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.

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.

Counterfeit pills with fentanyl flood Alaska’s black market

Overdose deaths have been rising in Alaska for the past several years. Most of that is due to illegal fentanyl. And, it’s been showing up more and more in pills that look like prescription drugs, but are counterfeit.

Alaska teens, tweens steer peers away from vaping and smoking

Teenagers from rural Alaska were in Anchorage at the end of May, learning from other high schoolers about nicotine addiction.
empty bottles in the grass

Death rate from drinking nearly doubles in Alaska over 2 years

The rate of Alaska deaths due to drinking alcohol nearly doubled from 2019 to 2021, based on state Department of Health data.
A beige house surrounded by shrubs and trees.

New substance abuse center for active duty military and veterans opens in Wasilla

Banyan Alaska, a new residential center for substance abuse and addiction, opened last week.
Two people ride on an ATV toward a white pickup truck.

New report shows Alaskans die from traumatic brain injury at twice the national average

Alaska’s death rate from traumatic brain injuries is the highest in the nation, according to a recent report from the state health department.