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Health & Health Care in Alaska 2014:
60 years after the Parran Report

This new initiative of the Alaska Health Care Commission will provide a picture of population health status and health care delivery and financing in Alaska today — in the historical context of how health conditions and health care systems have evolved in the 60 years since the Parran Report [1] was published, and the 30 years since the last statewide health plan was produced by Alaska’s Health Systems Agencies [2]. It will document and celebrate achievements in improving the health of, and increasing access to quality health care for, Alaskans over more than half a century; and also offer some perspectives on future challenges.

The intent of this report is to provide an informational and education resource to help health professionals, policy makers, the media, and the interested public better understand health and health care in Alaska.

State Health Official Expert Advisory Panel:

Current and former State Health Officials (SHOs) currently working in Alaska’s health system:

      Ward Hurlburt, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, Alaska Department of Health & Social Services (Alaska SHO: 2009 – current)

      Jay Butler, MD, Senior Director, Division of Community Health Services, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (Alaska SHO: 2006 – 2009)

      Richard Mandsager, MD, Chief Executive, Providence Alaska Medical Center
      (Alaska SHO: 2004 – 2006)

Bibliography for the project:

C. Earl Albrecht and the Parran Alaska Health Survey Team, 1953
L to R: Dr. Antonio Ciocco, Dr. Thomas Parran, Dr. C. Earl Albrecht,
Dr. James Crabtree, Dr. Walter McNerey.
Courtesy C. Earl Albrecht papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library,
University of Alaska Anchorage

[1] The Parran Report was the report of a team from the University of Pittsburg’s School of Public Health who, under contract with the U.S. Department of the Interior, conducted a two-year study of population health status and health care services in Alaska between 1953 and 1954. The study was led by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Thomas Parran, and their final report to the federal government — titled “Alaska’s Health:  A Survey Report” — was published in 1954.  Thereafter known as “The Parran Report” in Alaska’s health circles, the study was seminal in bringing national attention to the deplorable health conditions of Alaska Natives, and resulted in significant improvement in health conditions and health care systems in the state.

[2] The federal National Health Planning and Resources Development Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-641) created an extensive system of community health planning agencies across the country, mandating the establishment of regional Health Systems Agencies (HSAs) in every state.  The primary intent of the law was to provide local direction and control of health care planning to provide information and guidance for the significant government investment in health infrastructure development that was happening during that period.  Before their dissolution in the mid-1980s, Alaska’s HSAs published the last “State Health Plan for Alaska” in 1984.