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About ICHS

Alaska's Premier Arctic Health Research Institute

Denali mountains

The Mission of the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies is to improve the health of peoples of Alaska and other circumpolar areas through instruction, information services, and basic and applied research in health and medicine.

The Institute advances its mission through four primary functions. These include:

  1. Facilitation of international cooperation among circumpolar nations regarding the research, study, information, and instruction of circumpolar health issues.
  2. Serving as a center for the collection and exchange of medical and health sciences data related to circumpolar health issues
  3. Providing a mechanism of communication and cooperation between the University of Alaska, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services and other health focused entities.
  4. Conducting research and providing instruction consistent with the goals of the University of Alaska.

ICHS Capabilities currently include

  • Policy Analysis
  • Program Evaluation
  • Rural Health Planning
  • Community Health Assessment
  • GIS Analysis for Health Research
  • Population Health Promotion
  • Survey Research
  • International Collaboration

 Leaders in Improving the Health of Northern Populations

ICHS History

In 1988, during the 15th AK Legislature, UA’s statutes were modified by the legislature’s creation of the Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS), which was established in AS 14.40.088

From its inception in July 1988 through September 1994, ICHS had five acting directors or administrators. In September 1994, the Institute’s first permanent director, Dr. John Booker, was appointed. Initially, ICHS’ primary focus was on coordination of exchanges between the Russian Far East and Alaska. Under its permanent director in 1994, ICHS’ stated mission was “[t]o improve the health of the peoples of Alaska and other circumpolar areas through instruction, information services, and basic and applied research in health and medicine.”

 List of Past ICHS Directors

  • Janet Johnston, PhD
    Acting Director Aug. 2017 - present
  • David Driscoll, PhD, MPH, MA                                              Director Aug. 2008 - Aug. 2017
  • Brian Saylor, PhD, MPH                                                              Director March 1998 - June 2007
  • John M. Booker, PhD                                                               Director Sept. 1994 - Feb. 1998
  • Sven Ebbesson, PhD,                                                                Acting Director Sept. 1992 - June 1993
  • Michael Dimino, PhD                                                                 Acting Director Dec. 1991 - Aug. 1992
  • Patricia Longley Cochran                                                         Acting Administrator July 1991 - Nov. 1991 & July 1993 - Aug. 1994
  • Victor Fisher                                                                               Acting Director Jan. 1991 - June 1991
  • Theodore A. Mala, MD                                                                Acting Director  July 1988- Dec. 1990