Dr. Robert Sewell, Ph.D. serves as SHARP Program Manager, and has since the program’s inception. This position provides overall program management including budget, ascertains eligibility of both potential practitioners and agency sites, concludes practitioner contracts, assists in recruitment, problem-solves difficulties with placement, and collects data to assess statewide health workforce issues. Dr. Sewell holds a Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis, and serves within the Alaska Primary Care Office. He has served as Project Director for our HRSA BHPr-funded planning grant entitled, “Dental Workforce in Alaska,” and two subsequent HRSA “State Loan Repayment Program” grants. Dr. Sewell co-authored the compendium, Alaska Health Care Data Book; Selected Measures, 2007.
Contact: Robert Sewell, Ph.D., Program Manager
Post: Alaska’s SHARP Program
HPSD, DPH, Alaska DHSS
P.O. Box 110610
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0610
Health Planning and Systems Development:
The SHARP program is within the Section of Health Planning and Systems Development (HPSD), Division of Public Health, Alaska DHSS. The purpose of HPSD is to strengthen health care systems in Alaska by enhancing health care access with a focus on rural areas and underserved populations. HPSD conducts statewide health planning to help sustain organized and efficient health care delivery in Alaska. HPSD work focuses on: health care delivery, workforce development, health care financing and reimbursement strategies, and facility planning. The HPSD staff supports a variety of statewide workforce efforts
Over the last five years, HPSD has worked with a large set of prominent interagency partners to consider and plan for the use of support-for-service program options to help address Alaska’s marked & growing healthcare shortage. This interagency planning group advanced the concept of a state-sponsored Health Care Professions Loan Repayment & Incentive Program (HCPRLIP, eventually HB-78). The proposal then went through many hearings and further discussions, and benefited from the expertise of Donald Pathman, MD (UNC, Sheps Center for Health Services Research). A key result was establishment of the interagency leadership function now found in the SHARP Advisory Council.
The Council is a key source of guidance regarding effective outreach and marketing to potential Sites and potentially interested clinicians, is a key source of feedback on both process and impact. The Council makes informed recommendations to the SHARP Program and DHSS leadership regarding support-for-service. SHARP recognizes the importance of communication with stakeholders for this program, and defines the Council as a main formal way by which this will occur. The Council’s role has been further codified by State of Alaska adoption of regulations attendant to the HB-78 statute. The Council’s role as specified in statute is to:
The Council meets about six times per year. The current Council
- Chair: Randy Sweet (United Way of Anchorage)
- Vice Chair: Delisa Culpepper (Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority)
Current member-agencies & websites:
Enabling statute (HB-78) specified the role of the Advisory Council, which follows:
The program shall be administered by the commissioner in consultation with an advisory body appointed by the commissioner. The advisory body is made up of members with health care expertise, including expertise in economic issues affecting the hiring and retention of health care professionals in the state. Members of the advisory body serve at the pleasure of the commissioner to provide recommendations for and oversight and evaluation of all aspects of the program. The commissioner shall accept a recommendation of the advisory body on a matter pertaining to the identification and monitoring of areas of shortages, eligible sites, payment priorities, or evaluation of the program, unless the commissioner finds, in writing, that the recommendation cannot be financially or otherwise supported by the department.
Operational regulatory language further codified Advisory Council processes and rules of order, which follows:
Advisory body membership (7 AAC 24.710)
The advisory body consists of 15 members representing professional associations, health care sites, and health care professions training sites. One of the 15 members is an expert in economic issues affecting the hiring and retention of health care professionals in the state. Three of the 15 members are at-large members, who are experts needed for particular issues that may arise during the administration of health care professions loan repayment & incentive program.
Advisory body duties (7 AAC 24.720)
The advisory body shall:
(1) provide recommendations for and oversight and evaluation of all aspects of the program;
(2) review and comment on any proposed program initiatives;
(3) review and comment on any ongoing program activities; and
(4) assist in formulating policies for the program.
Advisory body meetings (7 AAC 24.730)
(a) Two-thirds of the individuals currently appointed as voting members constitute a quorum to convene the advisory body and conduct business.
(b) The advisory body shall meet at least quarterly and shall hold an annual meeting, at which time the advisory body shall elect officers and confirm the dates and locations for the next three quarterly meetings.
(c) The advisory body shall conduct public meetings in accordance with the 2011 edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised.
Appointments & terms of advisory body members (7 AAC 24.740)
(a) Advisory body members will be appointed for staggered 3-year terms.
(b) A member of the advisory body shall serve until a successor is appointed.
(c) An appointment to fill a vacancy on the advisory body is for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(d) An advisory body member who has served all or part of two successive terms may not be reappointed to the advisory body unless three years have elapsed since the person has last served on it.
(e) The body shall select a chair & a vice-chair from its members to serve one-year terms.
Advisory body ex-officio nonvoting members (7 AAC 24.750)
The commissioner shall appoint ex-officio nonvoting members as needed to support the goals of the program and the work of the advisory body.
Removal of advisory body members (7 AAC 24.760)
(a) Members of the advisory body serve at the pleasure of the commissioner. The commissioner may terminate a member's service for the member's
(2) bias, including
(A) subverting the purposes of the program while representing the
(B) taking positions in the name of the advisory body or program without the support of the advisory body, or promising, without the support of the advisory body, to support positions or programs of other entities in the name of the advisory body or program;
(3) failure to disclose a conflict of interest as required under this section; or
(4) missing three consecutive meetings.
(b) A member with a substantial financial interest in an official action must declare the financial interest and request to be excused from voting. The chair will make a final determination on a request by a member to be excused from voting due to a conflict of interest. The advisory board may override a ruling by the chair on a majority vote.
(c) If the chair determines that a member has a conflict of interest, that member must file a written disclosure form with the department describing the matter.
(d) A member shall inform the chair of potential conflicts of interest valued at more than $5,000 annually if the interest is related to health care system income affecting the member or the member's immediate family. In this subsection,
(1) "health care system income" means income from a health care industry job; in
this paragraph, "health care industry job" includes health care professional clinical, non-clinical, and administrative jobs;
(2) "member's immediate family" means the member's spouse, children, parents,
Alaska’s SHARP Program is resourced through several funding sources.
SHARP-I: Our traditional opportunity, SHARP-I, is jointly supported by federal grants from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) at 50%, and varied non-federal sources, those principally including the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority (AMHTA), and now the State General Fund (GF/MH). The Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center also made an initial donation when SHARP began.
SHARP-II: Our newest opportunity was established through passage of HB-78 in Alaska 27th Legislature, and there known as “Health Care Professions Loan Repayment & Incentive Program (HCPLRIP). This legislation stated that SHARP-II could be resourced wholly through non-federal sources, those being State General Fund, and a required corresponding “employer match”. Regulation has now clarified that the employer match levels depend upon employer type, with the result being: Public (government) entities at 10%; non-profit entities at 25% and for-profit entities at 30%. Partial waivers of this required match are possible in some circumstances.