Community Health Aides (CHA) work tirelessly for the health and safety of their communities by ensuring that villages have access to the care that they need. So when the need for a CHA was presented in Stevens Village – Christina Copeland was eager to step up to the plate. “You never stop learning and there’s always something new,” she said. “It’s never the same thing.”
Copeland grew up in Fairbanks and worked as a hotel housekeeper and at fast food restaurants before deciding to apply with TCC’s health aide training program four years ago. “There was a need in the community so I applied,” Copeland said. “It’s rewarding to help people and make a difference in somebody’s life.”
One challenge she faces is her youth. “Sometimes people think they know what’s wrong and don’t want to listen to my advice,” she said, but she is stoic in her outlook and committed to her career. In the future, she hopes to further her education and work toward becoming a physician’s assistant or a nurse.
For now, she is happy in Stevens Village. “I’m glad to be raising my three children in the village and not in the city,” Copeland said. “I want to give them a good life.”
The family enjoys outdoor activities, such as sledding in the winter and swimming in the river all summer. “My children look up to me,” Copeland said. “They pretend to be little health aides.”
Copeland’s supervisor, Ryan Clairmont, CHAP coordinator instructor, said, “Christina Copeland is the sole medical provider for her community. In her four years as a health aide she has proven to be an invaluable asset to her community, Tanana Chiefs Conference and the Community Health Aide Program. She has completed all four levels of training, including her Preceptorship to become a Practitioner, the highest level of training in the state.”
Clairmont said Copeland not only provides medical services to her community, both routine and emergency, but she also has volunteered multiple times to travel to other village communities to assist in providing medical care in times when there is a shortage of medical coverage.
“In addition to being a great health aide, Christina is a mother of three young children,” Clairmont said. “She manages to do both very well which is no easy task. She communicates very well with her supervisor, provides all administrative clinic paperwork on time and when needed takes on the additional duty of providing janitorial services to the clinic.
“She takes a lot of pride in being a health aide and it shows in her daily work.”