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Oregon sends counselors to help Alaska youth after quake


The Oregon Health Authority and Polk, Washington and Yamhill counties sent seven behavioral health professionals to Alaska Sunday to assist with the state’s response to the Nov. 30 earthquake.

“We want to thank our county partners for joining us in assisting Alaska,” said Akiko Saito, director of the Health Security, Preparedness and Response Section at the OHA Public Health Division. “This demonstrates the importance of partnership and working across boundaries.”

The agencies and counties responded to Alaska’s request for behavioral health professionals to assist schools in helping kids deal with trauma from the earthquake.

“Children respond differently to disasters than adults”, said Nicole Corbin, behavioral health manager at the OHA Health Systems Division. “Kids may have bad dreams, feel sick, have trouble concentrating and feel sad or angry.”

“This assistance will help Alaska as they recover from the earthquake and the aftershocks,” Saito said. “It also allows both states to learn and be more prepared for future events.”

The Alaska earthquake is a reminder for all Oregonians they should prepare for the state’s own possible earthquake and other natural disasters. People can prepare themselves by becoming familiar with how to maintain emotional well-being after a disaster, coming up with an emergency plan, and having a preparedness kit with two weeks’ worth of supplies.

Health care professionals can help people in Oregon be more prepared as communities and a state by signing up for their local medical reserve corps and SERV-OR at

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