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Alaska News

U.S. Health Secretary to visit Anchorage on Wednesday to meet with tribal health leaders

  • Author: Annie Berman
  • Updated: August 11, 2020
  • Published August 11, 2020

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar waves to press before the signing ceremony for a memorandum of understanding at the Central Epidemic Command Center in Taipei, Taiwan, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Azar arrived in Taiwan on Sunday in the highest-level visit by an American Cabinet official since the break in formal diplomatic relations between Washington and Taipei in 1979. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

The country’s top health official, Alex M. Azar II, is scheduled to stop in Anchorage on Wednesday to meet with local tribal health leaders.

Azar, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is planning to meet with the Cook Inlet Tribal Council to hear about their operations during the pandemic.

He is then scheduled to tour the Alaska Native Medical Center, and meet with consortium members and providers, to learn how they have adapted in recent months to pandemic-related challenges.

The stop is part of a nationwide tour Azar is on, giving him a chance to hear from health care workers on the frontline of the nation’s pandemic response, according to a Health and Human Services spokesperson.

He will discuss telehealth and other primary care practices used in Alaska during the current public health crisis with a team at the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center, according to his spokesperson.

“Alaska Native communities do impressive work delivering healthcare and human services in challenging circumstances, including some of the most remote parts of America, and those efforts have continued during the pandemic,” Azar said in a statement. “I look forward to meeting with, hearing from, and thanking Alaskans on the frontlines combating the coronavirus.”

This is the first time Azar has made a visit to Alaska since being appointed health secretary by President Trump in January of 2018.

Azar will make the stopover on the way back from Taiwan, where he led a U.S. delegation this week.

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