Hundreds of healthcare professionals are in Anchorage for a two-day conference to learn as much as they can about Southcentral Foundation's Nuka Care System.

"The Nuka System is about tailoring medical care through relationships and to understanding the context that people are living," said Dr. Eric Green, the director of the National Genome Research Institute. "There's a lot of convergence in the philosophy of individualizing care, to better take care of people and keep them healthy."

Dr. Green is one of the keynote speakers for the conference and will be discussing the history of research done in the past three decades on genomics and DNA.

"We have gone from knowing very little about all of the elements in our blueprint to doing the human genome project from 1990 to 2003, reading out all the letters of our DNA," Dr. Green said. "We learned [what] changes might increase health and how we can use information about individuals and their unique DNA makeup... to tailor their medical care, what medications they get, what diseases they need to be on the lookout for and when they get ill, using DNA information to better tailor their treatment."

This conference's theme this year: "Relationship-Based Care" and professionals are hoping to learn how to implement new practices into their own health care programs. Cheryl Hankard is a nurse who's dedicated the past 20 years to the development of culturally specific health care programs.

"Our history is that we have had to take on the culture of another group of people," Hankard said. "So being able to learn our own culture and being able to connect with that gives us hope, meaning, purpose and belonging. That's what is really important for any individual to have wellness."

Hankard is the keynote speaker Friday afternoon. To learn more about the schedule of events, go to Southcentral Foundation's website.

The Nuka System of Care Conference

  • Thursday, June 21 - Friday, June 22
  • Southcentral Foundation Alaska Native Health Campus
  • Nuka Learning and Wellness Center
  • 4085 Tudor Centre Drive

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