GCU student analyses achievements of Alaskan health care

01 June 2016

GCU student analyses achievements of Alaskan health care

A Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) PhD researcher is investigating whether Native Alaskans could hold the answer for Scottish health care.

Kylie Fagan, from Lochwinnoch, will head to the US state to find out more about the highly successful ‘Nuka System of Care’ which supports more than 65,000 Alaska Native people − and is now being piloted by communities across Scotland.

‘Nuka’ means strong and the community-owned system has dramatically improved health outcomes of Alaskan Natives which were previously amongst the worst in the US.  The system has reduced emergency room visits by a quarter and achieves more than 93 percent customer and employee satisfaction.

“A number of communities across Scotland are in the early stages of taking learning from this model and putting it into practice within their own local healthcare services,” explained Kylie, who is completing her PhD at GCU’s Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health.

“Across Scotland community groups are becoming increasingly involved in the design and delivery of health and social care programmes. Policymakers are exploring innovative ways in which GP services can be more effectively integrated into the community; taking a wider view of healthcare provision and learning from a range of world-leading models. My PhD will focus on the rewards, challenges and risks associated with this change in practice here in Scotland.”

Kylie’s venture is funded through the Merchants House Magnusson Award, one of 13 awards presented in the name of the University’s late Chancellor, the journalist and broadcaster Magnus Magnusson KBE. The annual awards support the ambitions and dreams of talented students and researchers at GCU.

The 28-year-old added: “The Magnusson Award has given me the opportunity to witness for myself this innovative medical system in-situ and see first-hand how the local community is at its heart. It is my hope that this experience will not only impact greatly upon me and my own way of thinking about health, but will also be extremely useful to those communities across Scotland just beginning to embark on this journey.”

Students, their families and friends, staff and invited guests attended the Awards ceremony on Tuesday May 31, hosted by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE and Dr Sally Magnusson, daughter of the late Chancellor and Honorary President of the Magnusson Fellowship at GCU.

Professor Gillies said: “As the University for the Common Good, we are so proud of the achievements that have been made possible over the years through this incredible initiative. The projects will enable the recipients to develop personally or professionally, giving something back to communities around the world.”

Dr Magnusson said: “It is wonderful to see the University continuing to nurture students and researchers with such creativity and drive. The 2016 Magnus Magnusson Award winners are no exception and I know that they will make good use of these special grants and act as worthy ambassadors for the University and the Awards.”

Jillian Watt, Director of the Glasgow Caledonian University Foundation, said: “Since the awards began in 2008, in honour of Magnus and his passion for learning, over 60 students have been able to realise their dreams and ambitions. This year was particularly special with the addition of the Sir Alex Ferguson Magnusson Awards.”