In our own Backyard

Story last updated at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Homer gives 'alaska twist' to women's health week

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Linda Chamberlain

Staying healthy, active and fulfilled are the themes of a local kick-off celebration of National Women's Health Week on Friday, sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic and designed with a decidedly Alaska twist.

For one thing, the three planned events are stretched out longer than the 13th annual national focus on women's health that begins Mother's Day and continues until May 19.

For another thing, the first event features three local speakers.

"We start off with Linda Chamberlain, a renowned speaker with a PhD in epidemiology and director of the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project who is going to talk at our event about how to take a leadership role in your life," KBFPC project coordinator Jillian Rogers said of Chamberlain, who also is a dog musher and owns and operates the 45-acre Howling Husky Homestead.


Julie McCarron

The second speaker at Friday's event is Julie McCarron, a certified nurse-midwife/advanced nurse practitioner. Many will recognize McCarron from her work at KBFPC.

"She's going to talk about well women annual exams," said Rogers.

"She's just back from a conference with the latest updates on breast and cervical screening and can answer questions and have a discussion on what well women visits entail and why they're important."

Also on the evening's program is Colleen Robertia. Originally from Maine, Robertia and her husband, Joseph, operate Rogues Gallery Kennel in Kasilof. Robertia ran her first Iditarod in 2010, placing 36th. This year she finished 21st.

"Colleen's going to talk about setting healthy goals and how to achieve them, setting the bar high and how to get there," said Rogers. "She's inspiring and has some great tales from the trail."


Colleen Robertia

The 6-8 p.m. event is for women of all ages. Men are encouraged to attend. It is free and open to the public, with snacks and drawings for prizes throughout the evening.

A free women's health clinic will be held Monday in honor of National Women's Checkup Day. The clinic is free.

"Usually our practitioners are here Wednesday and Thursday, and most of our services are low or no cost, with a focus on women who are un- or under-insured, but Monday is an absolutely free clinic," said Rogers. "Even if you fall outside of our financial guidelines, it'll be free."

Anyone interested in a free well-woman visit at KBFPC should call to schedule an appointment.

The Women's Health special events wrap up with a visit to Chamberlain's dog yard on May 26.

"That's for anyone," said Rogers.

"Linda Chamberlain's yard is quite an extensive mushing museum. It's a woman-owned and operated kennel and this should be fun. She's got a beautiful set-up there."

Anyone interested in participating is asked to sign up during Friday's event.

A grant from the Office of Women's Health is funding KBFPC's "Women's Health Week 2012." It is designed to "educate, empower and encourage Homer women of all ages in our community," said Rogers.

"It's about supporting women to seek out the tools they need to take care of their bodies and general well being. ... We want to keep women informed about health guidelines and make sure we are providing the most current, evidence-based information."

National Women's Health Week is a weeklong observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health. The 2012 theme is "It's Your Time." It encourages women to:

• Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings;

• Get active;

• Eat healthy;

• Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress;

• Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at

National Women's Health Week Local activities sponsored by Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic

Friday, 6-8 p.m.:

Kick off at KBFPC Outreach Center. Guest speakers: n Linda Chamberlain, PhD, and director of the Alaska Family Violence Prevention Project;

• Julie McCarron, Certified nurse-midwife/advanced nurse practitioner;

• Colleen Robertia, Iditarod musher.


Free women's health clinic in honor of National Women's Checkup Day. Get an annual well-woman visit at KBFPC; schedule a mammogram at South Peninsula Hospital.

may 26: Wrap up the celebration with a field trip to Chamberlain's sled dog kennel, East End Road.

For more information:

•, email kbfpa or call 35-3436;

• Visit