Dena’ina Wellness Center Is Open

Kenaitze Indian Tribe had a grand opening of the Dena’ina Wellness Center last weekend. It was a three day celebration for the community. As described in the Dena’ina Wellness Center Overview, this was one of three projects nationwide that received “the highly competitive Indian Health Service (IHS) Joint Venture Award in FY2011”.

This project was supported by IHS for the last 20 years. Additional funding comes from the state of Alaska, Cook Inlet Region Inc., the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the Rasmuson Foundation and the Alaska Mental Heath Trust.

The tribe’s Executive Director Jaylene Peterson-Nyren stated in her letter to the community:

The Tribe’s decades-long dream of a state-of-the-art integrated health care facility will finally be fulfilled once the doors to the Dena’ina Wellness Center open to customers later this month. We are planning our Grand Opening Celebration for June 12.”

The center is 52,000 square feet large and has 15 exam rooms, 4 treatment rooms, 4 consultation rooms, 13 talking rooms, 10 dental operatories, 6 classrooms and 1 demonstration kitchen.

The design of the center reflexes Kenaitze Indian Tribe culture. For instance, interior design features historical materials, including generous use of 100-year-old wood reclaimed from the Wards Cove Cannery on the south bank of the Kenai River.

Dena’ina names were used to name different rooms in the building such as Bihnil’ihi t’uh – One Looks Inside Place for the Endoscopy and Treatment room.

Integration of physical, mental, dental and social health under the same roof in the Old Town Kenai is tremendous success for the community.