The Messenger newsletter started out in 1991 when YKHC took over control of the Bethel hospital under PL 93-638—The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. As an Indian Health Service contractor we were obliged to periodically publish reports to our Tribal membership, and the Messenger continues in that role today.
It was originally printed on the company’s Xerox machine on bright yellow paper, hand-stamped and mailed to several hundred people around the YK Delta. As times have changed, so has the Messenger. It has evolved in style and appearance over the years and circulation has grown to include all the box holders in the YK Delta and many other friends, former employees, government officials, tribal organizations and interested people throughout the country.
It has been published with very few interruptions every month for the past 20 years. In recent years the monthly issue has been distributed on our website, www.ykhc.com, with a magazine-style issue printed and mailed quarterly.
We don’t believe the printed word is obsolete, but we do feel it’s time to bring the Messenger up to date.
In just the past few years there have been great changes in the way people are getting information. Not just the internet, but the advent of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, has increased the pace of information delivery—and the public appetite for video and other electronic media.
Another very big development on the horizon is the promise of high-speed broadband internet service in the YK Delta. GCI has been building a land-based fiber-optic and microwave datapipe to connect Western Alaska with the rest of the cyber-connected world without the aggravating delay of a long satellite hop to outer space and back.
With this new development we anticipate that more and more of our Messenger readers will be going to our website to find out what’s new at YKHC, so we are taking this opportunity not only to update the Messenger, but to completely redesign and modernize our website—complete with photo galleries, video links, Facebook sharing, comment and feedback opportunities, and all the rest that today’s internet users have come to expect.
The stories, articles, profiles and health tips you’ve been getting in the Messenger will be available on the website, with links to additional information that can’t always fit into a print publication.
We don’t intend to stop printing the Messenger altogether, but we will be changing its shape. It will be coming to you every other month in a more compact format designed to keep you informed about important changes and innovations at YKHC, the health issues affecting the people of our region and prevention information to help you and your families stay healthy. The new Messenger and the new website will launch simultaneously early in the New Year.
We look back with fondness, some nostalgia, and a certain degree of pride at the history of the YKHC Messenger, seeing how it reflects YKHC’s own growth in commitment to improvement and striving for excellence. We hope the Messenger has been, and will continue to be, an important connection between the corporation, the staff and providers, and the people we serve. As always, we invite your comments and suggestions and look forward to Working Together to Achieve Excellent Health.