Last week, Norton Sound Health Corporation (NSHC) unveiled its new health clinic in the community of Shaktoolik, located on the eastern shore of Norton Sound, replacing its previous, 20-year old building.
Many within the village of more than 250 people, including Matilda Hardy, are elated to receive upgraded health services.
“It’s always been a dream, and look: it’s finally fulfilled. I’m so excited and happy for this new clinic.”
Hardy is the executive member and Shaktoolik’s representative on the NSHC Board of Directors. On Thursday, she addressed a crowd of roughly one-hundred residents before cutting the ribbon with elder Edgar Jackson to officially open the clinic.
According to a press release from NSHC, staff at the Shaktoolik health facility say privacy and space were in short supply at the old clinic. The new 3,500-square-foot building features three exam rooms, two trauma beds, and extra space to support an on-site pharmacy lab with a portable x-ray machine.
Before Shaktoolik residents were able to tour the upgraded, larger clinic, NSHC’s President and CEO, Angie Gorn, spoke to them about the changes made to the Denali Commission design.
“Well, we learned so much from our other communities as we were putting this together. We used that input, along with staff input — (those) that work at the clinic and also staff that travel to the other clinics — and we actually extended that design by another 1,200 square feet. So, it was a little bit larger; it’s a great size for your community.”
NSHC’s Board of Directors provided the majority of the funding for the $4.8 million project. This updated building comes almost two years after NSHC completed Gambell’s new health clinic.
According to public relations specialist Reba Lean, an upgraded facility in Diomede will be built next, as NSHC strives to meet each member community’s health needs.
Image at top: NSHC Board member Matilda Hardy and local elder Edgar Jackson prepare to officially open the new health clinic in Shaktoolik. Photo provided by Reba Lean, NSHC public relations specialist (2019).