HYDABURG - Community Health Practititioner Anna Frisby, who works for the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Hydaburg Health Center, recently received the 2009 Health Aide of the Year award from the directors of the Alaska Community Health Aide Program.
The award is part of the "Shining Star" recognition awards for the Alaska Community Health Aide Program. Also honored was the late Anna Madros, who was the first community health aide/practitioner in Kaltag. The awards were presented during an April 22 luncheon at the Community Health Aide Forum in Anchorage.
"It was an honor and a scare to receive this award," Frisby said. "I don't like to speak in public, so that was the scare. I thanked my supervisor, Steve Gage, and the CHAP board for the award and recognition, my husband for always supporting me and my efforts to continue my education, and my coworkers for their support and willingness to help me as well. I was so surprised when I was told that I was chosen to receive this award because I feel that I'm just doing my job."
In presenting Frisby with her award, Gage, the assistant medical director for SEARHC Community Health Services, made references to Frisby's positive attitude and strong work ethic during her 14 ½ years working as a community health aide/practitioner for SEARHC in Hydaburg. Gage, a physician assistant who nominated Frisby, said he also noted in the nomination Frisby's exceptional clinical skills, as reported by the physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants she works with.
Frisby has used education to advance her skills, becoming certified as a community health practitioner after starting out at SEARHC as a community health aide. Frisby has been taking online classes with the goal of eventually earning a physician assistant certification since her youngest son, Greg, left home to attend Mt. Edgecumbe High School. Frisby is completing her final prerequisite and Greg graduated from Mt. Edgecumbe this month, so now she plans to apply for the University of Washington's MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies program.
"I do take pride in what I do and strive to do my best," Frisby said. "I enjoy the challenges of the job and most of all like to give people something they can use to improve their health, like info on healthy eating, exercise encouragement and yearly physical exams. I was a former heavy smoker, so I always encourage those who smoke to quit, and so far several have quit."
Frisby originally is from St. Paul Island in the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea. She said she met her husband in high school and after living in St. Paul for seven years they moved to Hydaburg in 1981. Frisby loves to crochet, ride her bike, run (which she hasn't done since October), play volleyball and one of her favorite hobbies is cake decorating.