Rachel Cassandra, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage

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Rachel Cassandra covers health and wellness for Alaska Public Media. Reach her at rcassandra@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Rachel here.
A midwife holds a pregnant mother's hand.

Alaska midwives speak out against an executive order that would dissolve their board

The executive order dissolving the midwife board is one of 12 that the governor submitted in January to the Legislature. 
A red squirrel sits on a stump

Kenai Peninsula man is the first person to die of Alaskapox virus

Experts say to be cautious when handling small mammals in the state, but infection is rare and death unlikely.
A woman lowers a metal lid onto a machine with both hands.

An Anchorage woman is working to offer water cremation and other natural death care options in Alaska

Rachel Bernhardt is starting to offer water cremation and natural burial, which have lower environmental footprints.

More women in Alaska will be covered by Medicaid during pregnancy and for the year after giving birth

The expansion will cover mothers during their first year, when they’re vulnerable to physical and mental illness.

Psychedelic medicine task force would lay groundwork for therapeutic use in Alaska

The task force would look at the role psychedelics could play in addressing Alaska’s mental health crisis.

Alaska organization trains salon and beauty professionals to recognize domestic abuse signs

The training will focus on identifying signs of emotional and physical abuse, how to talk with people about abuse safely, and how to direct people to resources.

Anchorage middle school reports suspected mumps case

Romig Middle School staff canceled after-school activities Thursday when they learned of the case. The school is being disinfected, pending test results.

New programs aim to help more mentally ill Alaskans become competent to stand trial

Alaska's only state-run psychiatric hospital plans to launch two new programs for people without the mental capacity to stand trial. The one-year pilot would triple the state’s capacity.

Under a new executive director, Alaska’s LGBTQ+ health clinic is researching what queer Alaskans need

Alaska’s only health clinic centered on the needs of LGBTQ+ people has a new executive director. Identity Alaska in Anchorage serves patients in person and statewide through telehealth.
A group of bees in the snow

Alaska beekeepers kill their colonies every fall, but an Anchorage man has another way

An Anchorage beekeeper has learned how to help his honeybee colonies survive to see spring, and he’s teaching others to do the same.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin is high in some subsistence harvests, according to Knik Tribe’s data

The tribe’s scientists looked at shellfish samples that showed levels of the biotoxin almost 50 times higher than the recommended limit.

After Wrangell’s deadly landslide, dogs helped the search and rescue team

After Wrangell’s deadly landslide last month, search and rescue teams worked around the clock for days looking through debris for six missing people. Teams of dogs assisted.

Anchorage therapist suggests how to survive the holidays when feeling sad

For Alaskans who have recently experienced tragedy or loss, the holidays can be especially hard. An Anchorage therapist has advice about how to make them manageable.

Alaska’s Public Guardians are overloaded with cases, but a new court order mandates they must take on more

Alaska's Supreme Court has ordered the Office of Public Advocacy to begin assigning public guardians for patients again.

Alaska organizations teach kids how to avoid online predators

Adult predators are finding new ways to message kids online and manipulate them. So, the FBI and other organizations in Alaska are teaching kids how to stay safe when they’re spending time online.

Girdwood doula helps people plan, prepare for and celebrate death

Julie Raymond-Yakoubian guides people through both spiritual and pragmatic arrangements surrounding end-of-life care and death.

Healthcare professionals consider Alaska’s potential for psychedelic therapies

Most psychedelic therapy is not legal in Alaska, except for ketamine therapy. But a panel of professionals discussed its future.

Abortions in Alaska can only be performed by doctors. Is that about to change?

Only doctors can perform abortions in Alaska, according to a 50-year-old law. Planned Parenthood’s Alaska chapter argues that this limits access to abortion. So, the chapter filed a lawsuit against the state.

Anchorage storms make transportation tricky for all, and worse for people with disabilities

Anchorage residents have faced a series of snow storms this week, and being a pedestrian in the city has been challenging, if not impossible.

Trust land auctions fund mental health care in Alaska

The Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority is selling some of the 1 million acres of federal land it received under the Mental Health Act of 1956.