YKHC is the principal healthcare organization serving the residents of Alaska’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region.
YKHC partnered with architectural firms to initiate design concepts to build a 130,000 sq. ft. primary care clinic in Bethel and a major renovation of the 1980s-era YKDRH—an expansion project that would accommodate the vision of a cultural-based patient-centered model of care focusing on the wellness of the whole person. In imagining a new facility and a better system of care, board and administrative leadership stipulated three guiding principles: the project would represent our culture and identity, promote customer-centered care, and be affordable in cost and sustainable in operations.
In order to represent the culture of the region in both the service model and the facility, the Board and Administrative Leadership turned to the teachings of the late Paul John, founding YKHC board member, story-teller and teacher. He authored several books recounting stories and experiences of a traditional way of life that still existed in his youth. The wisdom of elders still familiar with Native family values had also inspired YKHC’s Behavioral Health Preventative Services to adopt the Yup’ik teachings of healthy families and communities—Calricaraq: Living in Ultimate Purity.