Lupus Foundation Of America Chapter Spotlight: The LFA Alaska Chapter

As it’s been a while, I wanted to take this opportunity to shine a spotlight on one of the Lupus Foundation of America's chapters. Specifically, the LFA Alaska Chapter. I am now turning the blogging reins over to them.

Until next time, Wick

LFA Alaska Chapter Has Lots of Ground to Cover

The LFA Alaska Chapter has been working hard to increase lupus awareness, as well as expand our reach into the far-flung regions of this huge state.

Since September 2006, the wonderful volunteers of our chapter have staffed more than 40 health fairs, providing information to more than 1000 Alaskans at these health fairs. We are so proud of our volunteers who give up their early mornings and weekends in order to provide assistance to people living with lupus.

As you know, Alaska is a huge state. Many towns and villages are accessible only by air or by boat. And on top of that, there is a high incidence of lupus in the Alaska Native population. Reaching the people in these villages has been a major goal of our chapter. We have devised two methods of reaching this under-served Alaskan population.

Method 1. These remote villages receive much of their day-to-day health care from Certified Health Aides who live in the communities. The Health Aides meet annually for training in Anchorage. The LFA Alaska Chapter has provided an information booth at this annual event for several years. We distribute pamphlets, verbal information, and copies of "The Lupus Book" by Dr. Wallace to the Health Aides. Educating the health care professionals who live in the villages about this life altering disease is a major step in helping to reach the people who can be most affected by lupus.

Method 2. We are sending brochures and posters to small towns and villages throughout Alaska via small bush planes and Alaska Airlines. The pilots and staff of the airlines put out our information at the airports. Most people who live remotely come to the airport to pick up mail and supplies. We have received several calls from villagers letting us know they have seen the information at the airport and would like to have additional information. Sometimes they just want someone to talk with about lupus. This small idea is helping us reach the populations of this huge state.

We recently received a call from the State Ferry System, wanting to know if they could have literature to display on their ferries. The ferry system is the major travel mode for most residents in southern Alaska … where folks live on islands and inlets where there are no roads. I guess our next goal is to reach out to the railroads.

If you live in Alaska, or you're interested in learning more about our unique outreach efforts, we’d love to hear from you. Contact us at [email protected]

Anna Tillman
President & CEO
LFA, Alaska Chapter

Photo: Debora Griffeth and Michelle Watkins staff a health fair on behalf of the LFA Alaska Chapter.

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