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  • Becca Kirian

2024 In Full Swing

Dear AKEDA Friends,


In the last newsletter, I shared some of the exciting things we are looking forward to in 2024. This month, I want to reflect on how much has already happened in less than 50 days into 2024.


Board member Caroline Storm (L), ED Becca Kirian (M), and Co-Founder/Board Chair Jenny Loudon.

At the end of January, I found myself, along with two of my board members, in Vancouver, Washington, where we underwent an intensive and immensely productive training program, Essentials of Development, a program of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. This was a chance to learn from experts in the development field, engage with our cohort of nonprofits, and practice using some of the tools we have developed as part of this program, including our case statement. All of these efforts help to strengthen our capacity to raise unrestricted funds and continue to be a sustainable non-profit. I look forward to continuing this work virtually until we convene again in May.


I returned from the Essentials of Development training to a busy week in Juneau. I attended the public comment portion of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority’s board meeting, where I provided information about eating disorders and how they are affecting Alaskans. I discussed the difficulties in finding access to appropriate levels of care, especially for Medicaid beneficiaries. It was an impactful moment to provide this comment for such an important part of our behavioral health sector in our state, and I am thankful to have received engagement and questions from the board.


In the same week, I also had a short meeting with my state senator, Senator Jesse Kiehl, to share about AKEDA’s mission and vision, and the work we are doing to support Alaskans with eating disorders. It was the first time I was navigating meetings with legislators, and I’m thankful to our board member Caroline Storm for helping arrange this.


Also that week, I presented to the All Alaska Pediatric Partnership (A2P2) on our pilot program with the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation (BBAHC) about culturally sensitive eating disorder training and screening. It was again a positive experience connecting with people throughout the state, both in person and virtually, and addressing questions they had about this project launch.


The following week, this program had its first session with a presentation by Alaskan physician and board member, Dr. Megan Carlson Cosentino on “Eating Disorders - Whole Body Disorders.” We had 15 live attendees, and we are also recording these sessions to offer them on-demand to accommodate time and staffing constraints.


February was also full of hours spent in the Foraker Group's Executive Leadership Intensive (ELI) program. AKEDA’s board chair, Jenny Loudon, attended the first two days of this program as well. As AKEDA’s executive director, I then spent a large portion of time learning and directly interacting with my cohort of other Alaskan non-profit executives. I am particularly excited about the small groups and mentorship components of the ELI program that are designed to help nonprofit leaders feel supported and equipped with the tools for success as they strive to help their organizations thrive.


Between all of these moments, there have been many exciting conversations and partnerships blossoming, and I look forward to continuing to share more next month.


As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to me at bkirian@akeatingdisordersalliance.org.


Sincerely,









Becca Kirian

Executive Director

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