Rachel Cassandra, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage

Rachel Cassandra covers health and wellness for Alaska Public Media. Reach her at rcassandra@alaskapublic.org. Read more about Rachel here.
A man is in front of a group of people in a welcoming center.

Classes help Alaska’s growing number of refugees navigate baffling U.S. health care system

“That's the thing that I try to teach my clients: you have voice, you have rights," said Lilian Montoya with Catholic Social Services.

Good Medicine exhibit at Anchorage Museum features Indigenous healers and medicine people

Good Medicine includes paintings, illustrations, a medicine wheel, a women’s house and a men’s house – which are traditionally used for healing, teaching and meetings. 
a woman standing near a building

Providence breaks ground on behavioral health crisis center in Anchorage that aims to keep people out of emergency room

The center will have space for 24 people who need mental health and substance-use stabilization.
A person with glasses, a pink and blue collared shirt, and a t-shirt that reads "PROTECT TRANS KIDS" sits on the edge of a bed.

A Bethel social worker rewrites their own story as they help queer youth find peace and belonging

LGBTQ+ youth face high rates of suicide, self-harm and housing instability. But an organization in Alaska called Choosing Our Roots is helping them find safe homes.

Thousands of Alaskans may lose their Medicaid benefits this year, but not because they don’t qualify

Thousands of Alaskans are at risk of losing their Medicaid benefits this year – many because of paperwork issues.

New drug use and HIV harm reduction center opens in the Mat-Su Borough

The center serves people looking to reduce HIV and Hepatitis transmission and to reduce opioid overdoses.

Leaders in Huslia aim to convince residents to stay with affordable housing

The lack of affordable housing is a crisis across Alaska. It’s one of the reasons the state is losing working-age people every year.

U.S. assistant health secretary visits Alaska to talk with tribal leaders

Adm. Rachel Levine met with Tribal Health Organizations to learn more about the state's unique public health challenges.

A grieving father helped develop a new Anchorage curriculum on the dangers of opioids

Kellsie struggled with her addiction, but she dreamed of a life beyond it. She told her dad she wanted to write a book and visit schools to tell her story after her recovery.
a man in a wheelchair with a basketball

Alaska veteran hopes his struggle with mental health convinces others to seek care earlier

Veteran James Phelps dealt with PTSD from his service and from losing a friend to suicide. He hopes his story will convince other veterans to reach out for help.
Close up shot of a woman with dark hair and eyeglasses looking into the distance

Health experts warn of rising rates of syphilis in pregnant women and babies in Alaska

Congenital syphilis can lead to serious complications like premature birth, stillbirth or a baby born with blindness or deformed bones.

Kake resident finds healing by crafting traditional Lingít cedar roses

Frank Hughes has made thousands of roses over the years. And he’s discovered that for him, they have a unique healing effect.
a woman holds boxes of kits

Mat-Su Borough passes resolution to allocate $2.3M of opioid distribution settlement funds

The Mat-Su Borough Assembly unanimously passed a resolution to begin allocating the funds on July 18.
a woman on a bike

$100K of specialty cycling equipment stolen from Challenge Alaska in Anchorage

The stolen equipment was a mix of standard bicycles and specially-made cycles for people with disabilities.
Treg Taylor

Alaska attorney general wants access to medical information about out-of-state-abortions and gender-affirming care

The letter is a response to the Biden administration’s proposed protections of patient privacy when crossing state lines for medical care.
A woman in a black and white patterned dress sits in an office chair.

Alaska’s Army division is combatting high suicide rates with mandatory wellness counseling

The military in Alaska has long struggled with high rates of suicide. A year and a half ago, one Army division started a program to combat the crisis.
a woman holds boxes of kits

Opioid reversal drugs save lives in Alaska. But people are often skipping a crucial step

Use of the opioid reversal drug Naloxone is increasing in Alaska. Naloxone is safe and easy to administer, but public health professionals say it’s essential to get people to the emergency room after using it. In practice, though, people often aren’t calling 9-1-1. And that’s concerning to public health experts.
Sen. Dan Sullivan and U.S. Surgen General Vivek Murthy sit at a table.

‘Nothing else should matter’: At Anchorage roundtable, Sullivan addresses youth mental health crisis with U.S. Surgeon General

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy discussed the youth mental health crisis in Alaska at a roundtable in Anchorage.

At an Anchorage oncology clinic, doctors and patients confront ‘terrifying’ chemo drug shortage

The Alaska Women’s Cancer Care in Anchorage has been forced to ration the generic drugs cisplatin and carboplatin, due to short supplies.
A man holds prescription drugs.

Alaska cancer treatment centers struggle with shortage of common chemo drugs

Two common chemotherapy drugs are in short supply in Alaska – cisplatin and carboplatin. Oncology centers across the country are struggling to keep the drugs in stock.