Health and Human Services Secretary visits CITC programs

CITC was one of several Alaska Native organizations visited by Secretary Price

Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) had an opportunity to show off some of its newest programs and partnerships Friday, August 18, during a visit to Anchorage by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

Secretary Price made a brief stop in Anchorage en route to China, Vietnam, and Japan to gain understanding bout how the federal government can support and learn from Native health programs. His tour included Southcentral Foundation, the Alaskan Native Health Consortium, and CITC.

At CITC, staff had an opportunity to demonstrate one of its newer facilities when Secretary Price visited the Clare Swan Early Head Start Child Care Center, which provides for the needs of working families beyond simple child care. Here, families have access to flexible and convenient year-round child care services that are grounded in the cultural, linguistic, and social needs of families; meanwhile, the center also offers research-based early head start programming that emphasizes the importance of responsive and caring relationships to support the optimal development of infants and toddlers.

Secretary Price also visited the Ernie Turner Center, now under the management of Southcentral Foundation and previously a part of the CITC Recovery Services continuum of care. (CITC has plans to open a new Ernie Turner Center near Eklutna Lake in early summer 2018.)

At each stop, representatives of CITC and its partner organizations “spent less time pressing Price for improvements and federal changes than they did attaching faces and stories to the work and financing provided by the federal government,” according to the Alaska Dispatch News.

“It was a good visit for Alaska,” remarked CITC Chief Communications Office Tim Blum. “Gloria [O’Neill, CITC President and CEO] talked about how we might move the system a little bit and make things more efficient and more impactful.”

Price was reportedly impressed, in particular, with how much each organization had accomplished even with limited resources. “They know best how to care for their people, and we need to facilitate that,” the secretary said.

For more information on CITC programs, please visit citci.org.