• 2009 Alaska Health Workforce Vacancy Study

      Landon, Beth; Doucette, Sanna; Frazier, Rosyland; Wilson, Meghan; Silver, Darla; Hill, Alexandra; Sanders, Kate; Sharp, Suzanne; Johnson, Kristin; DeRoche, Patricia; et al. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-12)
      Alaska continues to experience health professional shortages. The state has long had a deficient “supply side” characterized by insufficient numbers of key health workers whose recruitment, retention, and training have been impeded by Alaska’s remoteness, harsh climate, rural isolation, low population density, and scarce training resources. Alaska is the only state without a pharmacy school and lacks its own dental and physical therapy schools as well. Health professional shortages can be decreased through the start of new training programs, the expansion of existing programs, and the improvement of the effectiveness of recruitment and retention efforts. However, strategic planning and the execution of such programs require valid and accurate data. To this end, stakeholders such as the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (AMHTA) and Alaskan's For Access to Health Care (ACCESS), along with schools and departments within the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), funded the Alaska Center for Rural Health-Alaska’s AHEC (ACRH) and the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) to conduct a comprehensive health workforce study during winter and spring of 2009. This report highlights employers’ needs for employees to fill budgeted positions. This is different from a needs assessment that would take into account population demographics and disease incidence and prevalence. This health workforce study is an assessment of health manpower shortage based on budgeted staff positions and their vacancies in organizations throughout the state. Respondents included part-time positions, which resulted in our counting full-time equivalent (FTE) rather than individuals (“bodies”). In situations where a position was divided among more than one occupation (e.g., Dental Assistant and Billing Clerk), we asked the respondent to count the position under which they considered the position’s “primary occupation.” This was a point-in-time cross-sectional study. Recently filled vacancies or imminent vacancies were not counted. Positions filled by relief/temporary/locum/contract health workers were counted as vacancies only if these workers were temporarily filling a currently vacant, budgeted position. Due to budget and time constraints, we were not able to conduct a trend analysis that is a comparison of this study’s findings and the prior 2007 study. The key questions this study sought to answer were (1) How many budgeted positions, either full- or part-time, existed in organizations providing health services in Alaska? (2) How many of these budgeted positions were currently vacant? (3) What was the vacancy rate? (4) How many of the organizations that employ these occupations hired new graduates of training programs? (5) How many of the currently vacant budgeted positions (#2) could be filled by new graduates of training programs? (6) What were the mean and maximum length of time, expressed in months, that the vacancies have existed? (7) What were the principal, underlying causes of vacancies? The study was designed in consultation with an advisory group that included AMHTA, ACCESS, and UAA. The study targeted 93 health occupations. The unit of analysis was the employment site by organization type, which allowed for the allocation of positions and vacancies by geographic region. For each employer, we identified the staff person most knowledgeable about hiring and vacancies. In large organizations this meant that one employer might provide information about multiple sites and organization types; smaller employers were responsible for only a single site.
    • Alaska Election Security Report - Phase 1

      Mock, Kenrick; Martin, Stephanie; Picard, LuAnn; Ayers, Mark; Hoffman, David (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
      Alaska voters depend on a chain of people and equipment to keep their votes secure—to count and report the votes accurately and protect the secrecy of individual ballots. How secure is Alaska’s voting system? That’s what Alaska’s lieutenant governor and the Division of Elections asked the University of Alaska Anchorage to find out. We’re reporting here on the first phase of what will be a multi-phase study of Alaska’s election security. The last phase will be completed before the 2008 presidential election. What we found so far is in many ways reassuring: Alaska’s system has a number of features that address security. Paper ballots remain the official ballots, and they back up electronic counts. Vote counts are cross-checked in different locations. Alaska also has a centralized system for federal and state elections. In this first phase of the project, we did several tasks: • Examined Alaska’s voting system, including equipment and procedures. • Did detailed reviews of election-security studies for California and Florida and interviewed researchers who conducted those studies. • Identified areas of Alaska’s system that need more evaluation.
    • Alaska Election Security Report, Phase 2, Executive Summary

      Martin, Stephanie; Picard, LuAnn; Ayers, Mark; Hoffman, David B.; Mock, Kenrick (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-04)
      A laska’s election system is among the most secure in the country, and it has a number of safeguards other states are now adopting. But the technology Alaska uses to record and count votes could be improved— and the state’s huge size, limited road system, and scattered communities also create special challenges for insuring the integrity of the vote. In this second phase of an ongoing study of Alaska’s election security, we recommend ways of strengthening the system—not only the technology but also the election procedures. The lieutenant governor and the Division of Elections asked the University of Alaska Anchorage to do this evaluation, which began in September 2007.
    • Alaska Felony Process: 1999

      Carns, Teresa White; Cohn, Larry; Mason Dosik, Susie; Berman, Matthew; Martin, Stephanie; McKelvie, Susan (Alaska Judicial Council, 2004)
      The Alaska Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Fairness and Access recommended that the state assess the relationships between defendants' ethnicities and their treatment by the criminal justice system. At the time of the request, the disproportionate numbers of ethnic minorities at all points in Alaska's criminal justice system were well-known. The main purpose of this work was to identify whether. those disproportions resulted from unjustifiable reasons and amounted to discrimination. Another purpose was to identify other unwarranted disparities, if they existed, based on the defendant's gender, the defendant's type of attorney, the location of the defendant's case, or other inappropriate characteristics. A third purpose was to update descriptive data about the criminal justice system. The Judicial Council collected and examined data from Alaska felony cases from 1999, beginning from the time formal charges were filed through case dispositions by way of dismissal, acquittal, or sentencing. At the time charges were initially filed, the Alaska felony defendants in these cases included disproportionally large numbers of young males, Alaska Natives, and Blacks. The report showed that, after charges were filed, justice for felony defendants in Alaska was, in many respects, substantially equal....In the area of non-presumptive sentencing, sentences were uniformly imposed among ethnic groups in all but Drug offenses. The disparity in this category was limited to Blacks in Anchorage and to Natives outside Anchorage. Matt Berman and Stephanie Martin at the UAA Institute for Social and Economic Research contributed the multivariate analyses used in this report.
    • ANILCA and the Seward Economy

      Goldsmith, Scott; Martin, Stephanie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2001)
      The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA) established the Kenai Fjords National Park and the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on the doorstep of Seward, a small community on Resurrection Bay in the Kenai Peninsula of south central Alaska. The community originally opposed both, primarily because citizens felt they would preclude economic development through restrictions on the use of the natural resources of the region. In the first decade after statehood, Seward had lost a large share of its economic base virtually overnight as a result of the Good Friday earthquake in 1964. It struggled through the rest of the decade, but was never able to recover its role as the transportation gateway into south central Alaska, which shifted to the port at Anchorage. In the 1970s growth in the seafood and timber industries, the pipeline construction boom, and state government spending combined to help the economy grow. Still, Seward never was a partner in the oil and gas development that stimulated growth in the western half of the Kenai Peninsula, and market driven fluctuations in both the seafood and timber industries were a continuing source of economic instability. As a result when ANILCA became law, Seward residents saw it as another obstacle to development rather than an opportunity. In fact since ANILCA the Seward economy has expanded and strengthened. Annual average employment has increased at a rate of 3.7 percent per year. The economy hasbecome less dependent on the unstable harvesting and processing of seafood and timber. Through the 1980s the seafood and timber industries did expand, but their economic contributions to the community have fallen in the 1990s. The opening of a state prison in 1988 added another source of stable employment and income. Most of the economic growth, particularly since 1990, has been driven by the visitor industry. Although there is no direct way to track this industry, employment in trade, services, and transportation—the sectors that provide the most visitor-related jobs—grew at an annual rate of 5.9 percent. Retail sales from summer visitors have grown at an 9.9 percent annual rate (inflation adjusted) since 1987.
    • Benefits of Alaska Native Corporations and the SBA 8(a) Program to Alaska Natives and Alaska

      Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage; Haley, Sharman; Fay, Ginny; Ainsworth, Joel; Angvik, Jane; Hill, Alexandra; Martin, Stephanie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-07-07)
      Senator Begich’s office asked ISER for assistance assembling information to document the social and economic status of Alaska Natives and the benefits of the 8(a) program. His purpose is to brief Missouri Senator McCaskill and her committee which is reviewing the status of ANC contracts awarded under SBA’s 8(a) program. This review was triggered by a 2006 GAO report recommending increased SBA oversight to 8(a) contracting activity. Highlights of the GAO report are provided in Tab A.1; a letter dated May 15, 2009, from Senators Begich and Murkowski to Sentaor McCaskill, outlining their concerns is provided in Tab A.2. As the Congressional Research Service report (Tab A.3) explains, the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program targeting socially and economically disadvantaged individuals was operating under executive authority from about 1970, and under statutory authority starting in 1978. A series of amendments from 1986 to 1992 recognized Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) as socially and economically disadvantaged for purposes of program eligibility, exempted them from limitations on the number of qualifying subsidiaries, from some restrictions on size and minimum time in business, and from the ceiling on amounts for sole-source contracts. Between 1988 and 2005, the number of 8(a) qualified ANC subsidiaries grew from one to 154 subsidiaries owned by 49 ANCs. The dollar amount of 8(a) contracts to ANCs grew from $265 million in FY 2000 to $1.1 billion in 2004, approximately 80 percent of which was in sole-source contracts. (GAO Highlights, Tab A.1) The remainder of this briefing book is divided in three sections. Section 2 addresses changes in the social and economic status of Alaska Natives from 1970--the year before the enactment of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and the subsequent creation of the ANCs--to the present. ISER’s report on the “Status of Alaska Natives 2004” (Tab B.1) finds that despite really significant improvements in social and economic conditions among Alaska Natives, they still lag well behind other Alaskans in employment, income, education, health status and living conditions. A collection of more recent analyses updates the social and economic indicators to 2008. There were many concurrent changes throughout this dynamic period of Alaska’s history and we cannot attribute all the improvements to the ANCs, though it is clear that they play an important catalyst role. In the final part of section 2 we attempt to provide some historical context for understanding the role ANCs have played in improving the well-being of Alaska Natives. Section C. documents the growth in ANCs and their contributions to Alaska Native employment, income, social and cultural programs and wellbeing, and their major contributions to the Alaska economy and society overall. Section D. Looks specifically at the 8(a) program. Although there are a handful of 8(a) firms with large federal contracts, the majority are small, village-based corporations engaged in enterprise development in very challenging conditions. A collection of six case studies illustrate the barriers to business development these small firms face and the critical leverage that 8(a) contracting offers them.
    • The Changing Economic Status of Alaska Natives, 1970-2007

      Martin, Stephanie; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-07)
      Forty years ago—when the discovery of North Slope oil was about to transform Alaska’s economy— Alaska Natives had among the lowest income, employment, and education levels in the U.S. Today their economic conditions are better, but they still fall considerably below averages among other Alaskans and other Americans. This note first reports how current economic conditions among Alaska Natives compare with U.S. averages, and then looks at changes since 1970 in poverty, employment, income, and education levels among Alaska Natives. We relied mainly on data from federal censuses in 1970, 1980, 1990, and 2000 and from the annual American Community Survey for 2005 to 2007. We also used the most recent population estimates from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.1
    • The Cost of Crime: Could The State Reduce Future Crime and Save Money by Expanding Education and Treatment Programs ?

      Martin, Stephanie; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2009-01)
      Alaska’s prison population is among the fastest-growing in the U.S., with five times more inmates in 2007 than in 1981. Spending for the state justice system has nearly doubled since 1981—but the crime rate has dropped only about 30%. Here’s the dilemma for the state, given the pattern shown in Figure 1: what can it do to hold down the number of inmates and stem the rising costs—while at the same time keeping the public safe and using tax dollars effectively? Senator Hollis French asked ISER to project growth in the number of Alaska inmates and the associated costs—and then evaluate whether the state could reduce that growth by expanding intervention and prevention programs for people already in prison or at risk of ending up there. Alaska currently spends about $17 million a year for such programs, but they aren’t available to many of those who might benefit from them.
    • Does the YLS/CMI help to predict recidivism?

      Carns, Teresa W.; Martin, Stephanie (Alaska Judicial Council, 2012-08)
      In June, 2010, the Alaska Division of Juvenile Justice (Division) invited the Alaska Judicial Council and the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at University of Alaska Anchorage to assist “in understanding how scores on the Division’s assessment instrument for juveniles, the Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS/CMI), reflect the actual recidivism of juveniles who’ve received services from the Division.” Other states had shown that YLS/CMI scores could be helpful in predicting recidivism among the youths they served, but Alaska had not yet done the comparable research. ISER and the Council agreed that the questions proposed would provide valuable information and help the Division to better address the reasons for youth recidivism.
    • Economic Development Performance Indicators: 3 Briefing Papers

      Howe, Lance; Leask, Linda; Martin, Stephanie (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2004)
      Recent federal legislation established an economic development committee and 12 regional advisory committees with the Denali Commission. To measure the success of the programs established under these committees, performance indicators and measures are required. This report reviews and inventories exisiting performance measure for rural Alaska as the foundation of a study for new measures.
    • Effectiveness and Fiscal Impact of Homeward Bound

      Haley, Sharman; Killorin, Mary; Hensley, Priscilla; Hill, Alexandra; Martin, Stephanie; Wiita, Amy Lynn; Ungadruk, Ben (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2001)
      The Rural Alaska Community Action Program and the Homeward Bound program contracted with ISER to evaluate Homeward Bound, which began in February 1997. This analysis is based on limited data and a small sample - 33 Homeward Bound clients and 35 people who were referred to the program but did not enter. We found a wide variation in how often people use services and which services they use - and the small sample and wide variation limit the ability of statistics to say whether apparent difference are real of chance variations....There are only an estimate 300 chronic, homeless alcoholics in Anchorage (defined as people who have been picked up by the Community Service Patrol at least 30 time in one year). But they're expensive to the community - because they so frequently use state and city rescue and protection services, emergency medical care, and alcohol treatment facilities, among other things. This report finds that the clients of the Homeward Bound program cost the justice system less, use some city services less frequently, and are less likely to need advanced life support services when an ambulance is required.
    • Evaluation of the Alaska Interagency Aviation Safety Initiative

      Berman, Matthew; Martin, Stephanie; Hill, Alexandra (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2005)
      Aviation crashes are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in Alaska. From 1990 through 1999, aviation crashes in Alaska caused 106 work-related pilot deaths. This rate is nearly five times the rate for U.S. pilots as a whole.1 In 2000, Congress passed legislation aimed at reducing the number of occupational aviation fatalities in Alaska by 50 percent for the years 2000 through 2009. This legislation created an interagency initiative—the Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative—to improve safety in Alaska through the combined efforts of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), the NOAAs National Weather Service (NWS), and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). The final Initiative tasks require the agencies to evaluate the programs created to promote aviation safety in Alaska. To that end, NIOSH contracted with the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA). The following report looks at programs, infrastructure changes, accidents and accident rates between 1997 and 2004. It addresses the following questions: • Has flying become safer in Alaska? • Which types of flying (e.g., general aviation, commuter vs. air taxi flights) are the most risky, and which have shown changes in safety? • Where in Alaska is it most risky to fly? Has this changed? • To what extent can the data show that specific programs are associated with improved safety?
    • Evaluation of the Outcomes in Three Therapeutic Courts

      Carns, Teresa White; McKelvie, Susan; Miller, Jenny; Marrs, Emily R.; Atwell, Cassie; Martin, Stephanie (Alaska Judicial Council, 2005)
      The legislature asked for this report when it created the Anchorage Felony DUI Court and the Bethel Therapeutic Court. The Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Behavioral Health, funded the evaluation at the request of the governor. Thus it is a report that exemplifies inter-branch collaboration on an important policy issue in the criminal justice system.
    • FAA Capstone Program: Phase II Baseline Report (Southeast Alaska)

      Berman, Matthew; Daniels, Wayne; Brian, Jerry; Hill, Alexandra; Kirk, Leonard; Martin, Stephanie; Seger, Jason; Wiita, Amy (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2003)
      This report provides the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with information on air safety and aviation infrastructure in southeast Alaska as of December 31, 2002. The data will establish a baseline to enable the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) to conduct an independent evaluation of how the Capstone program affects aviation safety in the region. The FAA contracted with UAA’s Institute of Social and Economic Research and Aviation Technology Division to do a variety of training and evaluation tasks related to the Capstone program. The program is a joint effort of industry and the FAA to improve aviation safety and efficiency in select regions of Alaska, through government-furnished avionics equipment and improvements in ground infrastructure.
    • Fuel Costs, Migration, and Community Viability

      Martin, Stephanie; Killorin, Mary; Colt, Steve (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-05)
      ISER researchers compiled and reviewed existing studies and data sources relating to the economic and social viability of remote rural Alaska communities. We particularly looked for possible linkages between high fuel costs and migration. Our review indicates the following: (1) migration from smaller places toward larger places is an ongoing phenomenon that is more noticeable when birth rates drop; (2) there is no systematic empirical evidence that fuel prices, by themselves, have been a definitive cause of migration; (3) the pursuit of economic and educational opportunities appears to be a predominant cause of migration; (4) however, currently available survey data are not sufficient to definitively determine other reasons for migration, which could include concerns about public safety and/or alcohol abuse; 5) most of the survey data pre-date the latest rapid increase (2006-2008) in fuel prices. We suggest several ways that better data could be collected on community viability and the reasons for migration.
    • Recreation and Tourism in South-Central Alaska: Patterns and Prospects prepared for the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Station

      Tomeo, Martha; Colt, Steve; Martin, Stephanie; Mieren, Jenna (U.S. Department of Agriculture (Forest Service) - Pacific Northwest Research Station, 2002)
      Based on data from various sources, this report describes the extent and nature of recreation and tourism in south-central Alaska. Current activities, past trends, and prospective developments are presented. Particular attention is given to activities that occur on, or are directly affected by management of, the Chugach National Forest. Recreation and tourism in and around the forest are also placed in a larger context. The Chugach National Forest is heavily used as a scenic resource by motorists and waterborne passengers; road access to the forest supports recreation activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Although the annual rate of increase in visitors to south-central Alaska seems to have slowed in the late 1990s, evidence indicates that currently both visitors and Alaska residents are increasingly seeking active forms of recreation and ?soft adventure.? These demands, combined with likely capacity constraints at well-known attractions in Alaska and entrepreneurial efforts to provide short-duration recreation and tourism experiences, may lead to increasing use of the Chugach National Forest.
    • State of Alaska Election Security Project Phase 2 Report

      Martin, Stephanie; Picard, LuAnn; Ayers, Mark; Hoffman, David B.; Mock, Kenrick (University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-05)
      A laska’s election system is among the most secure in the country, and it has a number of safeguards other states are now adopting. But the technology Alaska uses to record and count votes could be improved— and the state’s huge size, limited road system, and scattered communities also create special challenges for insuring the integrity of the vote. In this second phase of an ongoing study of Alaska’s election security, we recommend ways of strengthening the system—not only the technology but also the election procedures. The lieutenant governor and the Division of Elections asked the University of Alaska Anchorage to do this evaluation, which began in September 2007.
    • Survey of Living Conditions In The Arctic: What Did We Learn?

      Duhaime, Gerard; Jack, Kruse; Poppel, Birger; Abryutina, Larissa; Hanna, Virgene; Martin, Stephanie; Poppel, Marie Katherine; Ward, Ed; Kruse, Marg; Cochran, Patricia; et al. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2007)
      In countries around the Arctic, tens of thousands of Iñupiat, Inuit, and other indigenous peoples live in small, isolated communities where jobs are scarce, incomes are low, and life is not easy. Yet many—including large majorities in Canada, Northern Alaska, and Greenland—are satisfied with life in their communities. That was the puzzle researchers from Statistics Greenland faced in 1994, when they studied living conditions and found that common measures of well-being—like levels of employment—didn’t explain why so many of Greenland’s Inuit chose to stay in their communities. About 7,250 Inuit, Iñupiat, and other indigenous peoples were interviewed in Greenland, Northern Alaska, the Chukotka region of Russia, and the Inuit settlement areas of Canada. The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) conducted the survey in Alaska. This publication describes the survey and introduces the wealth of new information now available on the lives of the Arctic’s first people, measured in ways they themselves chose. Also printed in Valerie Moller, Denis Huschka and Alex Michalos (eds). Barometers of Quality of Life Around the Globe: How Are We Doing? New York: Springer Verlag, 107-134.
    • Trends in Alaska's People and Economy

      Martin, Stephanie; Killorin, Mary; Leask, Linda (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska., 2001)
      This 16 page document outlines expected trends for Alaska's people and economy between 2001 and 2020. It was prepared for the Alaska Humanities Forum in October 2001 under the theme of "Alaska 20/20 Partnership - Bringing Alaskans Together to Chart Our Future".
    • Youth in Crisis Characteristics of Homeless Youth Served by Covenant House Alaska

      Martin, Stephanie; Meléndez, Alejandra Villalobos (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2010-03-03)
      This research is the result of a partnership between Covenant House Alaska and the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, as part of a national effort, initiated by Covenant House Institute, to create partnerships between Covenant House service providers and academic institutions. This report documents trends in use of Crisis Center at Covenant House Alaska and the characteristics of its clients. Use of Crisis Center, measured by visits and length of stay, has been increasing since 2003. The number of youth coming to Covenant House Crisis Center from outside of Anchorage is increasing, as is the number Alaska Natives served by Covenant House. Data indicate that many after aging out of foster care, many youth end up at Covenant House. Similarly many who receive mental health care outside of the state, return to Alaska and end up at Crisis Center. Few have high school diplomas or GED and three out of four are unemployed.