Collections in this community

Recent Submissions

  • Suicide screening in medical settings screening for suicidality in medical settings: a review of best practices the culturally-grounded interpersonal model for suicide assessment

    Winters, Tomi; Gifford, Valerie; Dahl, Heather; Worrall, Michael (2020-08)
    Suicide assessment training is essential for medical providers because patients are more likely to present at medical clinics than behavioral health clinics when suffering from suicidal ideation (Ahmedani et al., 2014; Luoma, Martin, & Pearson, 2002), and the range in symptom presentation complicates suicide screening (Ghasemi, Shaghaghi, & Allahverdipour, 2015; Giddens, Sheehan, & Sheehan, 2014). Using a survey from the Fairbanks Wellness Coalition (Goldstream Group Incorporated, 2017), a literature review, and three phases of evaluation from prior presentations, this webinar project supports the training needs of medical providers in the Fairbanks North Star Borough. The results from the literature review and feedback from the presentations created the content for the training. Combining suicide risk measurements with clinical judgment is best practice when assessing patients for suicide risk (Bouch & Marshall, 2005; Chung & Jelic, 2015). Use of the C-SSRS and improving clinical judgment with the Culturally-Grounded Interpersonal model for Suicide Assessment (C-GIMS) may improve results. C-GIMS incorporates new findings in the literature after the C-SSRS was created while addressing the need for perspective-taking and cultural attunement for improved clinical judgment. The purpose of this project was to train medical providers to improve screening for suicide risk in medical settings.
  • How religious and spiritual information is infused throughout counselor education programs

    Conway, Kathryn; Gifford, Valerie; Renes, Susan; Ollhoff, Tim (2020-05)
    Many counseling clients want the religious and spiritual aspects of themselves acknowledged and incorporated into their therapy sessions. As such, counselors must gain competence in addressing religious and spiritual issues with clients. What is uncertain is whether counselor education programs address religious and spiritual issues consistently and adequately. The following text is a thematic literature review synthesizing research related to the question, “How is religious and spiritual information infused throughout counselor education programs?” Review of the research reveals incredible variability between counselor education programs, and a paucity of religious and spiritual content delivered to counseling students, suggesting that religious and spiritual topics must be more consistently addressed throughout counselor education programs.
  • Addressing the health needs of patients diagnosed with a chronic disease in a rural Alberta, Canada primary care setting

    Hesterman, Samantha J.; Gifford, Valerie; Renes, Susan; Kritzinger, Irma (2019-08)
    This comprehensive literature review presents findings associated with the need for more mental health support in rural Alberta. Integrated care with a behavioral health consultant (BHC) presents as a possible solution. Peer-reviewed literature indicates that rural residents are at a higher risk of suicide, substance abuse, depression, and other serious mental health concerns. They are often at a disadvantage when trying to access mental health support, and over 40% of patients with mental health needs will first seek treatment in a primary care setting. Positive mental health and positive health care outcomes are strongly linked to an individual’s total health, and a contributing factor to mental health concerns is the overwhelming number of people who have been diagnosed with a chronic disease. Integrated care with a BHC could help support both primary care providers and their patients by combining the professional competencies of mental health and primary care providers
  • Continuity of care between medical professionals and behavioral health providers to prevent suicide in Alaska

    Priest, Mary J.K.; Dahl, Heather; Gifford, Valerie; Dorsett, Brandi (2019-05)
    This literature review describes the need for continuity of care between medical professionals and behavioral health providers for patients who are experiencing suicidality, highlighting the state of Alaska specifically. An initiative proposal advocating for mandated continuity of care for patients who are experiencing suicidality is included, as well as letters of sponsorship and support which can be sent to various Alaskans in order to advocate for those in need of services. Sending letters of support to a cross-section of Alaskans would ensure that concerns and support are heard from a diverse population of Alaskans. There currently is no act or law which requires continuity of care between medical professionals and behavioral health providers for patients who are experiencing suicidality. This proposal initiative and accompanying letters would be the first step in pursing legal change mandating continuity of care between medical professionals and behavioral health providers in the state of Alaska.
  • Positive behavior supports and interventions: is it the best approach for Juneau elementary schools?

    Anderson, Bobbie; Renes, Susan L.; Morton, James Jr.; Bratton, Imelda (2018-12)
    The US public educational system strives to assist students to develop the academic and social skills they will need to be competitive in the world market. A considerable obstacle to this goal is behavioral problems in schools, which disrupt important learning time for both the student who is demonstrating the behavior and for his or her peers. Additionally, current literature asserts that behavioral problems interfere in social and academic relationships, create stress for school faculty, and are linked to school failure and increased high-school dropout rates, which have a negative economic impact on both the student and community. Given the correlation of problematic behavior (which appears to be trending upward) with negative outcomes, it seems clear that identifying the best approach to preventing and correcting problematic behavior is imperative. The purpose of this project is to critically examine some commonly used approaches to determine the most effective and efficient method used in elementary schools to prevent and correct problematic behavior. In addition, implementation and continuance of the chosen approach is discussed with the Juneau School District in mind.
  • Continuing care groups: long term treatment of substance use disorders

    Foote, Olivia; Renes, Susan L.; Cook, Christine R.; Henze-Nelson, Brenda (2014)
    Substance use disorders are chronic diseases that affect individuals, families, and communities. These illnesses frequently require several courses of treatment to achieve abstinence. Inpatient chemical dependency treatment, followed by continuing care, increases abstinence rates regardless of the interventions used within the continuing care program. The largest barrier to successful continuing care programs appears to be patients' attendance and participation. This project aims to create a continuing care program that focuses on increasing patients' attendance adherence in order to support them through their first year of recovery.
  • Academic, behavioral and social intervention strategies for elementary children with autistic spectrum disorder

    Flora, Kristin; Cook, Christine; Healy, Joanne; Henze-Nelson, Brenda (2013-12)
    Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience academic, behavioral and social challenges that can interfere with their ability to participate fully in the school environment. School districts are legally mandated to provide services to students with disabilities. This paper provides definitions of ASD, addresses some of the diagnostic testing instruments, describes theoretical approaches, and looks at three evidence-based intervention strategies that could be utilized by a school counselor and staff members to work effectively with students with autism. The first is applied behavioral analysis (ABA) which centers on teaching small, measurable units of behavior systematically. The second intervention is assistive technology (AT) which is comprised of devices that allow a student full access to their learning environment. This can be accomplished through the use of computers (high) or a modified chair (low). The third intervention is Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports (PBIS) which incorporates a schoolwide approach to fostering a healthy and positive environment for students to role-model and practice appropriate behavior for their peers and adults. The final piece included is a districtwide school in-service to provide information to staff about local, state and national resources available to them.
  • Using equine-facilitated psychotherapy to treat eating disorders

    Donofry, Susana; Cook, Christine; Healy, Joanne; Harrison, Lynn (2014)
    Eating disorders are pervasive mental disorders that can be accompanied by significant psychological symptoms and comorbidities, such as: suicide, anxiety, and depression. The binging and purging behaviors that often accompany eating disorders can result in significant medical issues such as dehydration, heart arrhythmias, seizures, kidney problems, and death. Eating disorders affect males and females alike, as well as adults and children, and are most predominant among Western cultures. Eating disorders often involve binge eating episodes, periods of starvation, and purging behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, laxative use, and excessive exercise. Treatment options for decreasing the symptoms of eating disorders include: pharmacological interventions, psychological interventions, exercise interventions, and equine facilitated psychotherapy (utilizes psychological interventions in combination with equine activities). This literature review provides a basis for a PowerPoint presentation that states the benefits of adding equine-facilitated psychotherapy to the list of top research priorities, as well as describes the benefits and limitations of this newer form of therapy.
  • Foster Parent Training for the Delivery of Independent Living Skills

    Alley, Kandy; Renes, Susan L.; Cook, Christine R.; Hutchison, Shayle (2013-12)
    Although training is made available to foster parents when they volunteer to share their homes with children in need, the required ten hours for single parents and fifteen hours for coupled parents does not provide enough training for foster parents who are working with youth preparing for independent living to give them the skills they need to succeed. There are many programs designed for youth, but fewer programs are readily available in Fairbanks, Alaska to teach foster parents how to deliver the skills to the youth. Youth leaving foster care continue to have lower outcomes in education, employment, housing, and fiscal management after exiting foster care than children who were raised in traditional homes. The outcome of this literature review is a pamphlet that will assist agencies in educating the parents of foster youth aging out of the foster care system. It will also provide quick access to resources and learning centers that offer training opportunities for foster parents working with youth preparing for independent living.
  • Stress reduction support for new teachers in rural Alaska

    Wray, Tapiana; Renes, Susan L.; Topkok, Sean A.; Morton, James (2018-05)
    Teachers experience many different facets of stress that directly affect attrition and burnout in the profession. While the research on teacher retention and attrition in Arctic Alaska is limited, that does not diminish the impact felt by the students, the community, and the state. Teacher attrition and retention is a multidimensional issue that could benefit from an intervention created on behalf of administrators, communities, and the teachers themselves. This paper presents one approach to address teacher retention: teachers and administrators incorporating stress reduction techniques into their lives have been proven successful in reducing teacher stress to mitigate teacher burnout.
  • A school-based intervention program for preadolescent girls experiencing body dissatisfaction

    Taylor, Chelsea; Renes, Susan; Dahl, Heather; McMorrow, Samantha (2018-05)
    Body dissatisfaction and poor body image are issues girls are facing in their preadolescent years. Research is demonstrating that preadolescent girls need intervention programs to help support them with the struggles of body image and self-acceptance. This project uses the literature and established research to provide school counselors with a program to help meet the needs of preadolescent girls struggling with body dissatisfaction and promote body acceptance and body positivity.
  • Building Safe Families Through Educating on Adverse Childhood Experiences

    Dabney, Katie E.; Dahl, Heather; McMorrow, Samantha; Henze-Nelson, Brenda (2018-05)
    There is a strong correlation between families that work with child welfare agencies and the prevalence of maltreatment during childhood. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) have been linked to poor health outcomes but are much more negatively correlated when 3 or more ACEs have been experienced during a childhood (Hunt, Slack & Berger, 2017; Crouch, Strompolis, Bennett, Morse, & Radcliff, 2017). Teaching parents about the impacts of ACEs and how they may more safely parent, can reduce the recidivism of future maltreatment in at-risk families who work with child welfare agencies. Education can give parents the power and motivation to make better decisions for themselves and for their families.
  • Restorative practices as tools for reducing the outcome data gaps in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District

    Kettle, Anne; Gifford, Valerie; McMorrow, Samantha; Repetto, Elizabeth (2018)
    Childhood adversity, toxic stress and trauma have physical and mental health impacts on individuals and affect academic and career success. The result of which may present as challenging or off-task behavior in the classroom. Trauma-informed techniques are being implemented to address these challenges in schools and classrooms across the United States. Restorative practices are proving to serve as successful tools for mitigating the impact of adversity on students and build a more cohesive and successful school atmosphere. There is potential for restorative practices to be used by school counselors as part of a comprehensive school counseling program to work to close gaps in the rates of graduation, suspension/expulsion and attendance between students from the majority population and those from traditionally marginalized populations. Based on a review of the literatures of trauma-informed schools, restorative practices and school counselor roles, a presentation and tool-kit has been developed for the Fairbanks North Star Borough school counselors. This tool-kit builds awareness around the impact of trauma, restorative practices and provides resources to support their implementation in this district via school counselors.
  • Protective Factors Promoting Psychosocial Resilience In Biracial Youths

    Kawakami-Schwarber, Gail K.; Morotti, Alan (2010)
    Resilience in adolescents is the achievement of positive outcomes and the attainment of developmental tasks in the face of significant risk. This study identified protective factors promoting resilience in the development of positive self-identity in biracial youths. The rapidly rising biracial youth population is a vulnerable group facing potentially higher risks for mental health and behavioral issues compared to their monoracial counterparts. Identity development, a central psychosocial task of adolescence, is a complex task for biracial youths since they must integrate two ethnic identities. For biracial youths, mastery of the psychosocial identity developmental task can be daunting as they face stressors such as racial stigmas and negative stereotypes, which may lead to identity problems manifesting during adolescence. Sixteen biracial individuals ranging from age 18 to 29 years participated in this qualitative research project. Comparisons were made to identify patterns and themes for factors affecting self-esteem and ethnic identity level among the participants. Brought to light were culturally-based protective factors stemming from individual, family, and social domains promoting psychosocial resilience in fostering healthy biracial identity resolution. Risk factors unique for the biracial population were also identified. The findings underscore the importance in understanding how the environment shapes and influences the ways biracial youth negotiate their dual identity. The research results can be integrated into appropriate prevention and intervention techniques for application by professionals and families to further healthy identity resolution in biracial youths.
  • Outpatient care in Fairbanks: supporting people with schizophrenia

    Wiley, Alex; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; Harrison, Lynn (2015)
    With the current lack of residential treatment facilities, long-term hospitalization, and mental health agencies that can fully support people with schizophrenia in Fairbanks, Alaska, there are many ethical concerns that must be addressed to best support clients with schizophrenia. The ethical considerations present in the success of outpatient care include: a) promoting the welfare of clients, b) utilizing plans that offer reasonable promise of success, c) understanding the limits imposed on the support networks of these clients, and d) the limitations of employment opportunities for these clients in an outpatient setting. Reviewing literature on the experiences of people with schizophrenia revealed three stages of treatment normally experienced: a) acute care, b) transition care, and c) chronic care. Areas most impacted for people with schizophrenia are socialization and work, memory and intelligence, suicide risk and other disorders, and interactions with family, friends and the community. In Fairbanks, Alaska where weather hinders socializing and available services are limited, building many strong support resources is incredibly important to give people with schizophrenia the best chance of recovery and a stable quality of life.
  • What Would Captain Underpants Do? A Literary Analysis Of Children In School

    Carter, Jeanne Noelle; Reyes, Maria (2006)
    Using cultural studies and critical discourse analysis as guiding theories, this study focuses on the literary representation of school experience by analyzing popular children's literature. The study focuses on literature appealing to the 8--12 year-old audience. Books of primary examination include L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, Barbara Park's Junie B. Jones series, Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby books, Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series, J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Andrew Clemenet's Frindle, C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series, Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, Betty McDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, and Walter Dean Meyer's Monster. The general trends found are: (1) Books featuring female protagonists are often concerned with relationships. The protagonists are frustrated that the roles and expectations of school do not allow space for discussing relationships or personal information. (2) Books featuring male protagonists generally focus on themes of power structures and how the students use subversive methods to assert their values in spite of the dominant administrative authority. (3) When books feature children who are working on character or ethical development, those children are often removed from the school context and placed in a more fantastical context. (4) The literature surveyed implies that students value unrealistically committed teachers with no interests outside of the children, who can make lessons clear, relevant, and interactive.
  • A guide to school-based suicide prevention in Alaska secondary schools

    Sprague, Anna; Cook, Christine; Gifford, Valerie; Simpson, Joni (2014)
    The purpose of this project is to provide education professionals in the state of Alaska with a practical resource for understanding and distinguishing between evidence-based, best practice, and currently employed school based suicide prevention programs. Programs selected for inclusion were evidence-based and best practice programs recognized by professional organizations including the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP), and are currently listed as accepted programs and resources by the State of Alaska Department of Education and Early Childhood. Programs were evaluated for format, accessibility, research and reviews, and cultural considerations. Nine programs, with 5 others mentioned not meeting all criteria, are presented in a website for easy sharing of information.
  • Examining the feasibility of implementing a matrix model intensive outpatient program in a remote Alaskan setting

    Ponziano, Frank; Gifford, Valerie; Renes, Susan; McMorrow, Samantha (2015)
    Significance: The Matrix Model is possibly the only evidenced-based, intensive outpatient approach for addiction that has been shown to be effective at treating addiction. However, the model has not been evaluated for its effectiveness in remote Alaskan settings, such as Fairbanks, Alaska. Specific Aim: This study examined the feasibility of the Matrix Model compared to Treatment as Usual (TAU) in Fairbanks, Alaska. TAU is defined as any other outpatient substance abuse treatment (SAT) other than Matrix Model treatment program. The model's philosophy will be examined, and a method for determining its feasibility for implementation in Fairbanks, Alaska, will be outlined. This project will provide a method for an agency to examine their readiness and philosophical compatibility for the Matrix Model. This research intends to explore contextual variables, such as environment, culture, policy, participant barriers, funding, and organizational philosophy. Methods: This study has reviewed the literature regarding evidence-based, intensive outpatient programs, other treatment philosophies, and the contextual variables that affect program implementation in the literature. Moreover, this study provides an analysis of the Matrix Model versus TAU to help guide a Fairbanks agency considering Matrix Model Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). IOP is a 12 to 16 week intensive outpatient SAT that meets for 9 or more hours per week that integrates individual, family, and group counseling along with weekly drugs screens. Implications: This project aims to contribute to the body of knowledge regarding the Matrix Models effectiveness compared to TAU in remote Alaskan settings.
  • School Connectedness: the benefits of a school-based peer-mentoring program for transitioning students in secondary education

    Murdock, Lucy Marie Rabold; Cook, Christine; Gifford, Valerie; Harrison, Lynn (2015)
    The transition to a new high school can disrupt social networks, cause anxiety, and hinder academic success for secondary students. School-based comprehensive peer-mentoring programs that focus on transitioning secondary students have the potential to alleviate the anxiety of a changing school climate by promoting school connectedness, building peer relationships, and being sensitive to the social, academic, and procedural concerns of transitioning secondary students (Cauley & Jovanovich, 2006). Students who feel connected to school feel personally accepted, respected, included, and supported by others in the school social environment, all of which may guard against student alienation, poor self-esteem, and other deviant behaviors for adolescent youth. The following research paper discusses how focused school-based peer-mentoring programs for adolescents may help to build school and peer connectedness; promote academic achievement, healthy development, and psychological health; increase protective factors; and decrease risky behaviors. A presentation and program guide for secondary administration and staff were developed based on the information found in the literature review.
  • Uncovering and enhancing motivation in a residential substance abuse treatment setting

    Morris, Alexandria V.; Renes, Susan; Gifford, Valerie; McMorrow, Samantha (2015)
    This project addresses how to enhance motivation in a residential substance abuse setting in order to encourage completion of treatment. This project discusses contingency management, music therapy, family therapy, and motivational interviewing and how they enhance motivation. Contingency management and music therapy were both found to be helpful in increasing motivation in residential settings. Family therapy was also found to increase motivation, but at smaller levels. Motivational interviewing, which is used by many therapists, also enhances motivation in a consumer and is considered an evidenced based practice. The project provides a motivational curriculum for use in a six-week residential treatment program. The curriculum incorporates all four areas found in the literature that can be used to enhance motivation and to uncover motivation and help to engage consumers in treatment.

View more