In this Highlight series, we get to know the leaders of BANA.
Board Member Highlight: Chris Devlin, FNP, EdS Nurse Practitioner for Alaska Tribal Health System.
Devlin sees BANA’s educational focus as most important “….in addition to touting the benefits of bathing in mineral springs, but, also, in providing a source and network that can cross all lines of balneological interest and study”.
A family Nurse Practitioner for over 30 years, Devlin spent most of his career working within the Alaska Tribal Health system, including a decade as the Executive Director for a non-profit tribal health organization providing care throughout the Aleutian Islands. He describes himself as “semi retired” now and is engaged with developing a sustainable, 55 and older cooperative in Hot Springs, Montana. The town of about 600 people has several public outdoor mineral spring pools, as well as indoor private tub bathing options.
“The Alameda Hot Springs Retreat [which he is one of nine cooperative shareholders] is more low key, quiet and peaceful.” Guests can soak in mineral water in the privacy of their room. He explained that the area was originally a peaceful gathering place, for nearby Tribes. Later, settlers moved to the Camas Springs area, and the town grew….for awhile. Prosperity was short lived. Like so many “mineral water” towns, the soaking boom began to fade in the 1950’s.
Devlin sees a resurgence happening in people soaking in hot springs for health and wellness. He spends as much time as possible soaking in hot springs, sometimes traveling to remotes parts of the world to do so! In addition to his interest in the balneotheraputic uses of thermal mineral water, he is also interested in the “direct use” of the resource in sustainable energy and permaculture practices.
Where and When did you first ‘Take the Waters’?
Liard Hot Springs, BC, Canada, in November 1974. Hitchhiking from Alaska to NYC. Saw a “hot spring” on the map and asked the driver to stop so we could check it out. A wonderful memory of a first soak!
What projects are you currently working on for BANA?
I’ve been focused on internal BANA governance issues and on “spreading the word” about Balneology to colleagues in the medical field.
What is the current interest in Hot Spring in the United States and North America?
I’ve recently participated in the development of a 55 and older “hot spring” housing cooperative in MT.
What industry opportunities do you feel BANA is ready to meet?
We can provide support and information to “hot springs communities” trying to re-new public interest in soaking.
What is your main goal for BANA in 2016?
I’d like to see progress on developing educational offerings for health providers.