Rachel Cassandra, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage

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.

PrEP prevents HIV transmission and it’s free. Why can’t some Alaskans get it?

Robin Lutz, executive director at the Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association, or 4-As, said the organization has been talking with people newly diagnosed with HIV. She said Alaskans face many barriers to accessing PrEP.

Why are more Alaskans in the Interior contracting HIV?

Health officials are working to better understand why Fairbanks and the Interior have seen a cluster of new HIV cases over the past two years.
a grocery store

Wait for food stamps continues, but could prompt legislative changes

The state is working through a backlog of thousands of applications for SNAP benefits, after Alaskans waited months for help buying food.
A close up of a skeleton sculpture with traditional Mexican attire for Día de Muertos on an altar.

Día de los Muertos celebration offers comfort and community connection

Día de los Muertos is a Mexican and Mexican-diaspora celebration of people who have died and Anchorage is celebrating it for the 19th year.
An emergency sign outside a hospital.

Birth and death rates fell in Alaska last year; rates of death from alcohol and overdose remain high

The report also shows that deaths from tobacco use and rates of pregnant women using tobacco declined, as did the teen birth rate. 
Several syringes on a table

Alaska sees fast increase in early flu cases; experts urge vaccination

Alaska’s chief medical officer, Anne Zink, is urging people to get the flu vaccine this month to protect themselves against an early season. 
students with hats scoop salmon from a white bucket.

Alaska Native youth preserve traditions by preserving traditional food at Elders and Youth Conference

Young people from around the state learned how to filet and prepare salmon at the conference in Anchorage on Tuesday.
Cans on shelves in a grocery store

The wait for food stamps in Alaska is improving, but applicants still face long delays

Many applicants still have to wait for up to three months to receive benefits.

Alaska health department changes Medicaid renewal process to keep thousands covered

About 37% of Alaska’s Medicaid recipients were procedurally disenrolled in the first four months following a pause during the pandemic.
A son and a mother posed for a portrait outside.

A new app is helping Alaskans with disabilities and memory loss become more independent

For lots of families in Alaska, MapHabit could become indispensable. The state has a shortage of care workers and many families are stretched thin.

Physician assistants say proposed rules could spell disaster for rural Alaska health care

Those speaking out against the regulations include PAs, physician, and health care administrators.

Opioid overdose reversal drugs are now available over-the-counter in Alaska

The opioid overdose treatment Narcan became available over the counter in pharmacies throughout Alaska last week. The treatments will cost $45 for a box of two.

Three Anchorage teens head to North Carolina to present anti-bullying lessons

West High junior Edison Wallace Moyer says youth have unique insight on bullying "just by virtue of they're the ones being bullied."

What to know about the new COVID, flu and RSV shots in Alaska this fall  

Alaskans will soon be able to get the new COVID vaccine, with a new respiratory syncytial virus immunization for infants already available.
A man with glasses paints on a canvas.

From advertising to art: A cancer diagnosis prompts a meaningful journey for one Alaskan

Jim Coe has worked in advertising for many years, so he decided early on in his treatment that he wanted to get the word out about the importance of early cancer detection.
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.