Alaska woman wins national award for elder care

An Alaska woman has won a national award for her efforts to bring culturally important care for Alaska Native elders.

Kay Branch is among 10 recipients of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s 2012 Community Health Leaders Award.

Branch, who will be honored with the other recipients in San Antonio Wednesday night, directs the statewide elder care program for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage.

The 57-year-old woman says her mission is to see more elders stay in their villages and cared for by family members or locals.

When that’s not possible, Branch and others in a tribal health network seek ways to bring an elder’s culture to urban nursing homes and assisted living facilities, such as providing traditional foods like moose stew and fish head soup.

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