2016 AFN Presidents Award for Health

Sealaska shareholder Dr. David Baines, was recognized with the 2016 AFN Presidents award for Health. The Health award recognizes an Alaska Native who has demonstrated strong commitment, competence and sensitivity in the health fields, whose accomplishments have improved health care for Alaska Natives. Nominees may be involved in the areas of health advocacy, program administration, and professional care and in the health professions.

Dr. Baines went to high school in Phoenix, Arizona and at the time had no intention of going to college. He wanted to join the Marines to see the world. Instead, in 1972, he took a job at a sawmill in his hometown of Metlakatla, Alaska.  While in Metlakatla, he was involved in a serious accident that should have killed him, but miraculously he survived. Dr. Baines’ legs, especially his left leg, were crushed. There were no orthopedic doctors in Southeast Alaska so he was airlifted into a plane and flew to Seattle. Three and half hours later he arrived at the hospital.  

Dr. Baines has seen well over a half a million patients and delivered over a thousand babies. He is most proud of how much he has been able to accomplish despite having to deal with numerous surgeries, terrible chronic pain and his disability. He feels he has been given many gifts but the best gift is his empathy and a caring healer in so many peoples’ lives. The Association of American Indian Physicians named Dr. Baines the 2012 Physician of the Year. He is now retired, but served as a family medicine doctor in Anchorage and was affiliated with Providence Alaska Medical Center. He received his medical degree from Mayo Medical School and has been in practice for 33 years

Dr. Baines became the first American Indian Student at Mayo Medical School. He was a faculty member of the Alaska family Medicine Residency and a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington before retiring in April 2015

Thank you for your service and inspiration Dr. Baines.

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