• Decision Management Process Improvement Project

      Dahl, Alina (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-12-01)
      It has become all too common that questions are raised during the execution of a project pertaining to the decisions that were made early on. Without having maintained a concise, accessible record of project decisions, the project manager and team members would find it difficult to provide hard evidence as to how they got to this point and what impacts specific decisions had on the project’s trajectory. This paper introduces the Decision Management Process Improvement Project (DMPIP), which focuses on improving decision management process throughout the lifecycle of a project with the aim of adding value to project performance and helping obtain project success. This new tool was inspired due to a lack of appropriate methods involving complex projects at a local consulting firm. The process along with the tool is being added to the toolset of a local Consulting Firm. This Firm plans to introduce the tools and techniques to clients that will benefit from an increased Project Management maturity level with improvements to its decision-tracking processes and demonstration of downstream effects of important decisions. The final product is a contribution to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) in the form of creating a Project Decision Management knowledge area in the PMBOK format. A decision log that follows a decision throughout the whole process from problem identification and analysis to the eventual outcome is at the core of the created knowledge area.
    • Denali Expedition 2016, The West Buttress

      Ramsey, Justin P. (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      During the summer of 2016 the project team will conduct an expedition to climb the West Buttress of Denali. Denali is the highest peak in North America, with an elevation of 20,320 feet above sea level. The West Buttress is the most commonly climbed route starting at the Kahiltna Glacier and ascending to the summit. The three-week expedition requires robust planning prior to step-off since there will be no external support once started. Current expedition planning typically consists of ad hoc methods of planning, consisting of subject matter expert opinion and best guesses. The average summit rate for the past ten years on Denali hovers around 52% and the fatality rate hovers at three climbers a year. Unsuccessful attempts are often attributed to bad weather, injury, lack of fitness and lack of mountaineering knowledge. Can following systematic planning guidelines and establishing preexpedition go/no-go criteria for expeditions on Denali significantly increase safety and increase summit success? This project encompassed all pre-expedition planning and support. The project produced an itinerary for the threeweek expedition, researched and procured equipment for the team, researched high altitude nutrition and procured food items, developed a comprehensive physical fitness training plan for expedition members, and developed an expedition risk management plan. Will these deliverables ensure a more successful and safer expedition? Additionally, the detailed approach to expedition planning will allow the expedition team to establish a balance between unacceptably sparse and excessively burdensome equipment and supplies.
    • Describing Barriers to Healthcare Access in the Homer Area, Alaska

      Zatz, Lisa M. (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      Data on healthcare access barriers are lacking for any location in the state of Alaska. The current project set out to describe the barriers to healthcare access experienced by people living in the rural Homer Area of southcentral Alaska. Of the 124 surveys returned 50 (46%) of the respondents identified cost, lack of specialists, transportation, time, and mistrust/dislike of providers as barriers that had kept them from accessing local heathcare in the previous 12 months. Improving healthcare access for this rural population will require a paradigm shift in how we think about healthcare. Novel approaches to when, where, and how healthcare is delivered will need to be considered if healthcare access is to be improved in the region.
    • Describing the Patient Care Experience: Quality Improvment in Federally Qualified Health Centers in Alaska

      Cooke, Shawna (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-05-01)
      The purpose of this quality improvement project was to evaluate whether the quality assurance/performance improvement (QAPI) plan at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) provided a valid mechanism for assessing the overall patient experience or if implementing a multimodal approach to evaluating the patient experience provided a more accurate depiction on which to base operational decisions. The project used the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) framework to examine the efficacy of a multimodal approach to assessment of the patient care experience. The aims were to describe the patient care experience in a FQHC located in a small community in Alaska using a qualitative descriptive approach; and to examine the qualitative findings in relation to those derived from the aggregate FQHC survey data in order to make recommendations for a sustainable approach to evaluating the patient care experience in this FQHC environment. Provider relationships greatly influenced satisfaction and the perception of care. Participants long for a community clinic connection, to feel valued and connected to the FQHC and the community. Participants were satisfied with interagency coordination and communication, but struggled with understanding the inner workings of the health care system within the community. Participants were eager for community-based opportunities for learning and engagement. The results derived from the focus groups added important information in describing the patient care experience, supported the premise that a qualitative descriptive approach would add additional information not previously derived from the quantitative data, provided an opportunity to engage the community, and elicited a more accurate depiction of the care experience.
    • A Descriptive Analysis of Gastric Cancer in Alaska

      Evengue, Fabrice (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-04-01)
      Gastric cancer or stomach cancer represents a major public health problem in the contiguous United States and in Alaska. Stomach cancer is the fourth most common malignancy and the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths throughout the world. A retrospective study of gastric cancer cases from 1996 to 2011 was undertaken and data were extracted from the Alaska Cancer Registry where cases are consistently recorded and centralized. Data were analyzed using the National Cancer Institute’s SEER* Stat statistical software (version 8.1.5). The goal of the project was to provide a detailed epidemiologic descriptive analysis of gastric cancer to better inform health professionals, the public and to provide additional resources for future research. Results showed that gastric cancer incidence rates in Alaska are significantly higher than the rest of the nation. Alaska Natives and American Indians in Alaska have the highest rate of gastric cancer than all races/ethnicities combined. Males have a risk prevalence of gastric cancer that is twice that for females. The Alaska Native male and Asian/Pacific Islander male gastric cancer incidence rates are much higher than males from other races. In addition, Southeast Alaska Natives’ incidence rates are lower than rates for non-Southeast Alaska Natives. Based on the findings, study recommendations include the following: 1) Health education campaigns for at risk-groups; 2) Making health care services available; 3) Education of local health community workers and health care professionals; 4) Promoting new ways of preserving food in rural communities and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables; 5) Encouraging patients to discuss their family history with healthcare providers to determine potential risks for inherited cancer syndromes.
    • Design and Operational Challenges and Solutions for Solid Waste Management in Northern Alaska

      Squier, David (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      This paper examined the challenges of designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining an effective solid waste management system in northern Alaska. Northern Alaska presents unique challenges for developing an effective solid waste management plan. The communities in the region are not connected to the road system and the main strategy for disposing of solid waste is by developing aboveground landfills. This strategy has been used for many years, but as communities are increasing in size and the effects of climate change are becoming apparent, an adjustment in this strategy may be required. This research examined the current solid waste practices in northern Alaskan, reviews the regulatory requirements, isolates difficulties in current solid waste practices, identifies the unique challenges of working in the region, and anticipates operational practices that may create problems in the future. A main topic of study was the effect of the heat generated by exposed and decomposing waste in landfills and how this could affect the stability of the permafrost below and around the landfill. After accounting for all of the aspects identified, design and operational recommendations and strategies for solid waste management in northern Alaska were outlined. This paper considered solutions not only for current problems facing northern Alaska, but tried to anticipate what problems may occur decades or centuries in the future when conditions may be vastly different than they are today. An effective solid waste management strategy was found to be essential for a healthy community for current and future generations.
    • Design of a Constructed Wetland for Treatment of Facultative Lagoon Effluent in Rural Alaska

      Telford, Brandon (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-05-01)
      Many rural communities in Alaska rely on large constructed lagoons to treat their wastewater. The quality of effluent released from these lagoons and the ability of the receiving bodies to dilute the effluent varies as the thawed season progresses. The receiving bodies tend to have capacity before the effluent has reached levels acceptable for discharge and algae growth degrades effluent quality as capacity in receiving bodies is decreasing, leaving only a short window to discharge effluent with minimal impact. The expansion of an existing facultative lagoon and the addition of a constructed wetland in Galena, Alaska is estimated to increase BOD and TSS removal to levels that will consistently exceed permit levels. The lagoon will be drawn down by discharging to the constructed wetland over a 120 day discharge period. The addition of the constructed wetland will keep TSS within permit levels even when algae drives TSS values over permit levels in the facultative lagoon. While the constructed wetland is expected to reduce fecal coliform concentration in the wastewater treatment facility effluent it may not bring fecal coliform levels down to below permit levels. Additional dilution or disinfection may be required. Unlike BOD, TSS, and fecal coliform, which are expected to improve through the addition of the constructed wetland, dissolved oxygen levels are expected to decrease as a result of treating the wastewater in the constructed wetland. While the dissolved oxygen concentration of the constructed wetland effluent will be low, the decreased BOD concentration will result in an effluent that is more readily able to reaerate over an effluent with a higher BOD concentration. Overall the results of this project suggest that adding constructed wetlands treatment to facultative lagoons prior to discharge to receiving bodies has the potential to create effluent of consistent quality that will meet or exceed ADEC permit requirements.
    • The Detection and Treatment of Diabetes Distress

      Viens, Kylie Jane (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2020-12-01)
      The purpose of this project is to develop evidenced-based, best practice guidelines on detecting and treating diabetes distress for health care providers at Southcentral Foundation (SCF). A need was identified at SCF because health care providers do not currently screen for diabetes distress in patients with type 2 diabetes. Key findings include the importance of detecting and treating diabetes distress, critical times to screen for diabetes distress, and evidenced-based treatment options if diabetes distress is detected. It was determined that the Diabetes Distress Scale is a valid and reliable tool for health care providers to assess diabetes distress in the primary care setting at SCF. Additionally, by using the SCF approaches and processes for improvement, a Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle was created for planning and implementing sustained screening for diabetes distress in patients with type 2 diabetes. Lastly, an educational portal was designed for health care providers to better equip them for detecting and treating diabetes distress in their respective practice setting.
    • Determinants of Obesity in Latinos in Anchorage Alaska

      Appa, Andrea (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-12-01)
      Determinants of obesity can be complex and group specific. There is limited data about the Latino population and the health needs of Latinos in the state of Alaska. The goal of this project was to better understand the determinants of obesity in Latinos, including the impact of dietary choices, financial status, mental health, and exercising in the levels of obesity of Latinos. The investigator used Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to study the association of several variables in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). After data exploration, univariate analysis and logistical regression were conducted for selected variables related to the causes of obesity in Latinos living in the state of Alaska where the investigator observed higher percentages of obesity in Latinos as compared to other groups. However, results were not statistically significant except for the higher percentages with high blood pressure in obese Latinos when compared to non-obese Latinos and other groups. The results produced by this study are evidence that further research is needed to determine the impact of obesity in Latinos and their differences with other groups.
    • Determinants of Obesity in Latinos in Anchorage, Alaska: Analysis of BRFSS Alaska Data, 2007-2013

      Appa, Andrea (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      Determinants of obesity can be complex and group specific. There is limited data about the Latino population and the health needs of Latinos in the state of Alaska. The goal of this project was to better understand the determinants of obesity in Latinos, including the impact of dietary choices, financial status, mental health, and exercising in the levels of obesity of Latinos. The investigator used Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to study the association of several variables in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). After data exploration, univariate analysis and logistical regression were conducted for selected variables related to the causes of obesity in Latinos living in the state of Alaska where the investigator observed higher percentages of obesity in Latinos as compared to other groups. However, results were not statistically significant except for the higher percentages with high blood pressure in obese Latinos when compared to non-obese Latinos and other groups. The results produced by this study are evidence that further research is needed to determine the impact of obesity in Latinos and their differences with other groups
    • Determining the Health Problems of Alaska Military Youth Academy Participants

      Doughty, Mark W. (2014-12-08)
      Alaska Military Youth Academy is an accredited residential high school program that utilizes a quasi-military approach to teach life skills to at-risk youth. Physical fitness is a key component and is modeled after military basic training standards. Participants in the program are largely from disadvantaged backgrounds and frequently disconnected from the healthcare system. The purpose of this project was to identify and describe the most life-threatening and/or prevalent pre-existing health conditions of program participants. A retrospective review of applications and pre-participation physical exams submitted by participants (N = 771) from March, 2012 through February, 2014 was conducted in order to better understand the health risks these adolescents face during the program. The top five most prevalent pre-existing health conditions in this sample included obesity (n = 187), allergies (n = 170), asthma/reactive airway disease (n = 103), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/attention deficit disorder (n = 88), and depression (n = 81). Other potentially life threatening health conditions included a history of cardiac arrhythmias (n = 5), congenital heart defects (n = 5), hypertension (n = 4) and epileptic seizures (n = 3). In an effort to mitigate the risk of injury these young athletes face in an intense physical fitness program, the PPE Pre-Participation Physical Evaluation (4th ed.) monograph (Bernhardt & Roberts, 2010) was utilized as guidelines to make recommendations for improvement of the preparticipation health history and physical exams used to screen AMYA applicants.
    • Develop and Standardize a DOT&PF Statewide Airport Construction Specifications Updating Process

      Groeschel, Virginia Corazon deJesus Cruz (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2020-12-01)
      This research study evaluates the operational performance of an experimental process model developed to provide a systematic and repeatable approach to updating the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) Statewide Standard Airport Construction (SSAC) specifications to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5370-10H – Standard Specifications for Construction of Airports, (10H). In order to develop and standardize an effective process within DOT&PF, this study must examine how a large government organization, like DOT&PF, implements change. This study also discusses which key Project Management Institute’s (PMI’s) knowledge areas provide the framework for initiating, planning, and executing an implementation phase of this experimental process model on two specification sections, P-401 – Asphalt Mix Pavement (P-401) and P-318 – Foamed Asphalt Stabilized Base Course (P-318). P-401 is also referred to in this study as the “Beta Test case” and P-318 as the “Trial Run case”.
    • Developing a process for International Articulation Agreements in UAA

      Baye, Douglas (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2018-12-01)
      Institutions of higher education find themselves in the forefront of addressing the challenges of college affordability, access and completion. Articulation agreement is an important, cost-effective tool to help students transfer credits successfully and also a marketing vehicle to aid institutions in recruiting students. The UAA is interested in progressively increasing the number of international students through articulation agreements with foreign higher education institutions, however there is no documented process in place. Through a survey, interviews and literature review, the project carries out a research on the articulation agreements process in use in UAA and at various US institutions, gain insights into problems of creating agreements in UAA, identifies stakeholders and gathers requirements for an international articulation agreement process for UAA. Findings indicate that there is no clearly defined process. To address this, an international articulation agreement process is developed using project management techniques and principles. Project management tools are also recommended for use in the process. The project also highlights best practices in international articulation agreements and develops a ranking tool for evaluating international articulation agreement processes in use at various US institutions.
    • Developing Core Competencies for Training of the Alaska College and Career Advising Corps

      Monrad, Greg B. (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-08)
      For business and organizations, employee training directly impacts the overall performance, competitiveness, and innovation which could lead to its ultimate success, or failure. In addition, training should directly relate to the values and goals of the organization. In the United States, over 200 billion dollars is spent on more than 20 billion hours of formal and informal training each year. Much is done without a framework to direct it to insure is addressing needs of employees and the organization. By designing training programs around specific core competencies, businesses and organizations can align training with the specific skills, knowledge and behaviors required to succeed in the job. Core competencies clarify specific requirements and expectations of the job while supporting the strategic direction of the organization. One method of determining the core competencies for a job is through a DACUM (Designing A CurriculUM) process. DACUM is not a difficult process to undertake and utilizes experts in the job in question to determine the knowledge, skills and abilities required to successfully perform the job.
    • Development of a Crystalline Silica Management Plan for a Coal-Fired Power Plant

      Martinson, Tracey A. (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      Respirable crystalline silica is a serious occupational health hazard. Exposure can result in the development of silicosis, lung cancer, renal disease, and autoimmune disease. Development of silica-related diseases may take 5-40 years, and there is no cure. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recognizes the health burden placed on workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica, and has promulgated a regulatory standard that will protect these workers to a greater extent than in the past. The standard mandates that businesses implement exposure monitoring, engineering and work practice controls to reduce exposures, and training and medical surveillance for employees exposed at the action level (AL) for more than 30 days per year. For this project, a brief epidemiological and knowledge assessment of employees was conducted and initial exposure monitoring for workers was performed. Based on the results, recommendations on work practice controls to reduce exposures were made. To comply with the new OSHA standard, a training program for employees was developed, and requirements for medical surveillance were outlined. The results of this work were used to develop a comprehensive Respirable Crystalline Silica Management Plan for the Golden Valley Electric Association power plant located in Healy, Alaska.
    • Development of a Parametric Cost Estimating Model for University of Alaska System Renovation Construction Projects

      Puckett, Gregory (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-12-01)
      Early building construction planning strategies provide the foundation for the subsequent performance and success of a project. Cost estimates for projects with minimal scope of work definition, but within the range of accuracy established by industry-recognized professional standards, represent a critical factor in screening potential endeavors against competing alternatives and establishing baseline budgets. Parametric cost estimating models provide owners and managers a tool to develop a prediction of costs and determine the feasibility of a project. This study investigated the process and performance of parametric cost estimates for building renovation projects by analyzing cost data and construction documentation for 50 University of Alaska system jobs from seven campus locations. Cost data was normalized for inflation and location. Project construction documentation was analyzed to determine the extent of the performed scope of work in terms of both building area and systems. The data was entered into a statistical software package and assessed for correlation between project cost and building area/systems criteria. A cost estimating relationship algorithm was formulated from the analysis to establish a parametric model. The generated model was determined to provide a quality fit to the data and adequate predictor of renovation project costs. The work demonstrates that a representative parametric cost estimating model can be formulated for University of Alaska system renovation projects. Given the current State of Alaska fiscal climate and the financial challenges facing the statewide higher education system, developing a tool to facilitate the planning, budgeting, and feasibility assessment of competing project alternative represents an important accomplishment that can provide guidance to university managers, system regents, and state legislators.
    • Development of a Prioritization Tool for BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. Category C Projects

      Lujan, Carlos (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-12-08)
      The production of oil and gas in the major North Slope fields in Alaska is on the decline as it is in any major oilfield of this age. Capital resources must therefore be utilized with the greatest efficiency. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. (BPXA) Projects and Modifications Team (PMT) provides front end loading (FEL) engineering and construction planning services for category (Cat) “C” projects (range from $250,000 - $15,000,000) through BP’s Capital Value Process (CVP), a stage gated project development process. One of BPXA’s strategic objectives is to improve the utilization of Cat C projects capital resources. The project will develop and clarify business objectives ensuring only Cat C projects with strong business drivers will be funded, unless the project is an integrity or health and safety project. This approach will ensure that fit-for-service improvements are selected for execution.
    • The Development of a Return to Learn Protocol for the Anchorage School District

      Faria, Candice (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-08-01)
      Each year in the pediatric population, there are over five hundred thousand emergency room visits for concussion (Meckler, 2014). Children and adolescents who suffer from concussion require longer recovery periods and may experience greater cognitive dysfunction than adults (Marsh, Fraser, & Marsh, 2013). The proper management of the cognitive effects of pediatric concussion is essential, given the large amount of time children and adolescents spend in the academic setting. The purpose of this academic project was to critically appraise the current literature for the highest level of evidence related to the management of the cognitive symptoms of pediatric concussion. The information gained from this critical appraisal of the literature was utilized to develop an evidence-based return to learn protocol for the Anchorage School District; focused on management of the cognitive symptoms of pediatric concussion in the academic setting.
    • Development of a Unified Command Stakeholder "Quick Reference Pamphlet" (QRP) for Emergency Responses

      Estes, Jeffrey L. (2016-05-01)
      This project’s premise explores the relationships between regulatory departments, agencies, divisions, offices and bureaus within Alaska and how they work in a cohesive and symbiotic relationship with one another during a response to a pollution incident. By examining a few basic questions pertaining to what regulations deal with a pollution response and who or what entity has legal responsibility to ensure compliance, a Quick Reference Pamphlet or QRP was developed for the layman. Two reasons for its development include: The layman who either may not have clear understanding of all pertinent regulations; or does not have time to read and become a subject matter expert with the vast amount of governmental plans which explain authorization, permits, forms and instructions.
    • Development of a Young Parents' Guide for Income, Education, Employment, and Health Resources in Southcentral Alaska

      Warren, Hannah (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2020-12-01)
      The issue of pregnancy at a younger age is a global problem that affects the socioeconomic status of people living in our community. The goal of this project was to compile a working, comprehensive, accurate and easy to read resource guide. The primary users of the guide are to be youth who may be planning to be pregnant, pregnant, engaging in risky sexual behaviors which may or may not lead to pregnancy, and/or parenting. Other intended users of the guide are to be workers in the social services and public health field. The resource guide created was assessed by the investigator to be the first of its kind specific to the target population within the Southcentral Alaska region. This study recommends that when working amongst this population that public health practices be used in conjunction with social services, keeping in mind the importance of preventative as well as intervention methods. Mainly, it is suggested that social services sites provide a brief and accurate list of useful links to other resources they recommend for further assistance. Utilizing the Health Belief Model, the intent of this project was to empower young people in this situation to have the knowledge and resources necessary to make informed decisions regarding their health and future.