Palliative Care Network Alaska

About Us

Collaboration     •     Education     •     Advocacy

Who we are

Palliative Care Alaska Network

PCAN board members stem from all disciplines and institutions across the state. Our diverse background adds depth and prepares us to meet the palliative care needs of our community. Our goal is to improve the quality of health care provided to all Alaskans.

Palliative Care Alaska Network is a 501c3, non-profit public charity, established in 2015. Our mission is to support palliative care through collaboration and education to empower a dynamic network of individuals, agencies, and communities to share tools and resources across Alaska.

What we do

Palliative Care Alaska Network

Collaborate. Educate. Advocate. We embrace our mission and vision by hosting events throughout the year that support professionals and community members in their efforts to grow palliative care. We offer ongoing educational opportunities to build skills and knowledge, including our annual CE symposium.

Since 2017, PCAN has offered an annual all-day event comprising many educational and networking opportunities. We bring together hundreds of participants throughout Alaska to serve a unified mission of improving palliative care services.

Our history

Palliative Care Alaska Network

The Palliative Care Alaska Network assembled in 2015. The founding members attended a palliative care workshop and recognized there was no comprehensive framework for palliative care in Alaska. They arrived from various backgrounds (nurses, social workers, physicians) and from diverse environments and institutions. Inspired by their shared purpose, the group strives to strengthen palliative care services and partnerships between communities and programs across the state of Alaska.

As time went on, the leadership team expanded. In 2019, PCAN received 501c3 status to enable us to serve our mission, vision, and goal to improve the quality of health care and the quality of life for all Alaskans.


Mission: Support palliative care through collaboration and education to empower a comprehensive and dynamic network of individuals, agencies, and communities to share tools and resources throughout Alaska.


Vision: Create an empowered, comprehensive, and dynamic network of individuals and communities that share tools and resources necessary to access, develop, and achieve the highest quality palliative care services throughout the State of Alaska.

Achievements

Palliative Care Alaska Network

2015: Distributed state-wide survey to identify community needs and interests. It established who was providing palliative care in Alaskan communities and what service structure was being implemented. It identified advance care planning and education as palliative care topics of interest in Alaska.


2017: Developed and hosted an annual Palliative Care Symposium every October that draws participants from all over the state. Successful events bring a large number of practitioners from across the state and provide continued education credit to attendees.

2017 Symposium “The New Face of Hope”
2018 Symposium “The Many Faces of Palliative Care”
2019 Symposium “Stronger Together: Palliative Care in the Last Frontier”
2020 Symposium “Living Well in a Time of Uncertainty”
2021 TBD


2015-2018: Created and disseminated a quarterly newsletter which provided information about programs across the state, education opportunities, supportive resources, and career advancements in Alaska.

2016-2018: Hosted statewide gatherings for interested community members. Each meeting tackled a palliative care topic, including a didactic and opportunities to collaborate as a team.

Future goals:
• Growth of a palliative care network
• Development of educational tools and workshops for professionals and community members across the state
• Establish website and social media presence
• Continue to network and connect palliative care to all of Alaska

Our board

Palliative Care Alaska Network

President

Bianca Ranch

Bianca Ranch

2019-2022

President

Bianca’s background is in hospital and hospice chaplaincy and the arts.  She is a board certified chaplain working, at present, for Providence Hospice in Anchorage but she has served worked at an Allentown, PA, trauma center, with Children’s Memorial and Grant Hospitals in Chicago, and with Burlingon Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin before this.  She has degrees from The Pennsylvania State University and the Chicago Theological Seminary as well as classwork from The Art Institute of Chicago and The University of Chicago.  

“As a chaplain, I have worked in palliative care for many years, even before it was “official” in Alaska, in that I helped patients/families mitigate and ameliorate their more challenging health care events. Pain is more than physical, so there is much a chaplain—or any compassionate human being—can do to “companion” another in their hour of need. I try to listen carefully and accompany a person on their journey rather than trying to guide that journey myself. “  
Serving with PCAN has been a way for me to give back to our community, local and statewide.

Palliative Care Alaska Network
Palliative Care Alaska Network

Vice President

Aimee Young

2019-2022

Vice President

Commander Aimee Young is an Officer for the Public Health Service and a clinical pharmacist responsible for managing the inpatient pain service at the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC) in Anchorage, Alaska. The pain service is a multi-disciplinary consulting service that manages non-labor epidurals, peripheral nerve catheters, ketamine infusions for pain, and complicated pain cases. CDR Young is on the specialist team for ANMC’s Palliative Care Project ECHO clinic. Recently she was selected for a second ECHO clinic in collaboration with the University of Alaska Anchorage, state of Alaska, Providence HealthCare and Alaska Native Medical Center focusing on Pain and Opioid Management. 

She is the first clinician in the state of Alaska to obtain the Certified Pain Educator credential, and is an invited lecturer for numerous organizations including Alaska Pharmacists Association and University of Alaska Anchorage. She has completed ASHPs Pain and Palliative Care Traineeship as well as written and implemented policies associated with pain. Her focus over the past 13 years of Federal service is on improving patient satisfaction, safety, and wellbeing of the Native American population. CDR Young represented the PHS Pharmacy category through her position as the Chair of the PharmPAC from 2017-2018. CDR Young and her husband Jason recently celebrated 11 years of marriage and have two sons, Kenneth (11) and Cameron (8). They enjoy all kinds of Alaska activities including skiing, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting and berry picking.

Palliative Care Alaska Network
Palliative Care Alaska Network

Secretary

Beth Hesse

Beth Hesse

2020-2023

Secretary

Beth Hesse BSN RN CCRN CHPN is a registered nurse. A proud member of the Palliative Care Alaska Network since 2020 and now acting secretary. She has specialized training in critical care as well as palliative and hospice nursing in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Her passion is education and empowerment of health care providers to improve patient outcomes and quality of life. She is dedicated to changing the culture of care provided to all patients and their families across Alaska.

She has been awarded March of Dimes Nurse of the Year, 2018, for her work in palliative care. She is a multi-time recipient of the Daisy Award for excellent nursing. She has developed and implemented a nurse-driven palliative care consultative service to patients and their families within the critical care unit. She is pursing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree with hopes of implementing palliative care state-wide. Born in sunny California, she now embraces the cold and calls Anchorage home. She is obsessed with dogs and enjoys being outdoors and playing music.

Palliative Care Alaska Network
Palliative Care Alaska Network

Treasurer

Palliative care alaska network

Beth Hesse

2020-2023

Treasurer

This board seat is currently vacant. New elections in 2021 will update this position.

Board Members

Julie StaydenJulie Stayden has her degree in Human Services and is a board member for the Palliative Care Alaska Network (PCAN). She is an Indian Health Services (IHS) Cancer Leadership Counselor, a three-time Living Our Values Award (LOV) recipient from Southcentral Foundation and is a Master Trainer of Living Well Alaska Chronic Disease Stanford University’s Self-Management program. She has been with Southcentral Foundation for nineteen years, seven of which she has worked as a Health Educator where she advocates for preventing cancer through screening and education. 

She developed the Power of HOPE cancer education and support group for those going though cancer or caregivers needing support. Her role includes travel to Alaska rural communities to work alongside subregional clinics where she strives to build long lasting relationships with community leaders. She works closely with tribal partners to coordinate a comprehensive public health response to reduce cancer health disparities. She has a passion for helping people with chronic illnesses learn ways to self-manage their condition and take charge of their life. Julie is committed to promoting a quality of life, health, and well-being of individuals living with chronic illnesses. She partners with and helps coordinates various programs in the state which has given her the opportunity to connect deeply with her community. Her work includes partnering with the American Cancer Society, Comprehensive Cancer Control, DHSS/DPH/Chronic Disease Prevention Health Promotion, and the Alaska Native Tribal Consortium.

In her personal life, Julie is a certified Health Coach, Yoga instructor and Tai Chi Master instructor. She cherishes her Alaskan lifestyle of mountain roaring and foraging with her 3 Dachshunds, growing her own sustainable garden in the midnight sun, and traveling the world meeting people and experiencing another culture.


Sharon Lija Sharon Lilja, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker currently working as a hospice medical social worker for Providence Hospice. After graduating with a Generalist Degree Masters of Social Work from UAA Anchorage School of Social Work, Sharon began her social work career as Program Director for the Saxton Youth Shelter working with at-risk youth and their families. She was charged with managing the multiple grants for the program, training, hiring and overseeing staff, and providing clinical interventions with youth including family mediation.

A career with the State of Alaska, Office of Children and Families (OCS), started soon after. Sharon started as a front-line social worker investigating child abuse in Anchorage and testifying in court while working toward family reunification. She was promoted to a supervisory position shortly before being hired as the OCS’ South-central Administrative Reviewer responsible for facilitating monthly family teleconferences to ensure quality assurance and federal and state compliance while promoting permanency for children and ensuring everyone involved had a chance to be heard. Within a few years, South-central Regional Adoption Specialist was added to her responsibilities resulting in hundreds of adoptions while training staff and contractors in home study writing. After retiring from the State of Alaska, Sharon became the Director of Adoption Services for Catholic Social Services (CSS) supervising and hiring staff as well as training staff and contractors in writing home studies and matching children and families while overseeing multiple grants. Within a year, the program was able to contribute financially to support other CSS programs. Before joining Providence Hospice, Sharon worked as an Assistant Director and Clinician providing therapy to seriously emotionally disturbed children and their families. Since starting at Providence Hospice seven years ago, Sharon received her clinical license (LCSW) and training as pediatric hospice specialist. Sharon has a love of dogs, especially collies, which occupies most of her spare time while living in Big Lake, Alaska. A passion for those less fortunate has been at the forefront of Sharon’s career in social work and will continue to be a passion moving forward as a PCAN board member with a special interest in reaching out to social worker’s across the state of Alaska.

In her personal life, Julie is a certified Health Coach, Yoga instructor and Tai Chi Master instructor. She cherishes her Alaskan lifestyle of mountain roaring and foraging with her 3 Dachshunds, growing her own sustainable garden in the midnight sun, and traveling the world meeting people and experiencing another culture.


Amy Tribbett

 

Amy Tribbett, APR, is a health care marketing and operations professional with a huge heart and passion for hospice and palliative care. She serves as the Executive Director at Hospice of Anchorage. Before calling Alaska home, Amy was the Director of Marketing and Access for a nonprofit hospice and palliative care agency in northern Indiana.

Not only did she work to change the perception of hospice care in her local community, but she also advocated for the Hospice Medicare Benefit on Capitol Hill. Amy served on the board of the Indiana Hospice Veterans Partnership, a collaboration between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) and the Veterans Administration.

Pat Dooley

Pat Dooley, an RN since 1989, has had a career-long interest in pain management and end-of-life care. She has worked in a variety of care settings in Anchorage over the past 30 years, primarily Long Term Care, Home Health Care, and Hospice. She maintained a Certification in Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing from 2004 – 2019 and voluntarily developed and taught a CHPN Review course (in partnership with the State of Alaska Cancer Partnership) for a number of years.

Pat served briefly as the Executive Director for Hospice of Anchorage in 2008, before accepting a leadership position to guide the growth of Providence Hospice in 2009.  In her years at the helm there she nurtured a strong interdisciplinary team that continues to provide care for several hundred patients and families in their home setting each year.  She takes special pride in the development and implementation of a “Connections Program” – a free non-hospice program providing community social service coordination and volunteer support to Anchorage community members coping with serious illness. Funded through the generous support of Providence Foundation, the program provided community support for four years before closing at the end of 2018.  
Pat has also invested time over the past 10 years working to connect the hospice and palliative care communities of Alaska together. In concert with other interested community members, she helped form the Palliative Care Alaska Network (PCAN) in 2015, a volunteer effort providing education and networking opportunities and hosting widely attended and well received annual symposiums since 2017. She has also served as a founding member of the newly recognized state-wide chapter of the Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses Association (HPNA). She remains active in both organizations. 

Founding Members, 2015 - 2018

Dr. Christopher Piromalli
Rona Johnson
Pat Dooley
Dr. Tram Chu
Christy McElrath
Billie Kelley

Past Board Members

Matt Deraedt
Hal Geiger
Kelsey Terland
Kris Green
Kim Huffington
Pat Dooley
Colleen Kelley
Serena Borofsky
Sean Timpane
Julie Wrigley
Christina Montana
Karen Hollar

Palliative Care Alaska Network

If you would like to know more about us, we invite you to connect with us.