and learned from Willa Ashenfelter. Rita received her health aide certification in 1987, became a full-time health aide in 1994... Read More

Dr. Michael Carroll Dr. Michael Carroll

Dr. Michael Carroll was born in 1944 in Atlanta, George and grew up in Portland, Oregon. He first came to Alaska in 1968 when he was a student at the University of Oregon Medical School. After graduating medical school and completing his internship, he returned to Alaska and was a doctor at the US Public Health Service Native hospital in Tanana, Alaska from 1970 to 1972. He left the state for more specialized training with an oncology fellowship at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City... Read More

Linda Curda Linda Curda

Originally from Chevy Chase, Maryland, Linda Curda attended the University of Maryland School of Nursing and upon graduation in 1972 drove to Alaska with her husband. She got a job as a nurse at the US Public Health Service Native hospital in Bethel where she mostly focused on birth and babies. From 1975 to 1977, she completed a combined Nurse Midwifery and Masters of Public Health program at Johns Hopkins University, and taught in the program for three years while her husband completed law... Read More

Stewart Ferguson Stewart Ferguson

Stewart Ferguson came to Alaska in 1999 to apply his engineering background and interest in biomedical engineering in a practical way to telemedicine. He started on the National Library of Medicine Project in Anchorage, and moved on to being the technical director, deputy director, and then director of the Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network Project/Department (AFHCAN) within the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage. The project delivered telehealth services to Alaskan... Read More

Moses Frederick Moses Ulurilnguq Frederick

Moses Ulurilnguq Frederick is Yup'ik and was born on July 21, 1957 to Pauline and Herman Frederick, Sr. at their fish camp near Akiachak, Alaska. Moses grew up in Akiachak as one of eight children. He became a community health aide there in 1978 and worked with and learned from Elsie Wasillie, the village's first health aide. In 1992, Moses became a village supervisor/instructor (VSI) with the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) based in Bethel, Alaska where he travels to... Read More

Beverly Hugo Beverly Hugo

Beverly Hugo is Iñupiaq and was born in 1953 to Mary and Charlie Edwardsen, Sr. at fish camp on the Chipp River near Barrow, Alaska (now known as Utqiaġvik). She attended high school at Mount Edgecumbe School in Sitka, Alaska and is where she met her husband, Pat Hugo who was from the village of Anaktuvuk Pass. They got married in 1973 and moved to Anaktuvuk Pass. In 1976, she was hired as the village's alternate health aide, went on to become a Physician's Assistant, and worked in Barrow... Read More

Roy Huhndorf Roy Huhndorf

Roy Huhndorf is Yup'ik and was born in 1940 in Nulato, Alaska on the Yukon River. He moved to Anchorage in 1955 and made it his permanent home. He has a bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Alaska. He was the statewide administrator for the Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) from 1972 to 1975, and president of the Cook Inlet Regional Corporation (CIRI) from 1975 to 1996. He was a member of the CIRI Board of Directors from... Read More

Dr. William James Dr. William James

Dr. William "Bill" James was born in 1933 in Warren, Ohio, attended Ohio State University for undergraduate and graduate school, graduated from Ohio State Medical School, and interned at Colorado General Hospital in Denver. In 1959, instead of getting drafted into the Army, he joined the Indian Health Service and came to Alaska. He spent six months as a doctor on St. George Island in the Pribilof Islands, worked at the US Public Health Service Native hospital in Anchorage, was the ship... Read More

Jessie Jim Jessie Jim

Jessie Jim was Tlingit and was born August 15, 1939 to Nadja and John Gamble in Angoon, Alaska. She went to high school at Mt. Edgecumbe School in Sitka, Alaska, and after graduating in 1958 went on to receive her Licensed Practical Nursing certification in 1960. She moved back to Angoon around 1962 and started as a volunteer health aide, working out of her home with limited equipment and medicine. Eventually, she got paid for her work and was provided a small space in the school to see... Read More

Barbara Johnson Barbara Johnson

Barbara Johnson is Tlingit and was born on January 12, 1937 in Petersburg, Alaska. Her mother died when she was 6 months old, and her grandmother, Maggie John, raised her in Yakutat, Alaska. Her grandmother was a midwife and inspired Barbara's interest in healthcare. Barbara attended the Catholic Mission school in Skagway and Mount Edgecumbe school in Sitka. She met her husband when working at the Hood Bay Cannery and moved to Angoon with him in 1960. She became a volunteer health aide in... Read More

Walter Johnson Walter Johnson

Born in Nebraska in 1922, Walter Johnson came to Alaska in 1942 to attend the University of Alaska Fairbanks. After meeting Bill English at the university, who was originally from Wiseman, Walter got to know and visit the community. With a concern for history, he and Bill bought the Wiseman Trading Company, and he lived off and on in Wiseman for seven years starting in 1945. Walter is an expert on the history of the Wiseman area. After completing bachelor degrees in Anthropology and Biology... Read More

Stella Krumrey Stella Krumrey

Stella Krumrey is Alutiiq and was born on November 10, 1947 to Nina and Nikenti Zeder in the village of Old Harbor on Kodiak Island, Alaska. She grew up in the village of Kaguyak until 1964 when it was destroyed by the Great Alaska Earthquake and the family moved permanently to Old Harbor. After completing her GED and taking a few community college courses, Stella became a community health representative (CHR) in 1980. She eventually became the village's community health aide and went to... Read More

Martina Lauterbach Martina Lauterbach

Martina Redfox Lauterbach is Yup'ik and was born in Kwiguk, Alaska, two miles up river from the village of Emmonak, Alaska, which is located at the mouth of the Yukon River. She grew up in Emmonak, graduated from high school in Oregon in 1969, and was the community health aide in Emmonak from 1969 to 1972. In 1972, she went to nursing school and earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University) in Anchorage in 1976. She was the... Read More

Nolita Madros Nolita Madros

Nolita Madros is Koyukon Athabascan and was born on May 3, 1963 to Anna and George Madros, Sr. in Kaltag, Alaska. Her father was a carpenter and her was a community health aide. Nolita grew up watching her mother work on patients in their home, at other people's houses and knew the amount of work that was involved with being a health aide. She remembers the little cabinet in her house that was full of the medicine her mother used to treat patients. Nolita started out working as a carpenter (... Read More

Clara Morgan Clara Morgan

Clara Baldwin Morgan is Yup'ik and was born on March 19, 1940 at the family's winter camp a few miles downriver from the village of Lower Kalskag, Alaska. Clara married William "Billy" Morgan in November 1958 and they settled in Aniak, Alaska. Clara began her health care career in 1958 when she and Billy stepped forward as volunteer medical aides dispensing tuberculosis medicine to the people of Aniak. Clara continued on as the community health aide, but only started getting paid in 1968... Read More

Johnson and Bertha Moses Bertha Moses

Bertha Moses was an Iñupiaq elder from Alatna and Allakaket, Alaska. She was born in 1930 in Alatna, the Iñupiaq (Eskimo) village directly across the Koyukuk River from Allakaket. Her parents were Cora Tobuk and Oscar Nictune. Her grandparents, Tiluq (or Dinook) and Tuvaq (or Tobuk) on her mother's side and Tikitchuak (or Dickachalk) and Niuqtuun (Nickdoon or Peter Nictune) on her father's side, who lived in Alatna and in camps on the Alatna River, were important to her growing up. In fact... Read More

Dr. Karen O'Neill Dr. Karen O'Neill

Originally from the Eastern United States, Dr. Karen O'Neill came to Nome, Alaska in 1975 after completing her medical residency in Washington, DC. She came under the auspices of the National Health Service Corps and was a physician at Nome's Maynard McDougal Memorial Hospital just before Norton Sound Health Corporation took over the facility. She soon went to work for the Norton Sound Health Corporation as a doctor seeing patients at the Nome hospital and in villages, was Director of... Read More

Eleanor Oakes Eleanor Oakes

Eleanor "Ellie" Oakes was born in 1927 in Alameda, California. She was trained as a nurse at Mary's Health in San Francisco, California. Eleanor came to Alaska in 1951 as a public health nurse stationed at the US Public Health Service Native hospital in Tanana, Alaska. Her husband was a doctor with the Public Health Service and when he was transferred from Tanana to Nome, Alaska in 1953, Eleanor went with him. She has lived and worked in Nome as a medical provider ever since. Mostly she... Read More

Dr. Gloria Park Dr. Gloria Park

Dr. Gloria Park was born in Spokane, Washington in 1930 and grew up in Grandview, Washington. She attended Washington State College (now University) where she received a Bachelors of Science in Zoology in 1952, and met her husband, Orlo. She graduated from the University of Colorado Medical School in 1955, and after completing her medical internship in Colorado, the Parks moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1957 where Gloria had accepted a job as a doctor at the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC... Read More

Dr. Lee Schmidt

Dr. Lee Schmidt came to Bethel, Alaska in 1965 where he served as a commissioned medical officer with the Indian Health Service until 1968. He worked with health aides on village visits and through radio calls. He trusted them as excellent observers and liaisons. After a pediatric residency in Oregon, he relocated to Mount Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka and became the chief of the Community Health Services department. He oversaw health aides in southeastern Alaska, facilitated funding, and... Read More

Paul Sherry Paul Sherry

Originally from California, Paul Sherry came to Alaska in 1974 as a Vista volunteer with the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) in Fairbanks to help organize their health department. He had attended Yale University and received a bachelors degree in behavioral health. After six months, he was hired as a community development specialist with TCC, where he provided logistical, training, travel and other non-clinical support to the community health aide program. He continued his career in Alaska... Read More

Rosemary Simone Rosemary Simone

Originally from Saratoga Springs, New York, Rosemary Simone came to Alaska in 1978 after receiving training as a physician's assistant at Hudson Valley Albany Medical Center. She first served as the curriculum coordinator and then became the director of the Community Health Aide Program for Norton Sound Health Corporation in Nome, Alaska. In 2004, Rosemary moved to Bethel, Alaska to run the Bethel Family Clinic.

Joyce Smith Joyce Smith

Joyce Smith was born in a small town in Washington in 1917, and remembers childhood asthma limiting her activities. She married her husband, Norman, in Marysville, Washington and in 1950 came with him to Kodiak Island. He traveled to the villages for the American Baptist Mission. They settled in Larsen Bay in 1952, then moved to Ouzinkie in 1958, where they ran the mission out of their home. Joyce taught kindergarten, raised five children, and worked as a health aide. She started as a... Read More

Dan Thomas Dan Thomas

Dan Thomas was born in northwest Washington in 1956, and came to Alaska as a boy with his parents who were teachers and fishermen. When Dan was in ninth grade, they moved to Shishmaref, Alaska on the Seward Peninsula and he graduated from Nome-Beltz High School in Nome, Alaska. He has nursing and physician's assistant degrees and since 1991 has worked as a medical provider in Nome and Unalakleet and as a trainer and curriculum coordinator for the community health aide training center in Nome... Read More

Agnes Valle Agnes Valle

Agnes Valle was born on Kodiak Island, Alaska in 1935 and moved to Sitka, Alaska in 1952 for tuberculosis treatment. She became a Licensed Practical Nurse, and moved to Yakutat, Alaska in 1961. People knew her from the hospital, so they came to her for medical assistance. Agnes treated patients even though she was not paid. Eventually, the Yakutat Health Council selected her as a paid health aide. She worked until the mid-1970s. She was then a teacher's aide in the Yakutat school for twenty-... Read More

Lillian Walker Lillian Walker

lwalkerft.gifLillian Walker was Yup'ik and born in 1924 to Katherine Bradley and Gabriel Kootok in Unalakleet, Alaska. She lived in Kaltag from age four to seven, then her stepfather, Fred LaBelle, moved the family to a mink farm located between Unalakleet and Kaltag. When she was thirteen years old she was sent to the Holy Cross Mission for school in Holy Cross, Alaska. She... Read More

Rose Winkleman Rose Winkleman

Rose Winkleman was born to Sophie and William T. Vanderpool in April 1920 in McGrath, Alaska. Her mother was originally from Anvik and her father had come to Alaska from Montana during the Klondike Gold Rush. Rose grew up on a homestead about a mile up the Kuskokwim River from the village in a family of ten children, and was sent out for high school to the Jesse Lee Home in Seward, Alaska. She married a man she met in Seward, but after they divorced, she moved back to McGrath in 1942 with... Read More

Trudy Wolfe Trudy Wolfe

Trudy Wolfe is Tlingit and was born on August 7, 1933 to Mary and Frank Paul, Sr. in Sitka, Alaska. She is a L'uknax sháa (Coho Woman) from Kayáashka Hít in Sitka. In 1957, she married Bill Wolfe and they moved to Hoonah, Alaska in 1960. In 1965, Hoonah's village health council chose her as a community health aide. An extra bedroom in her home became the clinic and her husband and children helped. In recognition of Trudy's contributions to the community, in 1988 the health clinic in Hoonah... Read More