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Communities of Excellence 2026 Blogs

Southcentral Foundation's Dr. Katherine Gottlieb presents to our COE collaborative communities

Recently, our Learning Collaborative curriculum transitioned from its focus on the Community Profile; answering the questions – Where are we now and what is important; to Community Strategic Planning – Where do you want to be and how will you prepare for that future.  The first session of 2018 was an introduction to the basic concepts of Community Strategic planning – focusing on the priorities of the community as a whole rather than individual sectors or organizations. 

In our second session we were privileged to host a special guest presenter, Dr. Katherine Gottlieb, President and CEO of the Southcentral Foundation in Southern Alaska.  For those of you not familiar, “Southcentral Foundation is an Alaska Native-owned, nonprofit health care organization. Managing more than 80 health care programs and services, SCF serves 65,000 Alaska Native and American Indian people in Anchorage, the Mat-Su Borough, and 55 rural villages in the Anchorage Service Unit.”

They also happen to be a two time recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in Healthcare.  First in 2011 and most recently in 2017.

We approached Dr. Gottlieb about presenting to our group because of the immediate connection the Commuities of Excellence 2026 mission and the Foundation’s approach to engagign their communities in Alaska and the residents that they call their “customer-owners”.  Dr. Gottlieb used many stories to illustrate this and other key aspects of their Baldrige journey. Here are some of the take-aways from Dr. Gottlieb’s presentation:

Their approach to leadership through influence rather than structure:
Lead from where you are by involving/empowering others rather than through formal control.
Start small, be focused, and find some quick wins.
Keep things simple -- establish a common language and stay true to your mission, vision, and principles.
Each community will be different in how they try this – we will all need to find our own path forward.
Creating a better culture by including key tribe members to build plans and actions that create momentum.

Our thanks to Dr. Gottlieb for her time and congratulations!