CIRI shareholder Chrystal Marie Moon is the only health aide in her village of Tyonek, Alaska, and that means high stress and being on-call virtually any moment of the day for a minor health concern or a serious injury or illness.
Health aides provide direct care, and that may be during normal business hours, or it may be at night or on weekends or holidays.
For Moon, it’s all part of the job. And while the stress and responsibility weigh down one side of the coin, she points out that the flip side is “the satisfaction and the joy of being able to give back and enjoy what I do and be able to call it a job.”
Moon isn’t satisfied with standing still and recently attained the Community Health Aide IV Status, after successful completion of a month-long commitment to elevating her skill set at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium’s Community Health Aide Program Training Program in Anchorage late last year.
The 30-year-old Moon is the daughter of Arnie and Susanna Moon, and the granddaughter of Susanna Tumbleson. She is the great-granddaughter of Nora McCord.
“I relocated back to Tyonek in 2005 where my maternal family is from. I grew up and was raised in Anchorage,” she said. “I am the proud mother of Christy DeAnn, 12; Dominic-James Kolea, 10; Desmond Ka’eo, 10; and Dulcinea-Jade Ku’uipo Roselani, 5.”
Becoming a Health Aide has taken a lot of dedication on Moon’s part. As a prerequisite, she attained her ETT (Emergency Trauma Technician) status as well as her EMT I status. Prior to beginning her Health Aide career, Moon graduated with honors from Certified Medical Assisting training and also Phlebotomy training. She said The CIRI Foundation (TCF) assisted with scholarship funding for both.
Moon said she feels that her cultural background is a big plus for her in Tyonek because it helps her connect with people. Moon said among the health issues in Tyonek is the prevalence of diabetes. She is also concerned about obesity, tobacco use and alcohol abuse.
Moon said education is important to her because of how it benefits her as well as her children. She feels it’s important for her children to see that education never ends and that there are opportunities for all.
Moon credits her parents as being her mentors and said she is inspired by their dedication to their children’s happiness. She also credits her Aunt Betty for her no nonsense advice and her CHAP advisors Paul Hagar and Carolyn Craig, her supervisor Cassandra Trenton and previous health aide Walter Starkloff for their mentoring. Moon also said she is also grateful to Dr. Shanda Lohse, her referral doctor from Southcentral Foundation, and her case manager, Susan Thompson.
Moon said her advice for young people (and those young at heart) is to focus on education. “Always move forward. Road blocks may slow you down but don’t stop moving forward even if you have to take a step back to redirect. Take a look at where you are and what you want. Don’t lose sight of your goals. Keep working and take each day for what it is. Don’t give up.”