Bethel Family Clinic (BFC) is located in the heart of Bethel, Alaska, a small town of approximately 6,500 people, mainly Yup’ik Eskimos, people who have lived in the area for over 1000 years. Bethel serves as a hub for nearly 50+ surrounding villages lining the Kuskokwim River, the longest river in a single state. The service region is roughly the size of the state of Oregon and has abundant wildlife which makes it a paradise for hunting and fishing. BFC is a Federally Qualified Health Center that receives HHS funding.
The health center opened in 1981 and has grown since, adding a dental clinic and an expanding behavioral health program. The medical clinic is in a new building, less than two years old.
Bethel, located on the Kuskokwim River 40 miles from the Bering Sea and 400 air miles from Anchorage, is a commercial center and medium-draft port for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, providing food, fuel, medical care, and other services for 56 surrounding villages. Home to a population of 5,665 residents, Bethel is the largest bush (rural) community in Alaska.
Bethel is 68 percent Alaska Native or part Alaska Native. Traditional Yup’ik Eskimo practices and language remain predominant in the area, as do subsistence activities such as the gathering of salmon, game birds, and berries. Carrying on the commercial history, Bethel is still a marketplace for Eskimo ivory carvings, baskets, qaspeqs, fur hats, and other craft items. The hub community also features a 3-lane swimming pool & exercise gym, a movie theater, a farm, arts and crafts stores, a regional hospital, court building, and jail and the regional school district.
With daily air service from Anchorage and the most cabs per capita in the US, Bethel is easy to get to and accessible for visitors to experience the unique community.
The Camai Native Dance Festival is a main event in late March or early April. This is a celebration of culture through art and dance performed by many local and international indigenous groups. Bethel is also the home of the K-300 Sled Dog Race held each January, bringing many of the top dog mushers to compete.