Article Text

  1. J. D. Wood
  1. University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA


Project Background The Bristol Bay region encompasses an area in southwestern Alaska the size of the state of Ohio. Less than 15,000 people are spread out between 33 mostly Yup'ik villages and the regional hub town of Dillingham. Few roads exist, and most people live a subsistence lifestyle.

Purpose of Project The purpose of my project was to reach a broad audience in the Bristol Bay area with basic health education on a select number of topics. I accomplished this through a series of newspaper articles published in the region's weekly newspaper.

Methods I wrote a series of articles for The Bristol Bay Times that correspond to national health observances. For instance, the month of November is American Diabetes Month, and I wrote an article on diabetes awareness to coincide with that observance. The other topics were immunizations, eye injury prevention, cholesterol, smoking, and depression. The subject material for all articles arose from my experiences in clinical encounters with patients during a month-long preceptorship in the region that I completed during summer of 2005. Writing these articles began with research in the selected area and then formulation of drafts that were submitted for review to physicians, hospital staff, and/or community readers before being sent to the newspaper for publication.

Results The articles are to be printed during the fall months of 2005 as the appropriate National Health Observances come to pass. Prior to my departure from Dillingham only the article on eye injury prevention, called “River Bugs, Fish Guts, and Mom's Favorite Advice,” had been published. The feedback I received from community readers on this article was positive. Through increased health awareness and prevention I hope that these articles will be beneficial to such a warm and welcoming community as that of Bristol Bay.

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