The Arctic Sounder

Northwest Arctic health aides receive awards

With tears and words of appreciation, Northwest Arctic health aides received several awards last week.

Community health aides and practitioners, dental health and behavioral health aides and other medical providers from across the state gathered for the annual CHAP Forum in Anchorage. The three-day forum offered interactive sessions on common challenges, best practices and ways to increase skills for practitioners. On Nov. 8, several practitioners were highlighted during the Integrated Health Aide Awards Ceremony.

The Integrated Health Aide Awards Ceremony took place yesterday at the Egan Center in Anchorage. Health Aides are the...

Posted by Maniilaq Association on Thursday, November 9, 2023

Kimasook Oxereok, a Maniilaq Association community health aide based in Noorvik, received a Rising Star award.

“So very proud of you, Kimasook!” said Jolie Miller, a nurse practitioner, on Facebook. “It’s an honor to work with you!”

Maniilaq’s Substance Use Team Supervisor Alexiss Santoni received an Outstanding Supervisor award – and a standing ovation.

During her speech, Santoni thanked people who have been inspiring her and have been a part of her growth and development.

“This move two years ago wasn’t easy,” she said about coming to Kotzebue. But, she added, “For me, being involved in the community of Kotzebue – it’s been incredible.”


Another award for Outstanding Accomplishment went to a physician Cheryl Jean Douglas from Ambler.

Douglas was highlighted for being conscientious about her work, open to suggestions and always willing to do what’s best for patients. Moreover, Cheryl has worked to bring all children and adults’ immunization status up to date in her community

The Setting Star awards were given in memory of practitioners who recently died.

June Ballot, a community health practitioner from Buckland, received a Setting Star award.

After a local tribal healer told Ballot that she was meant to help people, she became a health aide and served as a Buckland clinic supervisor, coordinator, instructor and a CHAP manager. Back then, health aides were not paid and volunteered their time.

“She was competent, capable, but also quirky and had a delightful sense of humor,” the awards ceremony speaker said.

Myra Adams, who has worked as a Community Health Practitioner in Kivalina and served as a mentor to others, was also among the Setting Star recipients.

“It just wasn’t a job to her like many of you — she genuinely cared for people, not only in her job but in her life as well,” her son Bert Adams, Jr. said while accepting the award with rows of people standing up. “Not only did she bandage many patients, … but she expressed her love for them.”

Alena Naiden

Alena Naiden writes about communities in the North Slope and Northwest Arctic regions for the Arctic Sounder and ADN. Previously, she worked at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.