ANCHORAGE, Alaska--(BUSINESS WIRE)--healtheConnect Alaska, Alaska’s state-designated health information exchange (HIE), has named Kendra Sticka, PhD, RDN, as the organization’s new executive director.
Dr. Sticka is charged with steering the organization into continued growth and development, including ensuring the organization fulfills its commitment to the Alaska Department of Health. The state awarded healtheConnect a new contract in April 2023 to expand its HIE and data services into more regions across the state where access to quality care has been limited, such as underserved rural and urban communities.
“healtheConnect has seen tremendous growth over the last year and has provided Alaskan communities and providers access to critical patient health information, typically not easily available prior to or at the time of care,” said Dr. Sticka. “I’m excited to build on this trajectory and ensure that all Alaskan healthcare providers have access to appropriate patient health data that’s necessary to make informed clinical decisions.”
Since 2009, healtheConnect has served healthcare providers and patient populations across Alaska by facilitating access to the secure data exchange of crucial healthcare information. The HIE recently experienced extensive growth, more than doubling its user base from 2021 to 2022. The number of participating organizations also increased by 40% in that time.
“Dr. Sticka brings ample experience across healthcare delivery in Alaska and has held various positions across clinical and administrative positions in the public service sector demonstrating her commitment to communities at the grassroots level,” said Dr. Tim Ballard, MD, MS, healtheConnect’s Board Chair. “We believe Dr. Sticka is the perfect person to lead these efforts and we’re looking forward to seeing the impact healtheConnect will have with her in charge.”
Prior to joining healtheConnect, Dr. Sticka had been an integral member of the University of Alaska Anchorage for the last 20 years and most recently as the Associate Dean of Clinical Health Sciences since 2020.
Dr. Sticka will work to increase partnerships with community-based organizations, state agencies and other public and community health organizations to continue advancement of Alaska’s healthcare ecosystem to ultimately improve health outcomes and reduce total costs of care for Alaskans.
“healtheConnect is playing a crucial role in the positive healthcare and health IT transformation in Alaska. It takes persistent collaboration and strong leadership to ensure the right voices are heard so we can continue to develop innovative projects that support valuable health outcomes,” said Jared Kosin, President and CEO, Alaska Hospital and Healthcare Association. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with her as she leads the HIE into its next phase.”
“As the largest geographical state with the smallest, most diverse population, Alaska has unique strengths and challenges when it comes to healthcare delivery,” Dr. Sticka added, “and it’s our goal that all care stakeholders have access to advanced data so we can better provide our communities with whole-person, wrap-around care.”
Dr. Sticka holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She is a registered dietitian and holds a Master of Science in Nutrition from Central Michigan University and a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from Montana State University. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Hope Community Resources in Alaska.
healtheConnect is Alaska’s state-designated Health Information Exchange. Created in Alaska State Statute, the organization offers services that help healthcare providers share and receive important patient health information. Alaska’s HIE connects healthcare providers on a statewide basis from primary care, specialty care, hospitals, and public health. For more information, visit: https://www.healtheconnectak.org/.