The Dahl Memorial Clinic has received the Primary Care Quality Excellence Award from the Mountain Pacific Quality Health Association.

The award, which is given for primary clinics displaying an excellent performance and preparatory work, was also presented to the Kodiak Community Health Center and the Seward Community Health Center.

One of the main reasons the Dahl Memorial Clinic was recognized is because of the preventative work that the staff performs, said Shelly O’Boyle, executive director of the Dahl Memorial Clinic.

“We probably serviced close to two hundred people doing free (cancer) workshops,” O’Boyle said.

In addition to the cancer workshops, the Dahl Memorial Clinic also provides sessions providing sexually transmitted infection education, immunizations and school physicals.

“We try to do everything I can to possibly shift grant money to the community for preventative services, that’s our goal,” O’Boyle said.

Preventative care can be among the most essential parts of outreach to the community, said O’Boyle.

“It’s hard to get people to come to a health center when they’re not sick,” she said.

Due to that, O’Boyle and the staff at the Dahl Memorial Clinic have created the workshops that encourage people to come in for free care and education.

With Skagway in particular, there are preventative health risks that people in other areas around the United States might not face, and residents have different concerns that they want addressed by the clinic.

To help meet this obstacle, the Dahl Memorial Clinic puts out a community needs assessment survey every three years to gauge what residents are looking for in their clinic.

“We compile the answers and it ends of with the top three things that  community members feel are an issue and we compare that with what we think is an issue and that’s how we drive our care forward,” O’Boyle said.

The most recent assessment showed the top three issues that Skagway wants covered by the clinic as: alcohol and drug use, depression and healthy eating habits.

With these topics in mind, the Dahl Memorial Clinic will put out a new series of sessions beginning in 2019.

The Healthy Living Brown Bag Lunch series is a set of discussions starting in January.

Topics will include: coping with stress, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and more based on issues that residents of Skagway might face, according to John Hischer, the behavioral health clinician at the Dahl Memorial Clinic.

After speaking with a psychiatrist visiting Skagway, Hischer considered the barriers to getting treatment in Skagway, such as the price of having a visit to the clinic.

“It would just be great to have something free, that people can leave with just some new information and some coping skills,” Hischer said.

Hischer decided that the Brown Bag series would allow people to attend to a free and quick session that they could take information and skills from.

Hischer is planning on the sessions consisting of half education on the subject of the lunch, and then 30 minutes for residents to discuss about how they’ve encountered each issue in their life.

“I see it as education first, and some processing too. Then, getting connected to resources if they need additional help,” Hischer said.

The current plan has a lunch every other week for six months, starting January 9 from 12 to 1 p.m..

For more information on events and workshops that the Dahl Memorial Clinic has planned, or to schedule an appointment, visit www.dahlclinic.org or call (907) 983-2255.