• Alaska Native scholars: a mixed methods investigation of factors influencing PhD attainment

      Jones, Alberta J.; Barnhardt, Ray; Vinlove, Amy; Leonard, Beth; Roehl, Roy (2018-05)
      This study entitled, "Alaska Native Scholars: A Mixed Methods Investigation of Factors Influencing PhD Attainment," investigates the contributing factors influencing the attainment of PhD degrees by Alaska Natives. Originating from a cross-section of rural and urban Alaska communities and tribal ethnicities, this group of scholars attended graduate schools throughout the country. Today many of these PhDs work in universities, conduct research, and advocate for Indigenous people in various leadership roles, both in and outside of Alaska. This study's assumption is these PhD graduates have gained valuable lessons along their path to success and an examination of these factors is relevant to advancing that successs. The findings analyze results from a survey instrument with approximately a 92% response rate from all living Alaska Native PhD/EdD graduates that were able to be located at the time, up to early 2015. Survey participants shared personal, demographic, cultural, social, academic, and economic factors both supporting and hindering PhD attainment. Survey data was validated by ten personal interviews with PhDs from eight different Alaska Native tribes. One goal of this study was to increase our knowledge of the circumstances and factors of Alaska Native doctoral graduates and to build upon knowledge necessary to increase interest and enrollment of Alaska Native PhD graduates. Some questions examined by this study are: What sets of factors do AN PhDs have in common which led to their success? What challenges and barriers are specific to the Alaska Native demographics? If patterns of successful factors exist, can these factors be replicated to expand Alaska Native participation in PhD or other graduate programs? Are there 'lessons learned' in terms of aiding university PhD programs in attracting and graduating Alaska Native students? A stronger PhD representation of this population has implications for leadership, education, business, and policy-making roles serving to increase Indigenous self-determination. Additionally, this research has implications for universities seeking to address gaps in Alaska Native and American Indian faculty representation.
    • Integrating family systems into substance use treatment

      Burke, Danielle M.; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; Wilson, Hilary (2016)
      It is important to understand the powerful influence of loved ones in the recovery process. This influence can help encourage substance users to receive treatment, help them remain engaged in treatment, and allow those being treated to receive understanding from their loved ones they might not have received without this treatment component. Providing effective substance use treatment to families should take different aspects into consideration, including family dynamics, cultural aspects, and using the best treatment methods available. Treatment providers may not know how to incorporate social supports into specific treatment interventions. Providing information to providers and describing how to incorporate friends and family into an individual's treatment may enhance many substance use disorder treatment programs.
    • The Northwest Arctic institute: an indigenous approach to prevention

      Peter, Evon; Wexler, Lisa; Ramos, Judith; Leonard, Beth (2016-05)
      This paper will cover concepts of leadership in Indigenous contexts, Indigenous community development strategies, and Indigenous community healing and wellness, as they apply to the history and framework of the Northwest Arctic Institute (NWAI) program. The NWAI is a weeklong culturally based prevention program designed for Alaska Native peoples. The program incorporates Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy into the sharing of core teachings about resilience, adaptation, and cultural identity. It covers the impacts of rapid social, cultural, and political changes on the lives of Alaska Native peoples. The NWAI is for adults interested in furthering their own personal healing and in working on wellness within their families and communities. This paper explains an Indigenous approach to healing and the theoretical framework for supporting community level capacity building models among Alaska Native peoples. The paper also describes the NWAI planning process and methodology. In addition to the paper, which will meet completion requirements for the Masters in Rural Development at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, I will co-produce a documentary film on the NWAI to share our experience with the intention of raising awareness, fostering conversation, and inspiring others to action. The analysis and descriptions are based on the my life experience as an Alaska Native leader. I have served Indigenous communities for twenty years in roles spanning ten unique capacities, including education administrator, tribal administrator, tribal chief, national tribal non-profit executive director, for-profit Alaska Native owned corporate chief executive officer, tribal renewable energy manager, tribal wellness manager, and as a board member to regional, national, and international Indigenous organizations. The theoretical framework for leadership selection is derived from my work in developing, planning, and leading facilitation of the Northwest Arctic Institute, which was based on Indigenous youth leadership development and prevention experience at the local, national, and international levels. This history is covered within the Introduction and Program History sections.
    • Spiritual coping in counseling with trauma survivors

      Bronson, Damaris; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; Swisher, Kimberly (2016)
      Instances of past trauma are common in clients who are seeking help working through feelings of anxiety and depression. This research project will investigate the use of spiritual coping with clients who have experienced trauma involving intimate partner violence. The literature will identify areas that are important to consider when working with this population. Spirituality will be explored and along with Existentialism serve as the framework for working with trauma survivors. Due to the concentration of Alaska Native and American Indian individuals in Alaska, culture specific interventions are described. The application for this project, based on a review of the literature, is a training for master's level counseling students designed to educate future counselors about spiritual coping.
    • A treatment planner for severely emotionally disturbed (SED) youth in residential treatment programs

      Lotze, Brian; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; Morotti, Allan (2016)
      Writing treatment plans is a necessary but time-consuming step for busy counselors and mental health workers. Treatment plans are an important way of documenting and showing (a) the need for treatment, (b) the goals or objectives of treatment, and (c) how progress in treatment is measured. A well-written plan is critical to successfully treating clients, but must also allow agencies and counselors to document their work. Treatment planners assist counselors and other mental health workers when developing treatment plans, but existing planners are broadly focused to appeal to a wide audience. A review of the literature, and data from a residential treatment program for Severely Emotionally Disturbed (SED) youth was used to create a more narrowly focused treatment planner.
    • Urge surfing for acute and post-acute recovery populations

      Todhunter, Max David; Gifford, Valerie; Sandberg, Patricia; Dahl, Heather (2017-05)
      Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention urge surfing is an intervention that promotes distress tolerance through acceptance of and non-reactivity to urges and cravings. While the urge surfing intervention is effective with participants in out-patient and early recovery settings, for which it was designed, there is no research literature related to its efficacy for clients receiving higher level of care services during early abstinence and recovery. Clients undergoing residential treatment for substance use concerns are likely to experience difficulty with a cognition based approach such as urge surfing, due to cognitive dysfunction related to post-acute withdrawal in early recovery. A modification of the urge surfing intervention that replaces an abstract cognition dependent visualization with a focus on immediate and concrete somatic distress creates the potential of making it useful for populations in early recovery.