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A YKHC physician assistant received the 'Distinguished Provider Award' from the Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation

Anne Anttila Komulainen has worked as a Physician Assistant at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation for nearly 15 years.
Courtesy of Anne Anttila Komulainen
Anne Anttila Komulainen has worked as a Physician Assistant at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation for nearly 15 years.

A Bethel health care provider has won a statewide award for her service to the region. Anne Anttila Komulainen has worked as a Physician Assistant at the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC) for nearly 15 years. During her tenure, she’s served as the primary care provider for the communities of Kipnuk, Marshall, and Napakiak.

Komulainen received the “Distinguished Provider Award” from the Healthy Alaska Natives Foundation. The organization presented its annual Luminary Awards at its virtual Raven’s Ball on April 20. The award is presented to a provider who has made a difference in the lives of patients in the Alaska Tribal Health system.

“She is recognized for her important contributions as an advocate, and as a front-line health care provider. She is described as an ‘Xtra-Tuf on the tundra,’ providing exceptional care for the patients with compassion and empathy," President and CEO of the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson said when presenting the award to Komulainen in a pre-recorded video.

Komulainen also accepted the award in a pre-recorded video. In it, she highlighted what she has learned about living in rural communities as a rural health provider, and she spotlighted the work of village health clinic workers.

“But ultimately it is about the patients, the people of the Y-K Delta. I’m so grateful to have been able to form relationships with my patients due to the longevity I have at YK[HC], from my twinlets in Kipnuk, who I’ve gotten photos with for the past five years, to being excited about long-awaited pregnancies, to cheering on my school-age patients when they are competing in athletics, to the sadness that I feel when dear Elders, who I home-visit every time I go to their village, have passed away,” Komulainen said.

Other health care professionals also received Luminary Awards. President and CEO for Bristol Bay Area Native Health Corporation Robert J. Clark received the “President’s Legacy and Leadership Award.” The team at the Maniilaq Association’s Behavioral Health Counseling and Recovery Center received the “Outstanding Rural Health Champion Award.”

Anna Rose MacArthur is the KYUK News Director. She has worked at KYUK since 2015 and previously worked at KNOM in Nome, Alaska.