Public health nurses collaborate with OSMAP to address substance misuse

This article was provided by the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services. 

Alaska’s public health nurses have long focused on upstream prevention efforts aimed at protecting and strengthening whole communities. This work includes education on safe relationships, adverse childhood experiences, trauma, suicide prevention, safe alcohol use and support for those struggling with substance misuse and addiction. Our public health nurses maintain strong relationships in the 280 Alaska communities they serve which helps them assist local leaders in these kinds of prevention efforts.


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This work aligns with and complements prevention work being done by the Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention (OSMAP) and the Division of Behavioral Health. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is making strides in this administration to build bridges across programs and between divisions so DHSS can collaborate more effectively with communities across Alaska to help build resiliency and maintain the physical and mental health of all Alaskans.

This collaboration has resulted in the repurposing of three public health nurse positions who will be funded by OSMAP and work closely to address substance misuse in communities throughout Alaska.

As part of this work, the Section of Public Health Nursing is also implementing a trauma-informed and culturally-responsive care model to create trauma-informed public health clinics throughout Alaska. Nurses just completed a training coordinated by the Alaska Resilience Initiative, a program of the Alaska Children’s Trust.