Alaska Native Medical Center launches new health campaign through photos

The Alaska Native Community represents long traditions related to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. For many years, men, women and children had to be strong and agile to hunt, fish, gather, build and travel in extreme conditions. Relationships were necessary and prioritized, as we often depended on each other to survive.

Today, we hear another story. Data show us over and over again the high rates of health disparities we experience as individuals and within our families—diseases such as diabetes, cancer, suicide and others.

(Via the Healthy Selfie Project Facebook page)
(Via the Healthy Selfie Project Facebook page)

At times, it is easy to feel discouraged. Fortunately, there’s really good news. One of our greatest strengths as a people has been, and continues to be, resiliency. The tides are turning, and we have now joined forces to end these issues and reclaim our health. In doing so, we are reminded of the strengths we possess—and we are inspired to continue our respective wellness journeys.

This is the heart of Alaska Native Medical Center’s newest social media effort called “The ANMC Healthy Selfie Project.” The Facebook campaign, which launched Oct. 20, aims to recognize and celebrate each other’s diverse health and wellness efforts. It also offers a forum for fresh ideas and new motivation—all through pictures.

The project is open to everyone! It started with the goal to celebrate and promote health within our Alaska Native Community, but the reality is: everyone wants good health, regardless of race, age, gender, or any other segregator. It’s a common theme among us all, and a powerful way to bring people together.

Here in lies the beauty of social media. The reach is great, and the potential for positive influence is even greater.

Here’s how the project works: each week, ANMC posts a different health-related topic to the project’s Facebook page. Participants can visit the page and post pictures of themselves (with caption) that relates to the topic. Participants can also browse others’ posts for new healthy ideas and inspirations, and share the posts they like with others.

To add an extra ‘fun factor,’ all participants are entered to win weekly random prize drawings, for things like movie tickets and coffee cards. When the campaign ends, grand prizes will also be awarded for 1) most creative idea/activity, 2) most inspirational idea/activity, and 3) best overall photo.

At the end of the project, submissions will be compiled to create a ‘Healthy Ideas We Love’ page that can be downloaded and printed for ongoing reference and inspiration.

The ANMC Healthy Selfie Project will run Oct. 20-Dec. 31.

Visit the Alaska Native Medical Center website www.anmc.org/HealhySelfieProject or the Healthy Selfie Project Facebook page for more information…and start posting!

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Shauna Hegna is the chief administrative officer at Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage. She is active in volunteer efforts and serves on the boards of the Covenant House Alaska, RurAL CAP Foundation, Rural Energy Enterprises and the Kita Development Corporation. She grew up in Port Lions and is an enrolled Tribal member of the Native Village of Port Lions. She completed her undergraduate degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage and holds a master’s degree in Rural Development from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.