In the past few years, remote Alaska has seen a significant increase in the elderly population, and with that, a rise in the number of residents seeking medical help at the end of their lives. While the majority of these individuals have prepared wills and purchased health insurance, there is a large population that has not been as proactive about planning for their later years. This has led to a significant burden being placed on the state’s already-stretched healthcare system.


With a growing number of elders looking to secure their golden years, Alaska is turning to health educators to help educate the public about end-of-life healthcare issues. Katherine Pattinson, RN, has been selected to lead the state’s elderly healthcare, and as a result, has committed substantially to her role as a health educator. She is currently engaged in developing and presenting educational programs about the end of life and healthcare decision-making.


Katherine Pattinson is a licensed professional nurse and a registered nurse (RN) in the state of Alaska. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and has worked in a variety of settings, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, and even one of the state’s long-term care facilities. In 2004, Katherine co-founded the Alaska Association of Health Underwriters in order to provide expertise to healthcare agencies and individuals seeking to protect their assets through healthcare insurance planning.


As a nurse and health educator, Katherine’s interests lie in the area of Geriatric Medicine. She has a particular focus on medical issues that arise in the later years of an individual’s life, with a special interest in planning for the healthcare needs of the very elderly. She also has a keen interest in continuing education and in the latest healthcare advancements.


Katherine is an active member of the Geriatric Medicine Department at the Baylor College of Medicine, as well as a presenter at several local and national medical conferences. With increasing responsibilities and an increasingly occupied schedule, she finds the time to contribute professionally by writing for various medical journals, including the Annals of Internal Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. She also serves as a health advisor to a non-profit Elderly Care Planning Council in Juneau, Alaska.


Katherine is married to Neil Pattinson, an attorney who works in the area of elder law and healthcare planning. Together, they have a daughter named Ellie, who is a college junior. Aside from their family, Katherine’s biggest supporters are her close friends, many of whom are also nurses.

To learn more about the vital role that health educators play in educating the public about end-of-life healthcare issues and planning for the retirement years, visit the Alaska Association of Health Underwriters (3) or contact us at 902-736-5938 or