Ellen Provost, DO, director of the Alaska Native Epidemiology Center (ANEC) in Anchorage, recently received the American Medical Association’s Dr. Nathan Davis Award for Outstanding Public Service.
The award recognizes her career-long commitment to improving public health. Dr. Provost has directed ANEC since 2005 and served its parent organization, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC), for nearly 20 years. ANTHC is a nonprofit Tribal health organization that serves more than 170,000 patients from 229 federally recognized tribes in Alaska.
‘She has saved lives’
While serving ANTHC, Dr. Provost led a charge to increase access to cancer screening for Alaska Natives and provide them with patient navigation services.
“Dr. Provost’s positive impact on the health of the Alaska Native population is immeasurable,” said AMA Board Chair Jack Resneck, Jr., MD, in a statement. “She has saved lives, strengthened communities, and created not just the building blocks, but a strong infrastructure, that can improve health outcomes for Alaska Native people for generations to come.”
The AMA’s Dr. Nathan Davis award recognizes those in federal, state or municipal service whose contributions have promoted the art of medicine and advancements in public health. This year, eight people received the award.
Data-driven population health care
At the Alaska Native Epidemiology Center, Dr. Provost leads the initiatives around collecting health care data, identifying common health conditions and implementing health care services, among other functions.
“I provide oversight, direction, and management of various grants, projects, and requests,” Dr. Provost told The DO in 2017. “I serve as a physician, scientist, coach and most importantly, a listener and a learner.”
Dr. Provost supervises a tumor registry which collects, analyzes and distributes Alaska Native cancer data. Under her leadership, the project identified colon cancer as the leading preventable cause of cancer in the Alaska Native population. The project earned significant funding to implement mass colorectal cancer screening clinics and patient navigation services.
The field of public health “emphasizes epidemiology, biostatistics and this idea of the community as the patient,” Dr. Provost told The DO.
“The expanse of the great state of Alaska can be a challenging health care delivery environment,” Dr. Provost said. “However, our work is greatly valued by our tribal leaders, Alaska tribal health organizations and the people they serve. I am honored to serve the Alaska Native people.”