UA Newsroom: November 2021

By Whalesong Staff

It’s sometimes difficult to keep up on the news. Emails get buried in your inbox and it can be a struggle to stay informed. The following is adapted from press releases and announcements by the UAS and the UA system.

UAS reaccredited for AAS-Health Information Management program

The UAS Associate of Applied Science – Health Information Management Program (AAS-HIM) was successfully reaccredited on Friday, October 22. The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) found that the program met all 26 standards with no need for corrections. There are 362 CAHIIM accredited programs and only 2% of these programs pass with this distinction. The UAS AAS-HIM Program is one of seven programs that has received this result, and is the only Alaska program accredited by CAHIIM.

During the accreditation process, the accreditors assessed the HIM Program by reviewing self-assessments and other documentation such as course proposals, course syllabi, and course assessments used to indicate subject mastery. They also interviewed the HIM Program Director, program faculty, administrators, advisory board members and program students.

Sitka Campus Director Paul Kraft stated, “I’m pleased with the results of the review but not entirely shocked. The exceptional work that is accomplished by the faculty in this program shows our commitment to serving students as our highest priority. It is a credit to our full time, and part time faculty, our health care partners and the staff that support this program. It takes an entire team to produce these results.”

By studying health information, students acquire a versatile yet focused skill set incorporating clinical, information technology, leadership, and management skills. Health information professionals use their knowledge of information technology and records management to form the link between clinicians, administrators, technology designers, and information technology professionals.

Based at the UAS Sitka Campus, the Health Information Management program prepares students for a fast-paced, high-paying, in-demand field. A career as a health information professional offers the chance to blend an interest in medicine with the multifaceted information management challenges of tomorrow. UAS Sitka provides an opportunity to gain knowledge and skills in health information technology, coding, or privacy and security. Courses taken for earning an occupational endorsement or certificate are applicable to the AAS degree.

UAS scholars and colleagues chosen for award

The Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Environmental Knowledge has been selected as the 2021 winner of the Best Geoscience Research Resource Work Award, given by the Geoscience Information Society (GSIS). The award recognizes geoscience research resource works or works focused on information aspects of the geosciences. The textbook was edited by Dr. Tom Thornton, scholar and director of the Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center at the University of Alaska Southeast (UAS), along with Dr. Shonil Bhagwat of the School of Social Sciences and Global Studies at the Open University in the United Kingdom. The award was presented at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting on October 22.

“Shonil and I are humbled to receive this award,” said Thornton. “The Handbook includes some 50 authors, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous academics and practitioners working around the world in nearly every type of environment. The award is a tribute to their contributions and willingness to share their expertise and experience with Indigenous Knowledge to inform cultural-ecological understanding and stewardship.”

This volume provides an overview of key themes in Indigenous Environmental Knowledge (IEK) and anchors them with brief but well-grounded empirical case studies of relevance for each of these themes, drawn from bioculturally diverse areas around the world. It provides an incisive, cutting-edge overview of the conceptual and philosophical issues, while providing constructive examples of how IEK studies have been implemented to beneficial effect in ecological restoration, stewardship, and governance schemes.

Collectively, the chapters in the Routledge Handbook of Indigenous Environmental Knowledge cover Indigenous Knowledge not only in a wide range of cultures and livelihood contexts, but also in a wide range of environments, including drylands, savannah grassland, tropical forests, mountain landscapes, temperate and boreal forests, Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, and coastal environments. The chapters discuss the complexities and nuances of Indigenous cosmologies and ethno-metaphysics and the treatment and incorporation of IEK in local, national, and international environmental policies. Taken together, the chapters in this volume make a strong case for the potential of Indigenous Knowledge in addressing today’s local and global environmental challenges, especially when approached from a perspective of appreciative inquiry, using cross-cultural methods and ethical, collaborative approaches which limit bias and inappropriate extraction of IEK.

The book is a guide for graduate and advanced undergraduate teaching, and a key reference for academics in development studies, environmental studies, geography, anthropology, and beyond, as well as anyone with an interest in Indigenous Environmental Knowledge.

Thornton serves as the director for the UAS Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center. In addition to previously serving as the Dean of Arts and Sciences, he was Associate Professor at the Environmental Change Institute, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, UK. Bhagwat is Professor of Environment and Development, and Head of the School of Social Sciences and Global Studies at the Open University, UK. His research focuses on the links between environment and development in the context of global challenges.

The book is available on the Routledge website. Learn more about indigenous knowledge and Alaska Native Studies at the University of Alaska Southeast or call and speak with an advisor at (907) 796-6000.

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