Kathy Murray, MLS
Carl Hild, MS
The Arctic Health website is a central source of health information relevant to Alaska Natives and other indigenous peoples of the Arctic. Its goal is to improve access to evaluated health information, including information not typically available through academic or agency sources. The website focuses on environmental health, health disparities, telehealth, traditional healing, and a variety of other health and wellness topics important to Alaska Natives, other Alaskans, and arctic peoples around the North. The website provides access to research reports, books and journal articles, education and training resources, outreach activities, and links to other websites. It is sponsored by the National Library of Medicine, and produced by the University of Alaska Anchorage.
A users council comprised of health information and health care consumers, health care providers, educators, and administrators provides direction and validation for the continued development of the website. An advisory group of Alaska Native elders and traditional healers has also been established to ensure that the traditional healing information provided on the website accurately reflects the needs and desires of Alaska Natives and traditional healers.
The website "went live" in July 2003 and has had an average of 3,568 visits per month. A program of ongoing usability testing is being used to determine how well the website is achieving its goals of accessibility and ease of use. To date, usability has been evaluated with attendees at the 2002 Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, students at UAA's Native Student Services, and clients at Southcentral Foundation's Health Information Center. Future plans include working with physicians at the Alaska Native Medical Center and with researchers and policymakers at an upcoming telehealth conference.