Rural Human Services

The Rural Human Service (RHS) Certificate Program is a 34-credit University of Alaska academic program developed for Alaska village-based human service providers. It is intended for rural residents who are natural helpers and healers in their communities, and it is designed to help further develop skills and credentials in the helping profession. RHS offers a culturally appropriate training program designed for rural, village-based human service workers. Skills and training are provided in services such as crisis intervention, suicide prevention, community development, and counseling in mental health, substance abuse, interpersonal violence, grief, and healing.

Rural Human Services is built on Alaska Native traditional values. The program validates respective traditions to facilitate the healing of people in rural Alaskan communities. A unique aspect of RHS is that it uses Alaska Native cultures, traditions, and learning styles. Elders are a vital part of program design and class instruction. Courses blend Native and Western knowledge, values, and principles. The program enhances self-awareness and personal growth. RHS emphasizes cooperative learning and is grounded in the oral tradition. Learning techniques include observation, oral communication, hands-on experience, and skill applications for use in rural Alaska.

Rural Human Services (RHS) is a statewide effort. RHS embraces the Alaska Mental Health Board's goal to have at least one trained rural human service provider employed in each of Alaska's 171 villages. The program represents successful partnerships and collaborations in rural Alaska, with faculty from the University of Alaska, representatives from the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services, Alaska Native elders, Alaska Native Health Corporations, rural mental health centers, and the RHS Council who work closely together in an effort to best meet the needs of rural Alaskans.




Janine Smith-Baker

Program Administrator

Interior Alaska Campus

810 Draanjik Fr., Fairbanks, Alaska

Rural Human Services statewide program is housed at Interior Alaska Campus


Robyn Henry

Associate Professor

Anchorage Campus


Diane McEachern

Assistant Professor

Kuskokwim Campus

201 Akiak Dr., Bethel, Alaska