image of Alaska

Alaska is the largest of the 50 states and contains approximately 16 percent of the country’s landmass. Because of its size, Alaska has widely diverse geographic, climatic, and demographic characteristics, all of which affect public health.

Alaska contains roughly 586,412 square miles of land, with a population density of slightly more than one person per square mile. Unique climatic conditions affect Alaskans’s health, lifestyles, and transportation. Temperatures can range from as high as 100 degrees F to lows that approach -80 degrees F. Alaska has few roads with only five of Alaska’s urban centers connected by road. In many cases, travel by air is the only feasible mode of transportation.

Some health programs available in Alaska are:

  • Newborn Bloodspot Screening Program
  • Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program
  • Specialty Clinics
  • Alaska Birth Defects Registry
  • Oral Health Program

Alaska does not have a university-based medical center, cytogenetics laboratory, DNA laboratory, or pediatric clinical geneticist.  

The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium does offer pediatric genetic services to Tribal Health Beneficiaries. These services are offered through a partnership with Primary Children’s Hospital in Utah. A genetic counselor from ANTHC is available in this clinic. 

The State of Alaska sponsors the Alaska Metabolic Clinics in Anchorage and Fairbanks. A biochemical geneticist and metabolic dietitian attend these clinics where patients are seen for diagnosis of inborn errors of metabolism, and management of metabolic disorders. These services are provided through a contract with the Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland Oregon. This clinic is coordinated by a clinic manager with the State of Alaska Currently visits are available via telehealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information about Newborn Screening and Genetic services in Alaska, please contact us.

The project is a cooperative agreement funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Children with Special Health Needs Program, Genetic Services Branch.