Core Concepts is a hands-on, interactive training that is required for all SCF employees. It creates common language and alignment in SCF philosophy, values, and goals as an organization. This supports flexibility in how the goals are met, empowering employees to be creative and active team members to achieve those goals. Core Concepts provides communication tools, including best practices to listen and respond to story, which is heavily tied to Alaska Native and American Indian culture.

SCF has several opportunities for you to experience Core Concepts either in-person or virtually:

In-Person, 3-Day Core Concepts

June 13-15, 2022

Registration $2500 Group rate available, contact to learn more

This is hosted as part of our Nuka Conference lineup!

Learning objectives

  • Understand your relational style
  • Understand how your experiences contribute to how you approach others
  • Understand the power of empathy and compassion for yourself and others
  • Align your aspirations, intentions, and behaviors
  • Understand how you can create shared vision conversations
  • Understand the impact of intentions
  • Understand how to listen effectively
  • Understand how good dialogue and productive conversations will affect SCF
  • Explore tools for having good conversations

Virtual, 2-Day Introduction to Core Concepts

August 30-31, 2022
September 29-30, 2022

Registration $999
Group rate $799 for 5 or more.

Learning objectives

Recognize the importance of relationships and personal connection within the Nuka System of Care

  • Reflect on the power of empathy and compassion
  • Describe the importance of story

Demonstrate how to share and respond to story

  • Articulate one’s story from the heart
  • Offer responses that promote healing
  • Identify responses that can harm

Create an environment for improved communication and relationships through shared vision

  • Define creative tension and how to resolve it
  • Visualize and share personal and professional aspirations

Reasons to Attend

Based on a SCF study that looked at customer-owner (SCF’s term for patient) quality of care (n=2,126), customer-owners who report having a strong relationship with their primary care provider are more likely to report having a strong health rating. Additionally, the likelihood of a strong health rating increases with an increase in provider empathy.

Core Concepts also encourages SCF employees to engage fully in their jobs and the people they work with, which also increases positive outcomes across the organization. Based on a 2020 SCF organizational employee satisfaction survey (n=1,975), 81% indicated using Core Concepts in their personal and professional life. 79% feel comfortable sharing their story with their supervisor. SCF employees who felt supervisors use Core Concepts also indicated a higher satisfaction with their supervisor.

“It helps me appreciate people – their personalities and the reminder that everyone has a story. It helps me treat others with kindness and understanding. Everyone is fighting a battle at some point.”
– Core Concepts Participant

SCF’s Core Concepts training supports SCF’s philosophy of customer-driven, relationship-based care. The training supports SCF employees, teaching them the communication skills to build relationships with customer-owners and each other, and has successfully been adapted for other organizations. Core Concepts has helped SCF become nationally and internationally known for high-quality health care, and has the potential to help other organizations on their journeys as well.


  • Articulate your story from the heart and understand the power of empathy and compassion for yourself and others
  • Align your personal and professional aspirations and create shared vision
  • Recognize how relational styles and experiences contribute to how you impact others
  • Identify methods for good dialogue and productive conversations


Core Concepts was “embarking on an in-depth emotional exploration, sharing my own story, and absorbing others’ as a vehicle to ingrain Nuka’s core concepts”.

– George Bugarinovic

“What has touched me in a very personal way is the power of narrative; it’s actually something I’ve thought about and that I’ve taught about, but never in the way that I experienced in Core Concepts. I personally had the experience of sharing my story and it will be something that I can bring home and share with my patients and my students in a way that I couldn’t have before.”

– Russell S. Phillips, Director of the Harvard Center for Primary Care

“The Core Concepts idea is still fresh for me and certainly, it will take some time to get fully involved; but I must admit SCF Core Concepts works. It connects people and builds relationships and I can still feel a close connection with my learning circle of friends at the Southcentral Foundation.”

– Harold D. Goings, Jr. II M.A.M, Talent Management Officer

“Storytelling is a very powerful tool that touches the heart. It has touched my heart. It gladdens my heart that all of you in leadership and governance are prepared to share, to make your life an open book; how you’ve had healing through building relationships in your system of care.”

– Chee Yam Cheng, Previous CEO, National Healthcare Group, Singapore

Survey Feedback

An SCF-led, post-training survey was conducted after the 2015 pre-conference Core Concepts workshop with about 60 responses, which was approximately a 94 percent response rate. Following are some of the comments and data from the survey:

“Ability to speak to people at every level, ability to make this comfortable and trust each other and inspired hope for change…Will be the change I want to see.”

“Just fabulous. One of my best to life experiences. And I tend to be an opposer so I really mean that!”

“Profound experience. Sublime facility. Truly nurturing of our humanness. Your vision is beautiful! I wish this were a part of every helping profession (or any professional) education!”

“[Core Concepts] helps me appreciate people – their personalities and the reminder that everyone has a story,” a participant explained. “It helps me treat others with kindness and understanding. Everyone is fighting a battle at some point.”

99percent indicated they understood how Core Concepts assists them with relating to the people they serve.

97 percent indicated they will use the information at Core Concepts to improve their agency.

20 percent increase in reported understanding of how his/her past experience and/or relational style affects his/her approach with others.

25 percent increase in reported understanding of the importance of supporting the development of relationship building skills to improve health care.

Core Concepts Consulting

More than 1,200 organizations have participated in SCF’s Core Concepts, often sending multiple employees at a time. Several have contracted to implement the training at their organization. Implementation has varied from full customization of Core Concepts for their organizational values and culture with train-the-trainer sessions to SCF-hosted virtual Core Concepts.

If this is something you or your organization are interested in doing, please contact us.

Southcentral Foundation Core Concepts Agenda

7-8 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
8-11:15 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

• Southcentral Foundation Overview

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Context and Purpose of Core Concepts Training
12:15-1:15 p.m. Lunch
1:15-1:30 p.m. Wellness Activity
2:30-3:15 p.m. SCF Leader Models Sharing a Story
3:15-4:45 p.m. SCF Model Responding
4:45-5 p.m. Tying it all together


7-8 a.m. Registration and Breakfast
8-8:15 a.m. Welcome

•Check in

• Overview of Day

8:15-10 a.m. SCF Leader Models Sharing a Story
10-Noon Communication Tools Learn & Practice

•Mental Models – Ladder of Inference
•Quality Interactions: 4 Practices & Flow of Conversation

Noon-1 p.m. Lunch
1-1:15 p.m. Wellness Activity
1:15-2 p.m. SCF Leader Models Sharing a Story
2-4:45 p.m. Communication Tools Learn & Practice

•Left-Hand Column
•Relational Styles
•Kantor’s 4-Player Model

1:15-2 p.m. SCF Leader Models Sharing a Story
4:45-5p.m. Tying it all Together
8-8:30 a.m. Welcome

Check in

Overview of Day

8:30-9:30 a.m. Welcome

SCF Leader Models Sharing a Story

9:30-9:45 a.m. Sharing Story Preparation
9:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Participants Sharing Stories in Learning Circles
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lunch
1:30-1:45 p.m. Wellness Activity
1:45-2:30 p.m. Personal Vision and Creative Tension
2:30-3 p.m. Review of Training
3-5 p.m. Large Group Debrief


Additional Resources


Information on how traditional values help guide SCF’s Core Concepts


Article describing the process of creating and implementing Core Concepts training at SCF