Governor Walker selected Kawerak’s Attorney Meghan Topkok to serve on the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (ABADA). Starting November 16th Topkok assumes her seat on the Board. The appointment places a strong regional advocate in a position to plan and coordinate behavioral health services funded by the State of Alaska.
In this new capacity Topkok can relay the reality of the behavioral health challenges in the region. “There was no one on ABADA that came from a rural, northern community,” states Topkok. “I think our challenges here are unique and what works well in Anchorage or Fairbanks isn’t necessarily gong to work for our people or tribes in Nome or around the region.” Topkok can now be the ear and voice that shares local perspectives. Community input offered to Topkok can inform the state program and offer possible alternatives to current programs that may not be effective. The goal is to increase successful outcomes, and with Topkok’s seat the voice of the region will be stronger as the State addresses mental health and substance abuse issues.
Kawerak Inc policy supports staff in their service on different Boards that promote the health our people and communities. We are pleased by the selection by Governor Walker, and believe that Ms Topkok will be a strong asset to the ABADA Board.
ABADA provides opportunities for people experiencing mental health and substance use disorders to advocate for themselves and the issues that are important to them. Constituents are invited to participate directly in the Boards’ work through formal and informal public comment at meetings, through the annual budget deliberations, at periodical town halls across the state, and through social media. To find out more about ABADA visit http://dhss.alaska.gov/abada/Pages/mission.aspx.
Kawerak’s mission is to advance the capacity of our people and tribes for the benefit of the region. Kawerak is an Alaska Native regional nonprofit tribal consortium that provides over 40 different programs to the Inupiaq, St. Lawrence Island Yupik and Yupik people who reside in 16 communities of western Alaska and represents the 20 federally recognized tribes in the Bering Strait Region. www.kawerak.org