|DR. GARY FERGUSON :: HEALTHY COMMUNITIES CONSULTANT|
Healthy Communities ConsuLting
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be available for health coaching starting this next month at Wisdom Traditions (www.awisdomcenter.com). It will only be a few days a month at this point, but will allow me to see patients again in between my other consulting work. My health coaching will focus on wellness and helping people connect the dots in addressing their health from a holistic perspective.
You can message me for an appointment through my website: www.drgaryferguson.com. At this point, it will be a cash only business, as I’m not set up to accept medical insurance at Wisdom Traditions. I’m excited to be affiliated with Wisdom Traditions, as they have a wealth of counseling therapies available to address the roots of well-being by treating the trauma underlying much of our mental/emotional/spiritual dis-ease. Wisdom Traditions combines the best of all worlds; an Integrative HealthCare Center that integrates top-notch counseling services with primary care, medication-assisted treatment, and an internationally recognized addiction recovery program. Super jazzed to work alongside Michael DeMolina and his team!
My work as KAANGUX̂ Consulting has been stimulating, rewarding the last few months.
The word “Doctor” has its root in the Latin word “Docere” meaning teacher.
In this spirit of Docere, I have the honor of facilitating great discussions along with teaching/motivational speaking. This past week I facilitated the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Community Development Association (APICDA) Annual Community Conference. It was a rich dialogue culminating in each community coming up with action plans relating to funding opportunities that will contribute towards community well-being. I'm jazzed to see the outcomes from the dedicated leaders from each community, as there are some awesome plans that will be deployed in the next year!
I have passion around addressing the social, economic, cultural and environmental determinants of health. Working with APICDA was a perfect fit, as we address the deeper roots of community wellness through economic development, empowering communities to lead their own change. I see myself as a catalyst in this arena, as we address the levers in helping promote community health.
Community well-being wisdom from "The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben:
"But why are trees such social beings? Why do they share food with their own species and sometimes even go so far as to nourish their competitors? The reasons are the same for human communities: there are advantages to working together. A tree is not a forest. On its own, a tree cannot establish a consistent local climate. It is at the mercy of wind and weather. But together, many trees create an ecosystem that moderates extremes of heat and cold, stores a great deal of water, and generates a great deal of humidity. And in this protective environment, trees can live to be very old. To get to this point, the community must remain intact no matter what. If every tree were looking out only for itself, then quite a few of them would never reach old age. Regular fatalities would result in many large gaps in the tee canopy, which would make it easier for storms to get inside the forest and uproot more trees. The heat of summer would reach the forest floor and dry it out. Every tree would suffer.
Every tree, therefore, is valuable to the community and worth keeping round for as long as possible. And that is why even sick individuals are supported and nourished until they recover. Next time, perhaps it will be the other way round, and the supporting tree might be the one in need of assistance. When thick silver-gray beeches behave like this, they remind me of a herd of elephants. Like the herd, they, too, look after their own, and they help their sick and weak back up onto their feet. They are even reluctant to abandon their dead."
We are stronger together! Everyone in our community counts and is important for our survival, wellness. When people suffer in our community, our whole community needs to come together to help them heal, recover.
I had the honor of moderating the Lt. Governor and Gubernatorial Forum on behalf of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership last night. It was a refreshing conversation that allowed voters to tease out the differences in the candidates and also see the many things they have in common. My consulting business is very diverse with facilitating conversations, conferences, meetings being one of my offerings to communities and organizations. "Conversations That Matter" are crucial in our vision for a healthy, vital future for Alaska.
I’ve been enjoying traveling this Spring/Summer, assisting Tribal Health organizations in promoting well-being in their communities. Looking at growing the good, utilizing a bright-spots based approach is crucial to not get lost in the hopeless abyss, the challenges many of our communities face. Often, under our noses, are things that are working. Similar to building a fire, there are often hot embers, positive happenings, that can be used to re-ignite the fire of hope in community. Resilience that we can learn from and be inspired by. What is working in your community? What assets have we possibly overlooked or undervalued? What can we build upon, grow to enhance wellness for our communities’ future?
Greetings and Happy Spring!
I've been enjoying the past few months of transition in my career, as I develop my consulting business. Coming up with a title for my consulting work was a challenge, as my practice is holistic and varied depending on the community, organization or individual I'm working with. Healthy Communities Consultant resonated as the best title for my overall work as a catalyst across Alaska (and beyond). Many have asked what my consulting looks like, so below is a summary of the kind of work that I do:
Some of my current passions include:
Social, Economic, Cultural and Environmental Determinants of Health (Population Health)
Nutrition, Food as Medicine
Indigenous approaches to health & well-being
Botanical Medicine and especially the traditional medicines of indigenous peoples
Incorporating botanical, integrative medicines into Tribal Health System pharmacies
Tribal Self-determination, self-funding and offering of Integrative Medicine, Traditional Healing
Addressing the "Silver Tsunami", making sure our Elders have wellness-based healthcare and advocacy
Trauma-informed Care and non-pharmacologic therapies for resolving trauma
Addressing Homelessness, Housing First
My current bio:
Dr. Gary Ferguson is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor living in Anchorage, Alaska. For the past 16 years, Dr. Ferguson has worked across Alaska to address the social, economic, cultural and environmental factors that contribute to the health, well-being of Alaskans. He is a facilitator, motivational speaker, and technical consultant to communities, agencies, and individuals around how to more deeply address contributing factors to health, well-being. He is Aleut/Unangan, originally from the Shumagin Islands community of Sand Point, Alaska. Dr. Ferguson’s past positions include providing clinical services to his home region at Eastern Aleutian Tribes and serving at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium as Wellness & Prevention Director and Senior Director of Community Health Services. His most recent work includes serving at the Rural Alaska Community Action Program as Chief Executive Officer prior to becoming a Healthy Communities Consultant.
After a fast year being a catalyst, change agent CEO at RurAL CAP, I’m excited about where my next career adventure will take me. I’ve been gifted with such amazing opportunities, colleagues that I appreciate working with. I reflect as I review years of beautiful photos, stories showing how lucky I have been to do such impactful work. I've learned so much from the people I've served, our many Indigenous cultures across Alaska and beyond. I've especially been impressed with the values that hold us together as communities and sustain our well-being. Values that I've used to navigate difficult decisions as a leader. Values that guide me in making the right choices and help me discern how best to use my life's energy to fully manifest my purpose. I am grateful and give thanks today for my many blessings. I embrace the return of the light on this winter's solstice, and beam out to my many friends, family wishes for a safe, warm and inspiring holiday season.
Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that means "first, do no harm." It is attributed to Hippocrates, who is considered the Father of Medicine in Western culture. In today's world of healthcare, this phrase is an important guide as we navigate the best choice to treat dis-ease. Naturopathic Medicine's philosophy entails us utilizing methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, along with using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat. We avoid, when possible, the harmful suppression of symptoms; and acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process.
Our language(s) hold deep truths, as we navigate a changing landscape of decision making; rich wisdom to resource and keep ourselves aligned. The voices of our ancestors are reminding us through our language of what's really important. I'm originally from the Aleutian Region of Alaska, and our Unangax Language is rich with wisdom. Our Unangan cultural and language expert, Moses L. Dirks, translated our Unangax Values - the right way to live as an Unangax/Aleut People. These values are as practical and useful today, as ever.
First People Unite :: Healthcare
If you could create your own healthcare system, what would it look like? What kind(s) of care would you like to see available? The First People of Alaska are especially fortunate, as we own our own healthcare system. We are still in various stages of true "ownership," as it relates to culturally connected and appropriate healthcare. It's time to grow the grassroots movement of visioning a holistic, wellness-based healthcare system that includes Traditional Healing, Naturopathic Medicine, Chiropractic Medicine, Acupuncture/Chinese Medicine as frontline modalities (as they are aligned with traditional approaches to wellness).
It's time to truly reclaim and own our healthcare. Agree with me? Make sure to tell your local tribal healthcare leaders and bring it up at regional healthcare gatherings.