Donna Bach, Leader from the Region, January 2015
A healthy lifestyle has always played big a role in Donna Bach’s life. Whether it’s being involved in sports, practicing subsistence or working in the healthcare system, Donna understands the importance of striving to be healthy both physically and mentally. Born and raised in Bethel, Donna is a Calista Shareholder and the youngest of six siblings. During high school she was very active in sports including playing basketball and attending the Native Youth Olympics. She graduated from Gonzaga University with a bachelor’s degree in History and a minor in English. Upon graduation, she taught in Napakiak, worked on grants with the State of Alaska Department of Early Education and worked at the Kuskokwim campus as a mentor. As a campus mentor she worked with first-year college students from the surrounding villages, helping them to stay on track.
“It’s important to always grow and learn,” said Donna.
Donna takes her own advice and is always working to grow in her career. After working in education, she transitioned into healthcare. Donna got her start working at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium on some special projects.
“It allowed me opportunities to travel to rural Alaska and was a professional introduction to communications and marketing in the healthcare field,” said Donna. “It gave me the background and experience that helped me get my job where I’m at today.”
For the last five years Donna has been serving as the director of public relations and intergovernmental affairs for Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation.
“It has been a great opportunity to grow professionally,” said Donna. “It’s the first job where I am managing a small team of people, which is a lot of fun.”
Donna says she enjoys tackling the challenges of access and affordable health care in rural Alaska. She likens her position as “internal journalism” in addition to internal and external corporate communications, telling the stories from the perspective of patients and providers. And while there are challenges about being in the health care field, she enjoys working with a talented and compassionate team.
“Many of our professionals could potentially work anywhere – but they choose to work here because of their relationships and appreciation for the people of this Region,” said Donna. “That is a really magical aspect of this job, getting to know these professionals in and outside of work. Your colleagues become your friends, it is a compassionate side of care that one cannot find anywhere else.”
Donna also appreciates the opportunity to work in the Region and enjoys opportunities to give back. Through her work, she is often involved in helping promote many regional events such as the Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race, the annual Sudan Gala fundraiser, and the Bethel Blood Drive.
“The wealth of this Region is the knowledge of the people. The cultural strengths, the oral history, the language preservation and appreciation for the subsistence lifestyle.”
“A beautiful aspect about my job is my employer encourages community engagement. It’s a high priority for the work force to get involved in community initiatives, volunteering in the community and engaging with your neighbors and friends at community events.”
Donna and her husband of five years, Chris, a juvenile justice probation officer, have two children, Zahn, age four and Santi, age one. She says she will continue to serve her Region in any way she can.
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