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Longtime leader of Anchorage-based tribal health organization to resign

Katherine Gottlieb speaks at the grand opening of the Ernie Turner residential treatment center in Chugiak on Aug 2, 2018. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

Katherine Gottlieb will resign from her longtime role as head of Southcentral Foundation, weeks after the Alaska Native health care organization fired her husband, another longtime employee.

“It has been a blessing and great privilege to work with the SCF family in serving our Alaska Native and American Indian population,” Gottlieb said in a statement provided Monday by the organization.

Southcentral Foundation’s board of directors accepted the resignation effective Aug. 31, the statement said.

“With heartfelt thanks, we extend our deepest appreciation for the decades of service Katherine has given to Southcentral Foundation,” said James Segura, Southcentral Foundation chairman. “Katherine has helped nurture SCF into the world-class health care system it is today. Her tireless dedication to wellness within the Alaska Native community has improved lives and will no doubt be one of her greatest legacies.”

Katherine’s husband, Kevin Gottlieb, was one of three top executives in Southcentral Foundation’s dental department terminated in mid-July over allegations that dentists falsified health records.

Katherine Gottlieb worked at Southcentral Foundation for more than 30 years and served as its top executive since 1991.

In 2018, the foundation opened a new pediatric dentistry building named after the couple, the Dr. Katherine and Dr. Kevin Gottlieb Building.

A 2004 MacArthur Fellow and recipient of the 2016 Indian Health Service National Director Award, Katherine Gottlieb has been highly recognized for her work.

She played a key role in expanding Southcentral services for Alaska Natives and American Indians, including by leading development of new medical, behavioral and dental services such as Elder Program, a Traditional Healing program and a Family Wellness Warriors Initiative to combat domestic abuse among Alaska Natives.

Under her leadership, health care organizations globally have adopted Southcentral Foundation’s model of care, known as the Nuka System of Care.

April Kyle, vice president of the Behavioral Services Division for Southcentral Foundation, will serve as the interim CEO.

Southcentral Foundation manages more than 80 health care programs and serves 65,000 indigenous people in the Anchorage area and in 55 villages.

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