Strengthening Hypertension Prevention and Control Services in Alaska
Our clients are very happy to come to us for hypertension services. It makes their lives easier and helps ensure that this part of their health is taken care of.
Robin Holmes, MD, KBFPC Clinical Services Provider and Medical Director
The Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic (KBFPC), a subrecipient of the Alaska Department of Health, the Title X grantee, is committed to using an inclusive, client-centered, and evidence-based approach to increasing access to family planning services on the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska. Because the communities that KBFPC serves are remote and often seasonal with the fishing industry, the team aims to provide comprehensive services that support and improve the health of a population facing significant challenges to accessing care.
Almost half of all U.S. adults have hypertension, which is one of the leading—and most preventable—contributors to maternal death and disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality. As Dr. Robin Holmes explains, “People of reproductive age often don't go to ‘the doctor’—they end up only coming in for reproductive health care. If we don't catch them with an elevated blood pressure or even hypertension at that age, it may actually have long-term health effects that turn into problems as they get older or even affect their sexual and reproductive health.”
With this knowledge, the team engaged the RHNTC to facilitate a six-month technical assistance process, working together to identify and implement specific action steps to strengthen their hypertension prevention and control services. The RHNTC and KBFPC teams relied on the supportive resources included in the RHNTC’s Hypertension Prevention and Control Improvement Toolkit to support their action planning.
Throughout, the KBFPC team assessed its hypertension prevention and control efforts and trained and prepared staff to make improvements. The team strengthened support for clients with, or at risk for, hypertension; this included implementing a program that supports clients to monitor their blood pressure at home. Additionally, the team now has renewed focus on integrating hypertension services into outreach activities and recently provided blood pressure screening to clients visiting a mobile mammography van. While this work can be challenging, the team has made significant strides in establishing hypertension prevention and control services on the Kenai Peninsula and intends to build upon its current successes.