MCG Attends Nuka General Conference – June 18-19, 2014

“Nuka” is a word used in many different cultures. The term means honor, strength, dignity, and support, making it a fitting name for a new philosophy of healthcare delivery gaining a foothold throughout the industry. 

The Nuka system was developed as a way to decrease costs by reducing the number of patient visits and focusing on their overall well-being. Patients, called “customer owners,” are treated with dignity and empowered to take responsibility for their mental and physical wellness. As a result, the intent is that they will subsequently make healthier choices in every aspect of their lives.

Healthcare services included in the Nuka system are: behavioral, dental, medical and traditional services. Each customer-owner is assigned to a healthcare provider team—which might include a case manager, nurse, general practitioner, and a dietician, for example—who work together with the customer-owner throughout treatment, allowing for consistent evaluation and treatment. 

The Nuka approach recognizes the value of preventative health programs, such as complementary medicine, dieting, parenting classes and exercise programs, for healthcare practitioners and patients.

The insights I gained at the 2014 Nuka conference inspired me to continue addressing present healthcare problems and to pursue innovative solutions through architectural design—for today and tomorrow. Nuka care takes into account an individual’s core values, integrity and culture, bringing these attributes to the surface and allowing genuine dialogue between patient and care-givers. As a result, doctor-patient relationships are strengthened, leading to positive economic and cultural outcomes for broader society.

For more information about Nuka, go to the Southcentral Foundation website.

Architectural wall feature at the Alaska Native Medical Center that reflects blue light during summer solstice and orange light during winter solstice.

Architectural wall feature at the Alaska Native Medical Center that reflects blue light during summer solstice and orange light during winter solstice.