• Faith-based motivation for health behavior change: a pilot of the Daniel Plan in a small, rural Alaskan community

      Williams, Anna J. (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-05-01)
      Motivating patients to make beneficial lifestyle changes such as improved diet and exercise habits is a challenging but important role for Nurse Practitioners. This project addressed this problem by exploring one promising method for motivating patients, that of faith-based interventions. The Daniel Plan, a previously successful faith-based, six-week small group study was implemented in a small, rural Alaskan community. Data collection included biometric measurements and self-report questionnaires on nutrition and physical activity. All those who completed the study lost weight and improved their diet and exercise habits. Participants reported that the group setting and the spiritual focus were most effective in facilitating their positive changes. These results support previous evidence that faith-based wellness interventions should be considered as a valuable tool for facilitating health behavior changes. They also indicate the importance of incorporating spirituality assessments into the care of patients as a potential way of motivating them to make such changes. More specifically, this project identified that the Daniel Plan was an effective program to recommend to those patients who identify with Biblical teachings.
    • Feasibility Analysis of the Service Design for the Geotourism Program in the Lake Camp Area of Alaska

      Paulus, Peggy D. (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-05-01)
      Alaska, in all its majestic and awe inspiring beauty, has an abundance of culture, wildlife and scenery to offer to residents and non-residents. Tourism is a vital contributor to the economic benefit to the State of Alaska. Many of the existing tour programs, although contribute to the local economy, do not facilitate rural community growth or support. There is much untapped potential for tourism programs in rural communities that can be beneficial to the local communities while preserving the cultural, natural and geographical wonders. This report is a feasibility analysis for a geotourism program in the Camp Lake area of Southwest Alaska. This report demonstrates the possible sustainability of a service concept for such a geotourism program.
    • Feasibility of Thermosyphons to Impede the Progress of Coastal Permafrost Erosion Along the Norther Coastline of Alaska

      Zottola, Jason (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      This study seeks to investigate the feasibility of installing thermosyphons at Drew Point, Alaska to mitigate thermally-induced coastline erosion. Portions of the northern Alaska coastline have been receding at increasing rates and putting in peril infrastructure, environmental habitats, and small villages. Slowing or eliminating the erosion would prevent emotional village relocations and costly infrastructure maintenance and relocations. Climate and soil data from Drew Point and Barrow, Alaska are used as input variables in a numerical modeling software program to determine accurate soil thermal properties to be used in a thermosyphon design. Generalized cost considerations are presented and it is determined that thermosyphons may be an effective mitigation strategy to combat coastal erosion, however, future additional modeling could optimize a design and provide for refinements in the cost analysis.
    • Fitness AK: Applying the project management tools and principles to a business plan

      Hermon, Erik (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-05-01)
      Fitness Alaska is a business opportunity centering on creating a fitness center near Palmer, AK in order to capitalize on growing demand for health and wellness. This project will focus on the creation of a business plan and document the research necessary to plan and predict the costs associated with opening a fitness center. The business will be concentrated on a medium space concept (7000-10000 sq/ft) based around cardiovascular and resistance circuit training, personal training, and a shake bar for members. The purpose of this project was to apply project management principles to create a business plan and assess the feasibility for a fitness center near Palmer, AK. Project Management lent a vital amount of structure to a process that was unfamiliar to the researcher, allowing work to be broken into logical portions and completed within a constrained time period. The Palmer surrounding area population grew by 14.3% between 2010 and 2015 and projects to continue. The market favorability and the gap in services for a medium sized fitness center in the Palmer area have created an opportunity to be filled. This project details the business case analysis of the Palmer area to make recommendations for such a business.
    • Food Security in Alaska: Assisting the Alaska Food Policy Council to Meet Their Strategic Plan Goals Through the Use of GIS Mapping Technology

      Wilson, Melissa N. (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-08-01)
      The Alaska Food Policy Council (AFPC) was established to examine how the Alaska food system functions, and to provide ideas and recommendations for improving access to healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate foods for all the state’s citizens. At the start of this project, AFPC did not have a resource tool that allows for the mapping of gaps, projects, initiatives, and strengths of the Alaska food system. Thus, this project focused on developing such a tool to assist AFPC with meeting their strategic plan goals, i.e., promoting the affordability, safety, accessibility and infrastructure of the Alaska food system. Secondary analysis of data relating to AFPC goals was conducted, and associated information was plotted using a GIS mapping tool. The creation of the map introduces a visual tool which can assist in providing an overall picture of the gaps and strengths identified in Alaska’s food system. This project can be used as a starting point for the future development of a real-time web-based GIS map that AFPC and other stakeholders can use to support recommendations to the state on food security related issues.
    • Fostering Place-Based Education and Inclusion in the Classroom Through School Grades

      Gonzales-Smith, Karina (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2020-12-01)
      Place-based education expands the space where students learn by connecting to the outdoors, such as garden-based lessons that are dynamic and have a multidisciplinary curriculum. Students are given the opportunity to learn healthy behaviors, environmentally sustainable practices, and life skills. Inclusion is fostered by giving teachers and students agency in the learning experience. The purpose of this study was to view garden education through the lens of place-based education, critical pedagogy, and social justice. To this end, a lesson plan template was created to facilitate future development of garden-based lessons characterized by responsive curriculum and alignment with academic standards. A university internship course was visualized to support the collaborative effort of school garden programs.
    • Fostering Professional Quality of Life in Nurses: An Online Curriculum

      Green, Kari (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      The nursing profession is based on compassion toward others, with inherent risks and rewards for nurses. The cost of caring is even more prevalent within the context of the current healthcare crisis. Despite implications at the personal, professional, and larger healthcare system level, little effort is being directed toward mitigating these negative effects. The efficacy of self-care and mindfulness practices is promising, yet succinct tools are not readily available. An online curriculum was created to promote awareness, provide evidence-based education, and encourage application of self-care and mindfulness practices for nursing students, practicing nurses, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to help mitigate the negative effects of compassion fatigue and positively impact professional nursing quality of life. Overall, there was a positive response based on relevance, practicality, and satisfaction from users, as evidenced by responses on a post-completion survey.
    • Fostering Professional Quality of Life in Nurses: An Online Curriculum

      Green, Kari (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      The nursing profession is based on compassion toward others, with inherent risks and rewards for nurses. The cost of caring is even more prevalent within the context of the current healthcare crisis. Despite implications at the personal, professional, and larger healthcare system level, little effort is being directed toward mitigating these negative effects. The efficacy of self-care and mindfulness practices is promising, yet succinct tools are not readily available. An online curriculum was created to promote awareness, provide evidence-based education, and encourage application of self-care and mindfulness practices for nursing students, practicing nurses, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses to help mitigate the negative effects of compassion fatigue and positively impact professional nursing quality of life. Overall, there was a positive response based on relevance, practicality, and satisfaction from users, as evidenced by responses on a post-completion survey.
    • A Framework for a Multi-Year Development Program Targeting High Potential Individuals in the Alaska Oil and Gas Industry

      Loomis, Ryan (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-12-01)
      The Alaska Oil & Gas industry has a limited labor pool which creates a high demand for talented individuals. As a result competition is fierce among the companies in the Alaska's Oil and Gas industry. Furthermore, companies devote considerable resources to recruiting and training talent, only to see individuals leave for a competitor or Alaska altogether; individuals who exhibit potential for leadership are difficult to retain. Individuals with experience in all aspects of Arctic projects, from engineering through operations, are in high demand. Despite this, some of largest employers in Alaska do not have solidified long term programs for developing talent in these areas. There is a need for the contractor companies in Alaska's Oil & Gas industry to develop and implement a plan which would ultimately result in the retention of talented, skilled employees. This project produced a framework which can be utilized by companies to implement competitive multi-year development programs specific to the unique Alaska Oil & Gas contractor industry. The produced framework focused on job movement with aspects of mentorship and applicable higher education. Through use of the this framework, employees would become highly trained and dedicated to their Alaska Oil & Gas employer as they received high quality and diverse experiences while developing long term relationships with mentors dedicated to the success of the participant and Alaska's economy. The primary outcome of framework implementation would be increased retention of high potential individuals. The desired secondary outcomes would be a more knowledgeable workforce and increased cross business collaboration.
    • General Communication, Inc. Project Management Office Reporting for Results Project

      Neill, Donna (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-12-01)
      General Communication Incorporated (GCI) is a project-driven company. As the PMO is established there is a need to document current reporting practices and improve the organizations project management maturity level by standardizing the reporting process and methodology, and determining the foundation to practice continuous improvement within the program management group. Research is needed to document an effective reporting system and implement improvements to the current reporting system with input from GCI team members. The goal of this project is to develop an effective reporting guide that documents current reporting templates and practices, and considers best practices and project management maturity for areas of improvements and more effective reporting.
    • Guidelines and consideration for construction contractors using commodity futures as hedging tools for mitigating construction material pricing risk

      Ivanoff, Ian (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2017-05-01)
      Many would argue that risk management is the single most important element of a construction contractor's business enterprise. A significant risk to a contractor’s profitability is increased costs of construction materials. In many cases construction materials are the largest single component of a construction project budget. Contractors generally utilize contingency funds or contractual price adjustments clauses to address the risk associated with changes in construction material pricing. However, the use of contingency and contractual mechanisms comes at a cost. The additional costs are especially detrimental in construction markets that are competitively bid, because higher bid prices result in winning fewer jobs. An alternative risk mitigation is the use of commodity futures to hedge the risk of increasing construction material prices. A hedge is strategy for limiting losses by holding a portfolio of noncorrelated assets. The research of this study evaluates the application of commodity futures for hedging material pricing risk in the construction industry. Through statistical analysis and simulation studies this research concludes that utilizing commodity futures as a hedging strategy is effective risk mitigation against increased construction material costs. In addition, through a literature review this study explains the fundamentals of the commodity future market, and presents the mechanics of trading commodity futures. A guideline for using commodity futures as a hedging tool is included in this study.
    • Healthcare Utilization Analysis for Housing First Program in Anchorage Alaska

      Becker, Gandy (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-05-01)
      Homelessness, especially for the chronically homeless individual with substance abuse issues, often results in high use of emergency services, depression, loss of hope, increased victimization, poor medical care of chronic conditions, and intense suffering for the individual affected. Proponents of the Housing First model believe that housing is a human right, a need, and should be made available to all for basic human dignity. The primary purpose of this study was to answer the question of whether a Housing First model example in Alaska has impacted healthcare utilization for this specific population. Data on hospital visit numbers and hospital costs were collected from both a tenant and a control sample, for the 2011-2013 period, from three area hospitals. Initial findings indicated there was higher outpatient healthcare service use for the tenant sample after obtaining supportive housing. The control sample also showed statistical significance for an increase in emergency services costs, which was not evident for the tenant sample. Future Housing First programs in Alaska may provide improved healthcare for individual tenants by increasing utilization of outpatient services.
    • Healthy Alaskans 2020 Implementation Pilot

      Allen, Laila (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      Healthy Alaskans (HA), now in its third iteration (HA2020), is Alaska’s Statewide Health Improvement Plan (SHIP). HA2020 consists of an overarching framework of 25 health goals or Leading Health Indicators (LHIs), for the state to track and achieve by the year 2020. These goals have a broad span and were informed by input from over 3,000 Alaska residents. Building upon the 25 LHIs as well as identifying evidence-based strategies to help achieve these goals brought the initiative to its implementation phase. In order to advance the initiative, four individuals (known as Coordinating Partners or CPs) were chosen to coordinate and pilot action strategies for four of the LHIs: socioeconomic status, suicide, tobacco, and domestic violence. Assessing the CP experience will provide the HA2020 Core Team with feedback from its core partners as it moves forward with implementing strategies to improve all 25 Leading Health Indicators. This practicum consisted of interviews with the CPs about their initial experience, from which themes and recommendations were extracted to assist future outreach and implementation efforts. Consistently occurring themes include the need to explicitly explain the role of the Coordinating Partners and the expectations and timeline for success. CPs expressed lack of clarity and divergent understandings about their role and expectations. Another key component of this practicum project was an extensive environmental scan and an online survey to help identify and document community agencies and individuals actively working to achieve the 25 LHIs. The results were compiled in a searchable spreadsheet with individual tabs for each pilot indicator, and shared with the CPs to facilitate outreach.
    • How to Prolong the Career Life of a Practicing Physician: Assessing the Causes and Extent of Physician Burnout in a Primary Care Setting

      Tsigonis, Jean M. W. (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-05-01)
      Physicians report widespread burnout and job dissatisfaction. Institutional and personal changes are necessary for meaningful work and restoration of the joy of the practice of medicine. This practicum project conducted a survey to assess the causes and extent of physician burnout at Tanana Valley Clinic (TVC). The Areas of Worklife Survey-Maslach Burnout Inventory (AWS-MBI) was used to gather data on the causes and extent of physician burnout. Analysis of the AWS-MBI survey data produced by Mind Garden was done by the principal investigator. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) assesses the extent of physician burnout. The Areas of Worklife Survey (AWS) reveals causes of burnout and enables directed interventions to help decrease the physician burnout. The data indicate that burnout does exist in two of the three areas of burnout assessed: emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Specific areas in the worklife were identified that cause burnout: workload, control, fairness and value. Suggestion for future direction includes interventions, analysis of those interventions, and an evaluation plan.
    • Idea to Invention Project Report

      Aicher, Dan (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2014-12-17)
      The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) estimates that 1-3% of patented inventions produce profits for the inventor. The cost of filing and examination for a non-provisional patent can range from $2,000 to $10,000 and beyond. ATC Company understands this uncertainty and will undertake a project to invent a new shelter product and determine its marketability, prior to investing in a non-provisional patent. The Idea to Invention project objective is to apply Project Management principles and develop a process for inventing an idea, measuring the idea’s utility and commercial viability as a product, conducting a patent search and producing a thorough Provisional Patent Application. Specifically, the project will deliver both a product line of ATC’s and a process for establishing first to invent rights to patenting the ATC’s function and method of operation. Unlike most recreational tent products available, ATCs do not require a flat or suitable site for setup; rather, ATCs deliver ultralightweight, highly adaptable weather protection and concealment nearly anywhere in the field.
    • Impacts of Fish Waste Piles in Alaska

      Martich, Tara (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2015-12-01)
      The goal of this practicum project was to complete a meta-analysis and identify the location, size, and impact of fish waste piles on waterbodies in Alaska in one comprehensive report. Data collection for this project included obtaining secondary data from publicly available sources. Alaskan shorebased seafood processing facilities discharge water mixed with fish waste from an outfall(s). Once discharged, buoyant fish waste enters the water column and floats to the surface, while denser fragments sink. Fish waste accumulates on the seafloor and creates fish waste piles. A persistent fish waste pile depletes the oxygen from the water column, smothers benthic invertebrates, alters benthic habitat and creates dead zones, all which lead to changes in the overall ecosystem. As the deposited material breaks down, it produces hydrogen sulfide and ammonia, which may be released into the environment and affect aquatic ecosystem health. Less than fifty percent of the facilities in the data set are in compliance with the requirement to monitor their fish waste piles. At least 115 acres of the Alaska seafloor is covered by fish waste piles and the impacts of these 115 acres are not widely known. The recovery process of benthic communities is typically different than a simple reverse of the pattern observed during its decline. It is unlikely that any benthic community impacted by these fish waste piles will recover to its original state, even if the organic loading ceases.
    • Implementation and Evaluation of a Prescribed Exercise Program Led by a Nurse Practitioner

      Keefer, Leigh Aurora (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-12-01)
      Insufficient physical exercise contributes to many disease processes and increases mortality and morbidity rates worldwide. If the world population were to adhere to recommended levels of physical activity, health outcomes would improve. To that end, clinical practices need to consider exercise interventions to improve patient self-efficacy to adhere to recommended physical activity guidelines. A family nurse practitioner led such an intervention in a primary care clinic in Anchorage, Alaska. It evaluated a prescriptive-exercise program using the Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine. This pilot targeted healthy adults between 18 and 64 years old who were not exercising at least 150 minutes per week. From 20 applicants, eight participants qualified and entered into a 12-week prescribed exercise program. Seven completed the intervention and the subsequent post self-efficacy survey and measurement collection. Measured outcomes were self-efficacy, blood pressure, body mass index and participant’s commitment to follow through with continued exercise. Significant findings from this exercise intervention included (1) increased self-efficacy from “sense of accomplishment”, (2) reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure and (3) indications that participants would continue physical activity level per recommended guidelines. It is conclusive that implementation of a prescription-exercise guideline in clinical practice can improve the population’s self-efficacy to adhere to the recommended levels of physical activity, and lower blood pressure. Meeting adequate physical activity levels mitigates disease development, improves health outcomes and reduces health care system costs.
    • Implementation of Nudges at a Food Pantry in Anchorage, Alaska

      Holland, Kiana (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2020-12-01)
      Food pantry clients experience many health disparities, including elevated incidence of diabetes, heart disease, and other nutrition-related conditions. Nutrition education interventions in the form of a nudge can be an effective method to increase nutrition knowledge and to positively influence nutrition-related behaviors and attitudes surrounding healthful eating. Attitudes refer to the emotions, or beliefs towards something, whereas behaviors are the actions taken. The goal of this project was to develop a nutrition intervention in the form of a nudge to increase the selection of nutritious foods by pantry clients. Objectives included creating a guidebook for the pantry to utilize when implementing the nutrition education materials that were developed in this project. The nutrition education materials include nudges, extended nudges, client handouts, and recipe cards. This intervention will be implemented at the St. Francis House Food Pantry, which is a part of Catholic Social Services in Anchorage, Alaska. This food pantry serves a broad demographic of clients on a monthly basis, in a client-choice distribution model. The intervention includes nudges, extended nudges, client handouts, recipe cards, and a guide binder. These will be reusable so the pantry can utilize the materials repeatedly in the future. There is limited existing research on implementing nudges in the food pantry setting. Therefore, in order to determine the efficacy of implementing a nudge intervention in Anchorage, Alaska food pantries further research is needed.
    • Implementation of Shared Medical Appointments to Address Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Patients With Metabolic Syndrome

      Rife, Jill (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2016-12-01)
      Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which the components – central adiposity, insulin resistance, atherogenic dyslipidemia, and elevated blood pressure - confer increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. A pilot clinical practice improvement project was developed and implemented using shared medical appointments to address cardiovascular disease risk in adult patients at a rural health care clinic on the southern Kenai Peninsula, Alaska who met the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome. Statistically significant improvement in self-reported minutes of exercise was demonstrated for the nominal group of participants. Participants were at least as satisfied or more satisfied with shared medical appointments compared to traditional medical appointments. Limitations aside, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project demonstrated the feasibility of using shared medical appointments to address cardiovascular disease risk in this patient population. There is need for additional research into the “physiology,” or curricular and other structural and procedural elements of shared medical appointments for patients with metabolic syndrome that would afford decreased cardiovascular disease risk. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) project goals were in accordance with the overarching aims of the National Quality Strategy that build on the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim – cost-effective, patient-centered, quality care that improves health.
    • Improving Emergency Airway Care at a Critical Access Hospital

      Mitchell, Kelly (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2020-12-01)
      Emergency airway care is of the highest priority in caring for patients arriving at the emergency department with critical injuries and conditions. Intubation via laryngoscopy is the gold standard for placing an endotracheal tube to manage ventilation. In rural areas, emergency airway care is often the responsibility of non-expert providers who rarely have the opportunity to perform this life-saving procedure. These less experienced providers often take a longer time and make more attempts at endotracheal intubation. Multiple attempts and increased time taken to secure an airway are associated with higher morbidity and mortality. A critical review of the literature supports that video laryngoscopy increases first pass endotracheal intubation success. Video laryngoscopy is associated with faster intubation times and an improved view of glottic structures. This evidence-based quality improvement project implemented training and simulation in the use of video laryngoscopy for non-expert providers. After implementation of this quality improvement project, findings demonstrated an improved confidence with use of video laryngoscopy, increased confidence that video laryngoscopy is associated with improved visualization of glottic area and increased confidence associated with first pass of the endotracheal tube in non-expert providers using laryngoscopy to perform endotracheal intubation.