Anchorage Native Primary Care Clinic

Entrance to the Health Center at Night
Entrance to the Health Center at Night
Health Center entrance
Health Center entrance
Corridor and Bridge in the Health Center
Corridor and Bridge in the Health Center
Local Artwork in the Facility
Local Artwork in the Facility
Anchorage, Alaska
Opening Date: 
December 1, 1997
Type of Facility: 
380,000 sq ft.
Services Offered: Behavioral, Medical
Additional Services: Family medicine, Pediatric, Women's health, Complementary medicine, Traditional healing, Pharmacy, Lab, Radiology, Health information center
Safety Net Facility: 
Number of Staff: 
1,400 staff members

About This Clinic

For the past 10 years, Southcentral Foundation has been revisiting the design process for their Anchorage Native Primary Care Clinic. In 2009, 80,000 square feet was added. Informing the design is Southcentral Foundation's underlying principle; healthcare is not a product industry but primarily a service industry. The customer-owner is in control at the clinical encounter level, the system design level, and the board and executive leadership level. This shift in power informs program design and facility design.

Programming Process

Unique feature: Innovative primary care model using integrated care teams, coordinated systems supporting customer choice while building relationship-based, family-centered care.


The Southcentral Foundation Primary Care Clinic not only operates as a health center but as a community center as well. Opening in 1997, the primary care clinic's lobby is full of life containing a cafe, a place for members of the community to sell Alaska Native arts and crafts, utilize computers at the health information center, or even dance.


Connection to Community

Since Southcentral's re-design process has transformed the system, the clinic's better management of chronic conditions and whole system design has dramatically improved utilization (hospital days and ER use down 40% per capita) and clinical outcomes data. Developing relationship-based care and the same-day access policy has created an 80% match rate and customer-owner (patient) satisfaction (92% positive) and staff satisfaction has improved. The facility and program design now attract national and international attention as a model to be replicated elsewhere.


"A long-term personal relationship is where the health magic happens."

Southcentral Foundation motto


Built Environment Features

Native individuals and tribal leadership, throughout the design process, drove the design process along with the architecture team of NBBJ to ensure the building met their cultural and functional needs. Extensive glazing, rounded forms which reference the circle of life belief, and earth tones are found throughout the facility.


Roughly 45,000 patients are served at the Anchorage Native Primary Care Center in Anchorage, Alaska and the new physical space will constantly evolve. All walls within the new space will be moveable with plumbing and communications dropping from the ceiling. The provider offices will be arranged around the perimeter of the space with the exam rooms in the middle. Everything will happen in the same room bringing all the services to the patient. The physician, nurse case manager, nutritionist, and behaviorist will all see the patient within the same room - and imbedding a pharmacist in this process will be tested as well.


Southcentral Foundation believes that a personal relationship must be created to deliver the best possible care. For eight years the guarantee of same day access in person or on the phone to their care provider/team has promoted consistency and continuity in care. Many exam rooms, half of which will be called "talking rooms" will contain only a chair, furnishings, and a medical supply cabinet but not an exam table. The idea here is to lower the power differential and continue the process of building a relationship with the patient.


The waiting areas within the new clinic space will have mini-health information centers to further put information and control in the customer-owner's hands. A central staircase has been designed to encourage walking and exercise. There is an angled ceiling in the center of the building to reflect natural light and take advantage of the summer and winter solstices. High end finishes within public spaces reinforce self-confidence and pride within the community in which the clinic serves.


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