Russian center organizes visit with Anchorage health care providers

The American Russian Center in Anchorage is coordinating its first educational visit by health care professionals from the Russian Far East as part of a federal program.

Ten program participants from Yakutsk and Khabarovsk will tour Anchorage health care facilities and agencies through June 9, said Irina Dubinina, project manager for the University of Alaska Anchorage American Russian Center. They arrived in Anchorage May 18.

The American Russian Center has hosted six other Community Connections delegations, training entrepreneurs as well as educational and government officials.

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs sponsors the Community Connections program, which aims to help develop a free-market economy in Russia. The Community Connections program for health care professionals seeks to promote professional development of Russian public health representatives.

The program also works with other countries, formerly republics of the Soviet Union. Community Connections has trained more than 4,500 Russian entrepreneurs and other professionals in 50 U.S. communities in the past several years.

Funding for the Alaska visit totals $29,000 for travel, administering the program and other costs, Dubinina said. Program funds come from a State Department grant.

The center, which provides business training to Russian business people, has led more than 500 business and other courses to educate more than 18,000 participants since 1993.

Dubinina has coordinated the itinerary, which includes visiting Anchorage health care professionals and facilities.

"I’ve been getting a lot of help from the medical community," she said.

Program participants will attend lectures on health care management at the UAA College of Business and Public Policy, Dubinina said. They also will tour the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center, the UAA School of Nursing and the Alaska Native Medical Center.

Delegates will meet with representatives from private insurance companies, Hospice of Anchorage and the state Division of Epidemiology for information on HIV, hepatitis and tuberculosis programs.

At Providence Alaska Medical Center, participants will learn about assisted living, cancer and telemedicine programs, Dubinina said.

The American Russian Center also has arranged meetings for individual delegates. For example, one Russian HIV specialist will meet with representatives from the Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association.

They also are scheduled to visit the Centers for Disease Control’s Arctic Investigation program, which studies infectious diseases and their affects in northern regions.

The Russians may lend their expertise to Alaska health care agencies like the CDC program, said Jay Butler, director of the Arctic Investigation program.

"We have a lot of areas in common," Butler said.

Butler and his staff may query the Russians for more information on infectious diseases in arctic areas, he said.

The Russians’ visit to Anchorage aims to present advantages and disadvantages of some methods and programs, Dubinina said. The program is not a "panacea for their problems" but could help them understand risks and gains if they follow the Alaskans’ ideas, she said.

05/26/2002 - 8:00pm