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Alaska Native Epidemiology Center

The Healthy Portraits Project

Health facts are important. Some of these facts, however, can be discouraging. What would happen if we focused on healthy community activities?— Healthy Portraits does just that.

Healthy Portraits highlights healthy success stories through photography and storytelling. It is a way to celebrate communities making positive changes towards wellness. This project is different in two ways—1) it focuses on healthy change, and 2) it returns the photos back to the communities.

Story Thumbnail of Boy Skiing

the story

We find Alaska health stories that inspire, motivate, and bring communties together.

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the photos

Boy holding large photograph of himself skiing

To photograph the story, we travel to each community at least twice.

the return

On the last visit, we return the photos to celebrate their success stories of health.

Tyonek Grown

The Tyonek Garden - photos to come...

This year, the Alaska Native Epicenter partnered with the Tyonek Tribal Conservation District (TTCD) to tell the story of the amazing community garden in the Native Village of Tyonek.

ANTHC EpiCenter staff visited the garden over the summer to photograph the garden blessing, cooking demonstrations, and the harvest. Stay tuned for stunning photographs of the garden's progress and the community members who made it happen!

2013: NANANordic

NANANordic’s goal is introduce the lifetime sport of cross-country skiing to rural Alaska starting with villages in the NANA region. In April 2013, 1,500 students were introduced to skate skiing in the 11 villages making up the NANA region. Additionally, NANANoridic visited White Mountain in the Bering Strait Region and Anaktuvuk Pass in the North Slope Region. –source:

ANTHC EpiCenter staff, along with NANA shareholder and photographer Craig Billingsley, photographed NANANordic and their involvement with the communities of the Northwest Arctic Region. They traveled with NANANordic to the villages of Noatak and Shungnak to tell their stories. In August of 2013, they returned to give the photos back to the communities where they will be permanently displayed. The hope is that the photos will continue to inspire healthy choices and acheivements.

NANA Development Corporation LogoNANANordic Program Logo

Share Your Story Idea

The Tyonek Garden and NANANordic are just a couple of the many stories about positive, healthy activitives in Alaska Native communities.

The Healthy Portraits project takes place every other year. Help us find more projects like these to highlight with the next Healthy Portraits project. Send us your ideas!