Alaska Behavioral Health Careers Program (2006)

Beth Landon, MBA, MHA
Janice Troyer, BS

The Alaska Behavioral Health Careers Program was dedicated to increasing and improving the size and quality of Alaska's rural/frontier behavioral  health workforce. Working in partnership with University of Alaska behavioral health academic programs, rural high schools, and community-based organizations, ACRH supported and encouraged disadvantaged students to pursue behavioral health degrees and careers. Major components of the program included:   

  • Raven's Quest Summer Institute, an 8-week program exploring behavioral health careers, which targeted disadvantaged college students with undeclared majors;
  • Peer Mentoring program to support Summer Institute graduates and other students in their academic pursuit of behavioral health degrees; and
  • Recruitment of high school students from rural Alaska into the behavioral field.

The Alaska Behavioral Health Careers Program was funded by the HRSA Bureau of Health Profession's Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) grant. Federal funds for HCOP programs across the country were lost beginning September 2006.

The Raven's Quest Summer Institute program ran for four summers beginning in 2003 and ending in August 2006. The purpose of Raven's Quest was to explore career opportunities in the behavioral health field within Alaska, gain on-the-job experiences with behavioral health professionals in the field, increase knowledge of cultural diversity and sensitivity issues and their impact in the behavioral health field and learn about behavioral health degree programs at the University of Alaska. Students who participated in the program came from across Alaska. The exploratory program included classroom activities, guest  speakers, special workshops and job shadowing. For photos and information from each of the four summers.