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Paul Sherry
Paul Sherry

Paul Sherry was interviewed on June 8, 2006 by Karen Brewster in his office at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) in Anchorage, Alaska. He graciously squeezed the interview into his busy schedule. In this interview, Paul talks about working with health aides, the shift in health care control from the Indian Health Service to Native health corporations, the Consortium's role in the health aide program and statewide health services, and the establishment of a statewide telehealth program.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2004-17-35

Project: Community Health Aide Program
Date of Interview: Jun 8, 2006
Narrator(s): Paul Sherry
Interviewer(s): Karen Brewster
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, University of Alaska Health Programs
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
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1) His professional background and work experience within the Alaskan health care community.

2) His employment, career satisfaction, and the networking opportunities he had access to when working for Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC).

3) The health care program and services in Alaska and the important role of health aides.

4) The inherent challenges, needs assessments, and demands of a health care program and rural health aide positions.

5) The development of telemedicine communications in health care and the use of satellite technology.

6) Early telemedicine projects, and the successful statewide deployment of a telehealth system, the Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN).

7) The challenges and successes of certain technologies and systems used to bring telephone, satellite, fax machine, and television communications to rural communities.

8) The purpose of the Alaska Native Health Board, and the transition from Indian Health Service to Alaska Native health corporations management of health care programs and services.

9) Changes in the management of Alaska's health care programs and services between the Indian Health Service and regional Native health corporations.

10) Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium's (ANTHC) role in supporting health services in Alaska, the development of new programs, and ANTHC's collaboration with Alaska Native regional health corporations.

11) The development of and controversy over a Dental Health Aide Program based on the Community Health Aide Program model.

12) Changes within the Community Health Aide Program, and national and international recognition of the program and the Community Health Aide Manual.

13) Community selection of health aides, health aide ethnicity, assessment of his career, and his thoughts about the future of the health aide program.

Click play, then use Sections or Transcript to navigate the interview.

After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: employment -- background\ Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC)\ employment -- Vista volunteer\ Fairbanks, Alaska\ Vista volunteer -- duties\ TCC -- employment\ TCC -- health care program\ job -- Community Development Specialist\ job -- responsibilities\ health aides -- advocacy\ clinic -- construction planning\ communication systems -- development of\ training -- development\ job -- Health Care Program Manager\ job -- length of time\ Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) -- employment\ Alaska Native Health Consortium (ANTHC) -- employment\ job -- Chief Executive Officer\ health aides -- services to\ services -- types of services\ health aides -- certification\ training -- on the job\ education -- college\ degree -- behavioral health\ career -- community interests\ career -- administrative interests\ childhood\ San Francisco\ college -- Yale University\ Alaska -- coming to\ wife -- meeting\ wife -- birthplace\ Minto, Alaska|

Section 2: Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC) -- employment\ TCC -- building\ building -- location\ building -- sharing\ Fairbanks Native Association (FNA)\ Doyon, Limited\ Indian Health Service (IHS) -- communication systems\ radio -- satellite\ satellite radio -- type of\ communication -- physician to health aide\ employment -- Vista volunteer\ Vista volunteer -- responsibilities\ health aides -- support\ support -- non-clinical\ support -- logistical\ communications\ training\ supplies\ clinic -- organization\ transportation\ community -- needs of\ health aides -- relationship with| Vista volunteer -- experience\ experience -- positive\ travel -- opportunities|

Section 3: health aides -- recognition of\ health aides -- role models\ Moses, Bertha\ Ambrose, Rose\ Williams, Jessie\ Peter, Pauline\ health aides -- community leader\ health care -- past programs\ health care program -- changes in\ health aides -- home-based\ home-based -- conditions of\ health care program -- development of\ support services -- emergence of\ Trans-Alaska Pipeline -- impact of\ health care -- funding\ funding -- increase in\ clinics -- villages\ clinics -- development of\ support services -- types of|

Section 4: health care program -- challenges\ health aides -- hiring\ village -- health council\ health council -- supervision\ supervision -- non-clinical\ health council -- relationship with\ health aides -- selection of\ health aides -- loss of\ health aides -- support of\ health council -- role of\ leadership -- new\ leadership -- impact of\ health aides -- stability\ health aides -- personal issues\ personal issues -- resolving\ alcohol -- problems\ health aides -- retention\ health aides -- early days\ health aides -- commitment\ stress -- dealing with\ health aide position -- changes in\ employment -- options\ health aides -- attrition\ health council -- working with\ health aides -- training\ training -- sub-regional\ support -- peer\ peer support -- developing\ peer support -- type of\ peer support -- success of\ challenges -- helping with\ health aides -- help\ help -- asking for\ public health nurse\ Westwick, Genevieve\ health aide program -- oversight\ health aides -- counseling\ support -- logistics\ health aides -- communicating with\ health aides -- needs\ health aides -- speaking out\ honesty\ relationship -- trust\ needs -- assessment\ needs -- addressing|

Section 5: telemedicine -- development of\ telecommunication -- satellite systems\ satellite -- experimental\ satellite -- ATS1 satellite\ Alaska -- interior\ ATS1 satellite -- locations of\ radio -- single side band\ radio -- failures of\ satellite -- ATS6 satellite\ satellite -- upgrade\ ATS6 satellite -- benefits of\ villages -- telephones\ telephones -- installation of\ villages -- travel\ RCA-Alascom\ satellite -- sites\ sites -- selection of\ telephone -- location in village\ village location -- selection of\ clinic -- telephone\ telephone -- dedicated line\ fax machines -- introduction of\ fax machines -- benefits of\ fax -- machine -- skepticism\ ATS6 satellite -- experiment\ Indian Health Service\ experiment -- video conferencing\ Galena\ Huslia\ Tanana\ Anchorage\ video conferencing -- drawbacks\ technology -- level of\ expense\ experiment -- lessons from\ sustainability -- lack-of\ support -- technical\ support -- level of\ funding -- lack of\ costs -- level of\ telephone\ fax machine|

Section 6: telehealth initiative -- beginning of\ employment -- Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) -- employment\ ANHB -- mission\ project -- collaboration\ Indian Health Services\ University of Alaska\ project -- name of\ National Library of Medicine Telemedicine Testbed Project\ collaborators -- names of\ Hall, Rich\ Lodge, Denver\ Pearce, Fred\ Boucha, Kathe\ Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN) Project -- development of\ AFHCAN -- description of\ AFHCAN -- goals\ technology -- store and forward\ medical images -- emailing\ hospitals\ clinics\ AFHCAN -- software\ software -- use of\ AFHCAN -- funding\ National Library of Medicine\ Rawls, Rob -- project director\ Ferguson, Stewart -- biomedical engineer\ AFHCAN system -- distribution of\ AFHCAN system -- locations\ Bristol Bay\ Bethel\ Kotzebue\ Nome\ AFHCAN -- success\ Alaska Federal Health Care Partnership (AFHCP) -- collaboration with\ Veterans Administration\ Department of Defense\ health agencies -- federal\ AFHCAN system -- expansion of\ expansion -- proposal\ Stevens, Senator Ted\ expansion -- cost\ funding\ AFHCAN project -- timeline\ Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) -- formation of\ Chief Executive Officer -- first\ AFHCAN system -- statewide\ AFHCAN -- purpose of\ AFHCAN -- agencies served\ Airforce\ Army\ Veterans Center -- Anchorage\ Coast Guard\ hospitals -- Native\ clinics -- village\ AFHCAN -- locations\ locations -- number of\ AFHCAN system -- drawbacks\ AFHCAN system -- usage\ users -- number of|

Section 7: videoconferencing -- issues with\ videoconferencing -- difficulties with\ Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN) -- benefits of\ AFHCAN -- asynchronous communication\ behavioral health services -- communications needs\ communications -- two-way\ ATS6 satellite -- site selection\ ATS6 satellite -- power needs\ telephone -- locations\ ATS6 satellite -- logistical issues\ community -- response\ ATS6 satellite -- demand for\ television -- transmitter\ funding -- state\ transmitter -- installation of\ transmitter -- response to\ response -- positive\ Rural Alaska Television Network (RATNET) -- development of\ RATNET -- name\ name -- origin of\ Heijano(?), Carl\ State of Alaska\ Alascom\ advisory group -- Native\ Alaska Federation of Natives Telecommunications Committee -- formation of\ television system -- deployment\ Alaska Rural Communications Service Council (ARCS)\ television -- introduction of\ television -- rejection of\ Huslia|

Section 8: Alaska Native Health Board (ANHB) -- formation of\ ANHB -- purpose\ Native health -- advocacy\ Native health -- needs\ Native health-- initiatives\ ANHB -- employment\ ANHB -- program development\ programs -- type of\ programs -- research programs\ programs -- epidemiology\ programs -- HIV\ programs -- tobacco\ program -- telehealth\ programs -- management\ Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium\ health care -- management of\ Indian Health Service\ Alaska Native Health Corporations -- transition to\ health care -- self-control\ health care management -- contract\ contract -- first\ Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) -- management\ Nome\ Yukon-Kuskokwim area\ Tanana Chiefs Conference\ contract -- signing\ Demientieff, Claude Jr.\ program -- size of\ program -- cost of\ health aides -- salary\ health care -- local control\ health care -- Alaska Native corporations\ corporations -- development of\ Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC)\ Alaska Native Medical Center -- management of|

Section 9: Indian Health Service (IHS) -- employees\ employees -- federal\ IHS -- role\funds -- distribution of\ support -- technical\ Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) -- management\ Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC)\ ANMC -- employees\ employees -- retention\ employees -- types of\ employees -- agencies\ agency -- state\ agency -- federal\ employees -- commissioned officers\ ANTHC -- role\ Alaska -- health services\ health services -- statewide\ Tanana Chief Conference (TCC) -- regional corporation\ Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) -- regional corporation\ health care -- management\ management -- regional corporations\ community health programs\ health care -- referral services\ ANTHC -- Environmental Health and Engineering Program\ ANTHC -- contract workers\ Environmental Health and Engineering Program -- responsibilities\ projects -- construction\ ANTHC -- Community Health Program\ Community Health Program -- duties\ public health\ immunization\ health aides -- training|

Section 10: Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) -- role of\ Native health corporations -- regional\ organizations -- support of\ ANTHC -- unique\ ANTHC -- success\ health care -- model for\ health care -- management of\ Indian Health Service (IHS)\ Community Health Aide Program -- beginning\ CHAP -- regionalized\ CHAP -- success of\ health aides -- support\ support -- level of\ health care -- management\ management -- Alaska Natives\ health care programs -- control\ control -- local\ control -- federal\ health aides -- past\ health aides -- employment of\ health aides -- compensation\ clinics -- improvements\ health aides -- attrition\ physician assistants -- use of\ nurse practitioners -- employment of\ health aides -- careers\ careers -- advancement\ Hugo, Beverly\ health aides -- initiative\ health aides -- itinerant\ itinerant health aide -- role\ behavioral health aides -- development of\ program -- collaborators\ University of Alaska -- Rural Human Services Program\ behavioral health -- training\ substance abuse -- assessment of\ mental health -- assessment of\ behavioral health services -- expansion of\ behavioral health aides -- demands of\ medical health aides -- demands of|

Section 11: Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC)\ Alaska Native Dental Health Initiative\ Alaska Dental Health Aide Program (DHAP) -- development of\ Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) -- relation to\ dental program -- funding\ funding -- sources\ Indian Health Service\ Rasmuson Foundation\ DHAP -- description of\ job --dental health aide\ job -- levels\ Dental Health Aide Assistant -- description of\ Dental Health Aide Therapist (DHAT) -- development of\ DHAT -- description of\ DHAT -- training\ training -- New Zealand\ dental health aides -- opposition to\ American Dental Dental Association (ADA)\ dental health aides -- concerns about\ lawsuit -- ANTHC\ lawsuit -- reasons\ CHAP -- comparisons with\ CHAP -- acceptance of\ DHAT -- similarities\ physician assistants -- acceptance of\ health aides -- acceptance of|

Section 12: Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) -- changes in\ Community Health Aide Manual (CHAM) -- development of\ CHAM -- expansion of\ manual -- emergency\ manual -- assessment\ manual -- medication\ CHAM -- sophistication\ CHAM -- benefits of\ needs -- rural\ needs -- addressing\ CHAM -- success\ recognition -- national\ Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) -- reauthorization\ CHAM -- inclusion\ CHAP --model\ recognition -- international\ CHAP -- application of|

Section 13: health aides -- ethnicity\ health aides -- diversity\ ethnicity -- acceptance of\ health aides -- acceptance\ health providers -- need for\ community -- health needs\ needs -- assessment\ health aides -- selection\ community -- role of\ health aides -- Alaska Native\ Community Health Aide Program (CHAP) -- Alaska Native initiative\ medical health aides -- number of\ behavioral health aides -- number of\ CHAP -- financial support\ health aides -- cost of\ CHAP -- funding\ funding -- federal\ CHAP -- resource\ resource -- importance\ health aides -- value of\ health aides -- regard for\ regard -- level of\ health aides -- working with\ career -- satisfaction\ health care community -- acknowledgements\ health care community -- inspirational\ CHAP -- future|