Healthy Alaskans releases scorecards on Alaska’s health progress in 2020, sets improvement plan for next decade

Healthy Alaskans has released health data on how well Alaska has done in 2020 in improving the health of Alaskans throughout the state. This scorecard showed that Alaska has met the target or improved on 12 of its 25 health goals. Healthy Alaskans has also finalized their new state health improvement plan, Healthy Alaskans 2030 (HA2030), in partnership with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC).

 

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Healthy Alaskans sets health goals and serves as a guide to help improve the health of Alaskans over the next 10 years. The State Health Improvement Plan was published in 1994 as Healthy Alaskans 2000. A new plan is released every decade.  

The Healthy Alaskans 2020 scorecard showed that Alaska has reduced the cancer mortality rate, increased the percentage of adolescents who have not used tobacco products in the last 30 days and reduced the rate of child maltreatment. Dr. Anne Zink, the state chief medical officer said:

“The data tell us we are making progress toward achieving certain health goals such as reducing cancer deaths, reducing use of tobacco products among adolescents, and reducing child maltreatment.”

Alaska is also seeing progress on the Alaska Native Scorecard, where nine of the 25 goals listed have either improved or met their target. Kirsten Kolb, chief of administrative services for the ANTHC and a Healthy Alaskans Steering Committee Member said: 

“We are pleased to see progress in reducing binge drinking and tobacco use rates for both youth and adults as well as increases in the number of youth who feel comfortable seeking help from trusted adults. The Healthy Alaskans initiative is built on a solid framework for health improvement which will guide us through the next decade.”

However not all of the health goals hit their target —obesity rates in all age groups did not improve substantially. The same results are seen with suicide and mental health rates, as they remained close to the same as the last time they were surveyed in 2010. Although data is showing a downward trend, Zink says she remains optimistic for the health of Alaskans.

“The data also show a downward trend on many of our goals, which is concerning. As we make the transition to the next iteration of Healthy Alaskans, in the midst of a global pandemic, we must find new ways to work together to help improve the overall health of Alaskans. We cannot lose sight of the pervasive health issues that will still be present after the current crises are resolved. There is still much work to be done to achieve the goals of Healthy Alaskans, but with strong partnerships and shared goals, we can do it.”

Healthy Alaskans 2030  consists of 15 priority topics including Chronic Disease, Environmental Health, Health Care Access and Healthy Weight. These topics are then broken down into 30 health objectives that are distributed among the 15 topics. Chronic Health only has one objective, for example, and it is to reduce the cancer mortality rate per 100,000 people.

The Health Care Access priority, however, has multiple objectives including:

  • Increasing the proportion of women who receive prenatal care beginning in the first trimester.
  • Reducing the percentage of adults who report they could not afford to see a doctor in the last 12 months.
  • Reducing the rate of preventable hospitalizations.
  • Increasing the percentage of 3 year olds who have had a well-child checkup in the last 12 months.
  • Reducing the percentage of the population without health insurance.

Healthy Alaskans 2030 is aimed at improving the health of all Alaskans and provides a framework for partners and stakeholders who are engaged with helping improve the health of Alaskans. Zink called this plan a “guiding north star” as the state works to achieve the goal of a healthier Alaska.

“The Healthy Alaskans 2030 plan presents a new set of data-driven, 10-year objectives which serve as an outline for improving health for all Alaskans. It is our hope that all Alaskans will find the plan useful, relevant and inspirational.”