Before leaving for Alaska I was excited but also rather anxious. However, all my fears were completely unfounded. I was able to connect with another FPB graduate who is a flight nurse in Juneau and he helped me find housing with a nurse practitioner and picked me up from the airport. In addition to him, there is another Case FPB graduate working at the Juneau Public Health Center where I was based and it was really nice starting off in Juneau already having a support system in place.
Having spent my life in a variety of large cities my three months in Juneau was the first time I experienced life in small town (Juneau has less than 32,000 people) and I was impressed by how friendly and welcoming everyone was.
In the public health center, I was able to get involved with the Juneau Breastfeeding Alliance and the Juneau Youth Domestic Violence Prevention Coalition. I was impressed by how many professionals from Juneau got together to serve the community and address community issues.
I was also given the opportunity to work with a few LTBI (Latent Tuberculosis Infection) patients, something you are not really exposed to in the contiguous United States. The national rate of TB in 2010 was 3.4 cases per 100,000. Comparatively, Alaska has 9.3 cases per 100,000, over twice the national average. Despite Alaska being a part of the United States it does have a very different feel and the health issues present and how they are dealt with are often very different.
While, in Juneau my sister was able to come visit and we were able to go on a boat tour to Tracy Arm Fjord, see three glaciers, and we also almost ran into a black bear while walking downtown (luckily it was more scared of us and ran away!).