Congratulations to ICHS family medicine residency program graduates

On June 19, Lisa Chan, MD, and Tiffany Ho, MD, became the first graduates of the International Community Health Center (ICHS) family medicine residency program. Established in 2016, the program trains residents to practice in a community health care setting via a partnership with the Swedish Family Medicine Residency at Cherry Hill. It offers physicians three years of training alongside the medical staff at the ICHS International District Clinic.

“Lisa and Tiffany have done an outstanding job caring for our patients, building trust, compassion and advocacy,” said Jessica Guh, a physician at ICHS’s Holly Park Clinic and the program’s site director. “They have formed positive, collaborative relationships that have encouraged patients to be more involved in their health care decisions. They have helped the International District Clinic increase access and reduce barriers to patient care.”

Dr. Chan and Dr. Ho have also started a new tradition for future program graduates. At their graduation ceremony, they announced the Donnie Chin Memorial Mission Award, which will honor outstanding community service from an International District Clinic staff member. The inaugural award went to medical assistants Caiyou (Yoyo) Wu and Fengmei (May) Lin.

“We’re pleased to recognize Yoyo and May’s long-term commitment to the clinic and their dedication to our patients that goes above and beyond their clinical roles,” said Ho. “They’ve both been incredibly compassionate and have helped us tremendously.”

Family physicians are often a patient’s first point of contact. They care for patients of all ages and genders through all stages of life. They play a key role in overseeing preventative care, diagnosing new conditions and managing chronic illness. Residencies like the one at ICHS are important in ensuring there are enough qualified professionals to meet future needs.

“ICHS is taking a leading role in training the next generation of qualified health professionals to practice in community health,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “Improving health care outcomes for underserved communities starts with well-trained providers who have experience delivering culturally and linguistically competent care.”

ICHS hosts dental and advanced nurse practitioner residency programs in addition to its family medicine residency. More information about ICHS’s family medicine residency program can be found here. 

 

Sen. Bob Hasegawa and Rep. Cindy Ryu visit ICHS Legacy House

On June 19, Sen. Bob Hasegawa and Rep. Cindy Ryu visited ICHS Legacy House in support of healthy aging programs to help Chinatown-International District seniors thrive.

The lawmakers helped International Community Health Services (ICHS) usher in good fortune at an open house event, helping “feed” red envelopes to Chinese lion dancers from martial arts master Tony Au and his Seattle International Lion Dance Team. The traditional Chinese dance ended with messages of good luck that unfolded from the lions’ mouths and a burst of confetti to scare away evil spirits.

ICHS held the open house to celebrate its takeover of the operation of Legacy House from the Seattle Chinatown/International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda) on March 1, as well as its new Healthy Aging and Wellness Program (HAWP). Targeted to keep adults age 60 and older active and engaged in the community, HAWP includes assisted living at Legacy House, adult day services, a meal program at the Bush Asia Center and ICHS PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly), which begins enrollment on July 1.

ICHS board members, staff, partners and community members enjoyed refreshments, tours and entertainment, including dance performances from Legacy House residents.

May is Hepatitis B Awareness Month

The Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington (HBCW), an ICHS sponsored entity, in collaboration with the Hepatitis Education Project (HEP), a long-standing member of the coalition, hosted a breakfast session for its members on May 30 to commemorate Hepatitis B Awareness Month.

Presentations focused on bringing change through collaboration, a perinatal hepatitis B program and community-based outreach and screening programs were made by Nadine Shiroma, policy advisor for the Hepatitis B Foundation; David Baure, perinatal hepatitis B prevention program manager for Public Health – Seattle & King County; and Jason Sterne, COO of HEP.

Attending coalition members represented Public Health – Seattle & King County, Harborview Medical Center’s EthnoMed and Community House Call Program, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Washington State Department of Health, Asian Counseling and Referral Services, ICHS and HEP.

Hepatitis B Coalition, 2019
Hepatits B Coalition of Washington members at a breakfast session on May 30.

ICHS helping lead statewide efforts to protect kids against disease

Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue clinics recognized with 2019 Immunize Washington award

International Community Health Services (ICHS) continues to help lead efforts to protect children against disease and improve vaccination rates in Washington state. ICHS medical clinics in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue were recently honored as 2019 Immunize Washington award winners for successfully ensuring toddler and teen patients received their recommended vaccines.

“The current measles outbreak reminds us that protecting young people against future disease requires a community effort,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “Parents, schools and health care providers must all work together to address vaccine gaps and help provide accountability. ICHS is proud of its success safeguarding the health of the youth in our communities.”

As Gold providers, the ICHS Holly Park, Chinatown-International District and Shoreline medical clinics respectively immunized 99% of toddlers and 84% of teens, 96% of toddlers and 84% of teens, and 92% of toddlers. This is the fifth consecutive year the Holly Park and Chinatown-International District clinics have been awarded Gold status, which is given to providers with a minimum 80% patient immunization rate. The ICHS Bellevue clinic was honored a Bronze provider for its immunization of teens.

The Health Plan Partnership, a cooperative alliance of the Department of Health, Health Care Authority, Governor Jay Inslee and all the major health plans in Washington, has annually hosted the Immunize WA provider recognition program since 2014. The award recognizes clinics reaching immunization rates of 70% or higher in child and adolescent patient populations. With progressive increases each year, this year was the most successful to date. See the full 2019 Immunize Washington awardee list (PDF).

State capital budget grants $3.1M to ICHS mental health and healthy aging projects

Eastside clinic expansion and new North Beacon Hill senior care facility will address emerging health challenges facing King County’s communities

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is aggressively anticipating the health needs of King County’s increasingly diverse and aging residents with major projects bolstered by $3.1 million in funding from the state’s capital budget.

The Washington State Legislature has approved $1.6 million to expand mental health and substance use disorder services at ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic and $1.5 million to help ICHS construct an innovative new senior care facility on North Beacon Hill in partnership with Kin On Health Care Center.

“We’re pleased our state lawmakers recognize the value of ICHS and health centers in addressing community needs with these investments,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “We have a statewide need for a stronger mental health and substance use disorder care system.  America is aging rapidly and our local population is also growing older and frailer. ICHS is helping address these challenges with the expansion of our Bellevue clinic for the integration of behavioral health and primary care, and the creation of a facility that will keep our elders thriving within their communities.”

More behavioral health services will avert future crisis
Over the past three years, ICHS has added six behavioral health providers to keep up with the growing demand at its Bellevue Clinic. The state grant will allow ICHS to add space and staff for mental health, substance use disorder and opioid use disorder treatment, alongside medical and medication assisted treatment providers. With greater access to behavioral health care focused on prevention, early intervention and ongoing treatment, ICHS can help patients address issues before they grow more serious or life-threatening.

“Many of our patients already face language and other barriers when attempting to find mental health treatment. A shortage of space and providers only adds to the potential obstacles,” said Vanja Knezevic, Bellevue clinic health center manager. “Expanding our behavioral health offerings and available space will allow more of our community members to successfully address issues before they boil over and reach a crisis.”

Healthy aging at home, not a nursing home
Research shows seniors tend to live longer and be happier when they remain in their own homes. Nearly one in four King County residents will be 65 years or older by 2040. As ICHS has explored ways to help people age at home, it has partnered with Kin On, establishing Aging in PACE (AiPACE). AiPACE will provide integrated health care to allow seniors to “age in place” with easy access to preventive, primary, acute and long-term care and support services. AiPACE has launched a $20 million capital campaign to build a 25,000-square-foot facility on North Beacon Hill for nursing home-eligible seniors who will continue to live in their communities with individualized wrap-around health care, and social and transportation services.

“We’re thrilled to have gained state support in bringing innovative health care to keep our seniors living independently at home, in the community they love.” said Heidi Wong, AiPACE capital campaign manager. “Successfully receiving funding from this biennium is a major milestone in getting the capital campaign off to a strong start.”

‘Bellevue is growing bigger and better every day!’

On May 1, International Community Health Center (ICHS) staff celebrated the Bellevue Clinic’s five-year anniversary with cake, camaraderie and pride. Some staff members have been with the clinic since it first opened and have seen it grow into a vital community resource first-hand.

Today, ICHS serves more than 5,000 patients at the Bellevue Clinic annually, providing high-quality, affordable medical, dental and behavioral health care with translation services in more than 50 languages.

“I think what makes ICHS Bellevue special is the diversity of people, beliefs and ideas,” said Anh Phi, lead medical eligibility specialist. “Variety is the spice of life. I love talking to our patients and staff and opening myself up to new things.”

The Bellevue clinic marked ICHS’s first location on the Eastside, as well as a critical juncture in its evolution from a single, volunteer-run clinic into a major regional health center. Since its opening, the clinic has continuously added staff, programs and services that have allowed it to be adaptive to the needs of the local community. This year, the clinic added suboxone treatment for opioid addiction.

“It is an honor to work at the clinic that serves my family, friends and neighbors,” said Vanja Knezevic, Bellevue Clinic health center manager. “Every day, I take pride and am grateful that I have an opportunity to serve the community I live in.”

“Bellevue is growing bigger and better every day,” said Stephanie Light, lead medical receptionist. “I’m glad to be part of something so beneficial to my community.”

The ICHS Bellevue Clinic also works in close coordination with other community organizations to remove barriers to patients’ good health and to support safer neighborhoods, nutritious foods, green spaces, jobs, housing and economic opportunity. For example, a partnership with Eastside Legal Assistance Program gives low income patients access to free legal help.

The ICHS Bellevue Clinic has been so successful it has nearly outgrown its current capacity. A $1.6 million grant from the state legislature will soon add additional space for preventative behavioral health programs and services that will help fuel the next phase of its development.

The community agrees that ICHS in Bellevue has only gotten better with time.

“Doctors here are awesome,” wrote one patient in celebration of the clinic’s fifth birthday. “They’re really experienced, knowledgeable and kind.”

“ICHS plays such an important role in keeping our community healthy,” affirmed another.

Happy fifth birthday ICHS Bellevue!

Bellevue Clinic, events, 5th anniversary
Dr. Sing Hsie, who has been with the Bellevue Clinic since day one, cuts the cake.

ICHS raises $280,000 at 2019 Bloom Gala fundraiser

International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation raised a record-breaking $280,000 at its annual Bloom Gala, held on April 27 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. Approximately 400 guests attended to help ICHS guarantee health services for uninsured patients. Last year, ICHS provided over $1 million in uncompensated care.

“Our thanks to our sponsors and supporters for giving from the heart to help us put health and wellness within everyone’s reach,” said ICHS Foundation Director Ron Chew. “When people and families are healthy, they can live more fully and contribute more so our families, communities and cities thrive.”

Among the major gifts was a $10,750 check Revered Derek Nakano presented to Chew. The gift came from proceeds from the Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church’s 2019 Sukiyaki Dinner.

ICHS annually honors one individual and one organization for their service and contributions to the health and well-being of Asian Pacific Islander and immigrant communities. This year, Sam Wan, former CEO of Kin On Health Care Center, and the Seattle Chinatown-International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), a longtime non-profit partner, were recognized with the 2019 Bamboo Awards for Health.

ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola called for all present to extend their support beyond the event and into their communities. She asked guests to join her in honoring the legacy left by Jan Ko Fisher, ICHS’s longest serving board member, who passed away in late 2018.

“Show up and act in all kinds of ways to fight injustice and assure basic human rights,” said Batayola. “Showing up honors the fierce commitment of Jan Ko Fisher, the hundreds of volunteers like her, and the hundreds of ICHS staff who treat, counsel and support our patients and families in the region, regardless of status. ICHS is here to keep access to quality health care alive for generations.”

Anh Ta, ICHS nurse practitioner resident, made remarks that brought home the enduring value of the ICHS mission. She described how her family emigrated from Vietnam in 2002. Unable to speak English and afraid, Anh described being welcomed at ICHS, no questions asked, by staff who “spoke my language.” One day, she vowed, she would come back to work at ICHS and give back to her community.

Sen. Patty Murray visits Highland Middle School Health Center

U.S. Senator Patty Murray visited the ICHS Highland Middle School Health Center on April 18, to learn how giving access to medical, dental and behavioral health services right on school campus is helping our Eastside community become stronger and thrive.

By making it easier for students to access needed health care and counseling services, ICHS is helping reduce health disparities for Bellevue families. The bottom line? Healthy students are better able to learn and succeed. The school-based health center, offered in partnership with Youth Eastside Services, ICHS and the Bellevue School District, with funding from Best Starts for Kids, was opened in fall of 2017. Read more here.

Senator Patty Murray, Highland MS, 2019

From left to right (back): Kendall Watanabe, ICHS health educator; Rosaly Rivero Gonzalez, ICHS clinic care coordinator; Steven Ono, Highland MS counselor; Judy Buckmaster, executive director of community development, Bellevue School District; Katie Klug, Highland MS principal; David Downing, director of operations, Youth Eastside Services; Christine Chew, Bellevue School Board president; Tess Sorbo, ICHS nurse practitioner. Left to right (front): WA State Senator Patty Murray; Sherryl Grey, ICHS senior health services manager; Sarah Burdell, behavioral health specialist, Youth Eastside Services.

ICHS expands breast cancer prevention with $105,000 Susan G. Komen Grant

B-HOPE project aims to improve survival rates for women facing barriers to breast health information and screenings

International Community Health Services (ICHS) was awarded a $105,000 community grant from Susan G. Komen Puget Sound that will expand women’s breast cancer prevention. The grant supports the ICHS Breast Health Outreach, Prevention, and Education (B-HOPE) project, which promotes early breast cancer detection among low income, minority, immigrant and refugee women in Seattle and King County.

“We are thrilled to see our extensive experience and impact within the community recognized with our largest Komen grant to date. It will allow us to move our B-HOPE project beyond education and outreach, to also include screening, diagnosis and follow up,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “ICHS’s Women’s Preventive Health Services and community advocacy programs have received funding from Komen’s Puget Sound chapter for more than a decade. Our long partnership is grounded in a mutual commitment to make screenings more accessible to all women because early detection saves lives.”

The B-HOPE project prioritizes outreach to the Pacific Islander, Latina, Asian Indian and East African communities, with a focus on women who have never or rarely had a breast health exam. Key activities will include providing breast health education at community events, offering interpretation and help signing up for health insurance, organizing community presentations and support groups, and providing free or low cost screenings at ICHS clinics and health fairs through a partnership with Swedish Mobile Mammography Services.

“This grant will allow us to reach women who have traditionally had difficulty accessing preventative care, including immigrants and refugees who may not have access to affordable screenings or treatment in their home countries,” said Rana Amini, ICHS health services manager, on behalf of ICHS at Komen’s 2019 Community Impact Celebration on April 18. “The inability to find providers who can speak their language can be a grave difficulty. Cultural barriers can keep women from accessing the care and support that they need. For example, some women may not feel comfortable discussing breast health with male providers. Others may associate medical treatment with pain or sickness. For these reasons, patient navigation and education are crucial to reducing barriers to breast cancer screenings for low-income women and those who speak limited English.”

In 2018, ICHS helped more than 5,000 women better understand the importance of early breast cancer detection through its activities at community events and health fairs. Since 2008, more than 24,000 women have received mammograms through ICHS, and more than 36,000 women have benefited from breast health outreach and education offered by B-HOPE staff. Among the ways ICHS partners with Komen is through its annual support of the “Race for the Cure,” now known as the “More than Pink” walk. On June 2, an ICHS fundraising team will join this year’s walk at Seward Park.

According to Susan G. Komen’s 2015 community profile report, area Pacific Islander women are most likely to be late in detecting breast cancer among all ethnic groups. Fifty-eight percent are not diagnosed until a late stage. Pacific Islander women also have the lowest five-year survival rate at 82%.

2019 Komen grant, health services