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Rosemary Simone
Rosemary Simone

Rosemary Simone was interviewed on April 2, 2006 by Karen Brewster at the White House Bed and Breakfast in Bethel, Alaska. The interview was a bit rushed due to time constraints of having to catch an airplane. In this interview, Rosemary talks about why she went into medical work, her duties running the health aide program in Nome, including training and reducing pressures on the heath aides, her admiration for health aides she worked with, and current issues of recruitment and retention of health aides.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 2004-17-27

Project: Community Health Aide Program
Date of Interview: Apr 2, 2006
Narrator(s): Rosemary Simone
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
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1) Her background and how she got involved in the Community Health Aide Program.

2) The needs and demands that shaped the formation of different aspects of the Community Health Aide Program.

3) Ways that the administration of the Community Health Aide Program have tried to make the job more attractive and less stressful.

4) The duties of health aides and trying to moderate their workload in order to provide quality health care throughout the villages.

5) Cultural concerns in the Community Health Aide Program.

6) The future of the health aide program.

7) Support for health aides in crisis and trauma situations.

8) How the community health aide program has served as a role model or template in other countries.

9) Lessons she learned as a director and why she feels blessed to have come to rural Alaska as part of the community health aide program.

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


Section 1: Saratoga Springs, New York\ Alaska -- coming to\ Hudson Valley Albany Medical Center\ program -- Physician Associate\ Alaska -- visit\ visit -- date of\ Norton Sound Health Corporation\ Ursinger, Sherry\ Health Aide Program -- head of\ program -- lack of openings\ Albany Memorial Hospital -- work\ call -- long distance\ job -- offer\ job -- curriculum coordinator\ Nome, Alaska\ program -- director\ training -- health aide\  job -- responsibilities\ clinics -- staffing\ personnel -- issues\ clinics -- supplies\ mediation\ facilitation\ staff -- medical\ departments -- needs\  health aides -- schedule\ Women in Crisis (WIC)\ Infant Learning Program\ Academic Review Committee (ARC)\ curriculum -- statewide\ training -- centers\ training -- modules\ job title -- Community Health Practitioner\ training -- units\ training -- content\ curriculum -- uniformity\ health aides -- needs\ needs -- family\ needs -- time\ retention\ recruitment\ health aides -- support of\ crisis\ needs -- academic\ CHAP directors -- committee\ training -- evolution of\ curriculum -- development of\ CHAP -- directors\ directors -- regional\ Norton Sound\ Yukon Kuskokwim\ North Slope\ Interior\ Sitka|

Section 2: organization -- startup\ executive directors\ state\ needs\ talking\ sharing\ success\ survival\ decisions\ Health Aide Program\ strategies\ needs\ cooperation\ retention\ health aides -- dedication\ women\ elders\ Ashenfelter, Willa\ pay\ work\ support\ dedication\ Aukognak, Irene -- licensed practical nurse (LPN)\ husband\ marriage\ job\ philosophy\ community -- dedication\ youth -- attitude\ job -- stepping-stone\ family -- needs\ health aides -- retention\ training -- expense\ Curda, Linda\ Heart, Torie\ paper\ funding -- cost per health aide\ teachers -- salary\ equipment\ travel\ salaries\ villages\ health aides -- number of\ schedule -- vacation\ work -- coverage\ sickness\ schedule -- on-call\ emergencies\ impact -- family\ impact -- psychological\ patients -- care of\ patients -- friends\ patients -- family\ work -- hardship\ patient -- abusive\ abuse -- impact of\ retention\ Norton Sound Health Corporation\ health aides -- itinerant\ success -- minimal\ Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation\ itinerant -- stress on\ work -- demands\ itinerant -- overwhelming\ itinerant -- travel\ home-base -- lack of\ balance -- family\ work|

Section 3: job -- health aide\ recruitment\ pay -- increase\ benefits\ training\ impact\ state -- evolution\ villages -- jobs\ teachers\ teacher aides\ stores\ competition\ lifestyle\ vacation\ fishing\ health aides\ improvement\ villages -- size of\ health aides -- number of\ coverage\ sickness\ child birth\ health aides -- qualities\ intelligence\ exams\ caring\ people\ dedication\ equilibrium\ family\ job\ demands -- difficulty\ provisions\ job -- time off\ subsistence\ training -- classes\ training -- clinical\ break\ learning -- group\ job -- pay scale\ Norton Sound Health Corporation\ mid-levels -- placement\ villages\ hubs\ health aides -- isolation\ Nome\ weather -- storm\ help\ airplane\ distance -- roads\ mid-level -- physician assistant\ mid-level -- nurse practitioner\ training -- amount of|

Section 4: Nome\ Unalakleet \ physician assistants -- placement of\ Norton Sound Health Corporation\ Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation -- sub-regional clinics\ Sitka -- clinics\ mid-levels\ Tanana Chiefs Conference -- sub-regional clinics\ North Slope\ mid-levels -- race of\ health aides -- further training\ physician assistant\ licensed practical nurse\ Medex program\ mid-levels -- origin of\ villages\ community -- relationships\ village -- appreciation\ training -- advanced\ Seattle\ program -- physician assistant\ program -- duration\ physician assistant -- training\ training -- duration\ training -- evolution\ experiment\ Vietnam war\ medics\ requirements -- bachelor's degree\ health aides -- intelligence\ health aides -- opportunities\ situation -- difficulty\ education -- distance\ Curda, Linda\ program -- cancer\ discipline\ telephone\ Norton Sound Health Corporation -- Community Health Aide Program\ mediation\ integration\ corporation\ hospital\ health aides -- interaction with\ village -- travel\ health care\ patients -- scheduling\ patients -- check- in\ help\ work load -- additional\ orientation\ village -- expectations\ attitude -- realistic\ health aides -- responsibilities\ job\ families\ guests -- importance\ service\ welcome\ vice president -- joke\ negotiations\ health aides -- protection\ mediation\ job -- limits\ job -- clinician\ medical records\ laboratory\ physical therapy\ pharmacy -- maintenance\ home visits\ visitors\ hospital\ sub-regional clinic|

Section 5: doctors -- integration\ training -- orientation\ health aides\ appreciation\ radio traffic\ advice\ direction\ emergencies\ understanding\ skills\ talents\ training -- levels\ support\ doctors -- training\ bush\ ivory tower\ focus -- people\ idealists\ abilities -- appreciation\ Bethel -- move to\ Norton Sound Health Corporation -- director\ move -- reasons for\ people -- contact with\ clinic -- non-tribal\ Bethel Family Clinic -- executive director\ clinician\ medical director -- hiring\ Nome\ Imperial Valley, California\ clinic -- community\ temperature -- extremes\ cultures -- transition\ Niland (?)\ Salton Sea\ community -- ethnicity\ Hispanic\ region -- The Slabs\ World War II\ Quonset huts -- slabs\ Vietnam -- veterans\ homeless\ community -- mixture\ motivations\ marriage\ Alaska -- missing\ O'Neil, Karen\ job -- offer\ job -- director\ Unalakleet -- physician assistant|

Section 6: health aide program -- future\ retention -- issues\ job -- evolution\ people -- local\ training\ mid-level practitioners\ time line\ needs -- private lives\ knowledge\ expertise\ bush -- proximity\ travel -- efficiency\ Savoonga\ airplane\ Medevac\ flight -- duration\ airplanes -- types\ changes\ expectations\ health aides -- capabilities\ health aide -- evolution\ sophistication\ knowledge\ training\ medicine\ frontier\ villages -- future\ world -- change\ factors -- economics\ youth -- retention\ culture\ health care -- availability\ clinic\ idealists\ problems\ training -- costs of\ benefits\ candidates -- pool\ needs -- support\ health aides -- voice\ Native corporations\ Alaska Native Health Board\ communication|

Section 7: support\ difficulties -- psychological\ CHAP director\ employee assistance program -- call-in\ Norton Sound Health Corporation -- coordinator instructors\ director\ availability\ talk\ crisis -- death\ crisis intervention team -- deployment\ provider -- mental health\ provider -- emergency medical services\ administration -- representative\ provider -- behavioral health\ health aide department\ health aides -- relief\ trauma -- recovery\ problem -- personal\ vice-president -- travel\ health care -- providers\ health -- issues\ stress\ statistics -- health reports\ trauma -- numbers of\ suicide -- numbers of\ Alaska -- rank\ patient -- care\ patient -- family\ patient -- friends\ emotions -- postponement of|

Section 8: Community Health Aide Program -- unique\ role model\ Micronesia\ group -- visit\ health aide program -- template\ factors -- differences\ airplanes\ boats\ similarities\ nations -- Africa\ nations -- Near East\ villages -- remote\ Curda, Linda\ manual -- orders\ manual -- “CHAM”\ programs -- implementation\ program -- influence\ life -- enrichment\ people\ courage\ dedication\ health aides -- qualities of\ acceptance\ faults\ Aukongak, Irene\ Ashenfelter, Willa\ Buck, Rita|

Section 9: work -- director\ lessons\ health aide -- work\ work -- attendance\ work -- absence\ domestic violence\ judgement\ point of view\ facts\ meetings -- statewide\ Community Health Aide -- directors\ job -- turnover\ directors -- background\ medical\ administrative\ career -- choice of\ college -- grade point average\ medical schools -- application\ rejection\ American Medical Association (AMA) -- publication\ medical schools -- list\ minorities -- acceptance\ program -- physician assistant\ parents -- background\ mother -- registered nurse\ father -- funeral director\ ambulance\ birthdate\ siblings\ brother -- engineer\ Alaska -- rural\ Nome\ stoplights -- lack of\ beach -- fire\ permit\ freedom\ responsibility\ government -- role of\ care\ control\ inquiries -- destination\ activity\ search\ community\ health aide program -- involvement with\ Curda, Linda\ Johnson, Walter|