Alaska Native cancer group to meet with rural survivors

Diana Campbell

Hopeful Connections, an Alaska Native cancer survivor group, will hold a meeting for rural survivors and loved ones during the Tanana Chiefs Conference Health Fair, which is being held concurrently with its annual convention.

The meeting will take place at 3-5 p.m., Tuesday, March 12 at the Fairbanks Westmark Hotel and Convention Center, 813 Noble Street. Since the TCC convention draws many rural people to Fairbanks, the group meeting may be of help to them.

“We’re hoping this will help guide how Hopeful Connections can serve people throughout the Interior region,” said Ellen Lopez, an assistant professor with the Center for Alaska Native Health Research at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Hopeful Connections, which is a joint partnership between CANHR and the Fairbanks Native Association, got its start in Fairbanks two years ago. It has grown since then and Lopez hopes to extend its supportive reach to rural communities.

Lopez wants to hear from rural Alaska Native cancer survivors and learn how Hopeful Connections might offer support. While Lopez believes cancer survivors and loved ones have knowledge that could direct cancer intervention, care and treatment, the group’s priority is to identify specific survivor strengths and needs.

The group is also a CANHR and FNA research program. As strengths and needs are identified, Lopez and Freda M. Williams, FNA community services director, will develop programs and then test to see if they are effective.

“But first we have to hear what people want,” Lopez said. “It’s a first step.”

Williams and Lopez will give a presentation explaining Hopeful Connections from 9-10 a.m. at the TCC convention health fair, also on March 12.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Ellen Lopez, 907-474-7318,
Freda Williams, 907-452-5225,