ICHS receives $25,000 grant as part of KeyBank’s over $1.9 million community impact day

 

ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola and ICHS Foundation Director Ron Chew accept $25,000 KeyBank Community Impact Award on April 3.

 

International Community Health Services (ICHS) received a $25,000 grant from the KeyBank Foundation, as part of its April 3 Community Impact Day that totaled over $1.9 million to almost 20 nonprofits in the greater Seattle area. ICHS will use the funds to provide uncompensated care for target King County minority populations. In 2017, ICHS provided $1,265,435 in uncompensated care. Among nearly 31,000 patients, 41% were at or below the federal poverty level, 81% were people of color and 55% spoke limited English and needed interpretation services.

“We’re honored KeyBank recognizes ICHS’ work and success improving the health and wellness of our diverse communities with this $25,000 grant,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “KeyBank’s award will support ICHS health services for many of the area’s neediest and most vulnerable, including immigrants, refugees, elderly and the young.”

“Our mission is to help our communities thrive,” said KeyBank CEO Beth Mooney, who was in town from KeyBank’s Cleveland headquarters to announce the grants with Carol K. Nelson, pacific regional sales executive and Seattle market president. “Philanthropy is part of KeyBank’s DNA, and we are dedicated to building stronger communities and improving the lives of the people we call neighbors in the places we call home.”

Many of the nonprofit recipients were chosen by local Key Business Impact Networking Groups (KBINGs), employee groups that are a vital part of Key’s diversity and inclusion strategy to help KeyBank attract, engage, develop and retain a diverse workforce and inform Key’s business strategies. Seattle has eight active KBINGs: Key Executive Women’s Network, Young Professionals, Military Inclusion, African American, Asian/ Pacific Islanders, Hispanic/Latino, Champions of People of All Abilities and LGBTQA. The groups were on hand to help distribute the donations.

In the Seattle region, KeyBank actively invests in the communities it serves through philanthropy, volunteerism and board service.

 

Roger Chiu retiring after 38 years: ICHS “just like my family”

Roger Chiu, a long-time fixture at International Community Health Services (ICHS), has decided to retire this month after 38 years of dedicated service as ICHS laboratory manager and medical technician. He will be moving to Irvine, California to live closer to his son and daughter and their families.

Chiu, a modest, low-key individual, started at ICHS in 1980 right after he graduated from Seattle University’s medical technology program. At the time, ICHS was located in a storefront on Maynard Avenue, across from Hing Hay Park. Bruce Miyahara was the executive director. Chiu’s first job title was medical technologist.

“ICHS was very small, Chiu said. “The lab was on the first floor. It was a tiny space, only room for one person. I was the only one there.”

Chiu said ICHS has gone through a remarkable transformation. When he started his job, the agency only had about 30 employees. “At first, we only used paper,” he said. “In 2005, ICHS purchased NextGen software. We began putting the lab results into our Laboratory Information System, which interfaced with the software. The providers could see results right away. That made a big difference.”

Chiu, 64, said he enjoyed being able to spend his entire career at ICHS. “I liked my job because I got to work with other laboratory staff and use my skills to benefit our patients. I got to work in the lab, work with others at ICHS and interact with patients. That was a good mix.”

Some ICHS patients would specifically ask for Chiu to do their lab tests. “Some of our patients I know them from when they were just a little baby and now they are much taller than me now,” he said “It’s my privilege to serve them.”

Chiu said he will miss his co-workers. “They are just like my family,” he said. “We laughed and argued just like one. Actually I spent more time with them than with my biological family.”

ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola described Chiu as a “pillar” and “part of the foundational fabric” of ICHS. “He helped bolster our staff’s spirits and well-being over the years with his unassuming good nature, humor and deep caring.  We are so grateful for all these years.”

Join ICHS in celebration of National Health Center Week

Join International Community Health Services (ICHS) in celebration of National Health Center Week, from Aug. 12 to 18. The national campaign, themed, “Celebrating Health Centers: Home of America’s Health Care Heroes,” raises awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers, and the dedicated staff who bring health care to the medically underserved.

In 1973, ICHS opened as a small, volunteer-run storefront clinic in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, providing health services for low-income Filipino and Chinese elders and immigrant families.

“ICHS grew from the vision, grit and commitment of local community activists and leaders, who believed in meeting the need for affordable, skillful and culturally sensitive health care,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “From these humble origins, ICHS has grown to serve nearly 31,000 patients in 2017, representing 50 different language groups, at eight clinic locations.”

ICHS invites community members to help honor this legacy and ICHS’s role as part of a nationwide network of health centers that serve more than 27 million Americans. ICHS celebrations include:

  • Summer Cool Down at Holly Park clinic, Aug. 15, 11:30 am-1 pm. Cool summer refreshments and fun activities
  • Fun Fest at Bellevue clinic, Aug. 16, 10 am – 1 pm. Healthy activities, prizes and information for all people of all ages
  • Courtyard Celebration at International District clinic, Aug. 17, 10 am-1 pm. Something for everyone, children’s games, prizes, photo booth and more
  • ICHS: Our Story at the Shoreline clinic. Start of a historical exhibit honoring ICHS’s 45-year history in the 1st floor lobby. Learn more in a recent article in the International Examiner.

“The heroes who work at ICHS to make affordable health care possible for people in need – and their efforts as clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dentists and dental hygienists, behavioral health specialists, and much more – are at the center of this year’s National Health Center Week,” said Batayola.

Together, they produce innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in their communities. They reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and substance use disorders. It is their work that has helped reduce health care costs and reduce chronic disease, generating a record of success and along with it a long tradition of bipartisan support in Congress.

 

ICHS remembers Fred Yee

International Community Health Services offers its deepest condolences to the family of Fred Yee, former executive director and long-time board member of Kin On Health Care Center. Yee, who received the ICHS Bamboo Health Award in 2012, passed away at his home early Tuesday morning, Aug. 8 after an apparent heart attack. He was 67.

Yee received the Bamboo Health Award in recognition of his leadership in improving access to health services for Asians and Pacific Islanders in Washington state. In 1987, Kin On opened as the first bilingual Chinese nursing home in the Pacific Northwest.

“Fred’s passing is a very sad moment for many of us who’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with him,” said ICHS Foundation Director Ron Chew. “His bubbly upbeat attitude, unlimited passion for the community and commitment to serving the underserved were his greatest gifts. He was a wonderful role model and cherished friend. I will miss him deeply.”

Yee served as executive director of Kin On from 1988 to 1991. He remained active as a board member and chair after relinquishing the directorship to Sam Wan. Following his retirement, Yee served on the planning committee for a new partnership between ICHS and Kin On to develop a comprehensive health care and social service program for frail nursing home-eligible seniors, to be constructed on Beacon Hill in 2021.

Nigel Lo, Kin On CEO, said of Yee: “Fred was my trusted mentor and personal inspiration. His ideas, vision, and leadership was exemplified in the success of Kin On. His decades of experience, passion and dedication to serving our AAPI community were truly inspirational.”

A Celebration of Life will be held for Yee on Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to noon at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 8501SE 40th St., in Mercer Island. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Kin On Health Care Center, Chinese Information and Service Center or the Yee Fung Toy Family Association.

In memory of ICHS’s Duane Wald: 1953-2018

Since his hire in 2012, Duane Wald, ICHS construction representative, played an important role in all International Community Health Services’ (ICHS) construction and expansion projects. Wald, in particular, was instrumental in successfully building and launching the organization’s Bellevue, Shoreline and vision clinics, overseeing contractors and builders, from initial groundbreaking to opening day and beyond.

Wald passed away on July 12, leaving behind many colleagues and community members who will miss his resourceful and constant presence, and his dedicated work to keep the facilities at ICHS’s eight clinic locations in excellent condition and repair.

“Duane was hard to miss, the tallest guy at ICHS,” said Tim McDade, ICHS facilities supervisor. “If you saw him walking down the corridor of your clinic it usually meant something was getting fixed. He was extremely dedicated in his willingness to show up for work at any hour, day or night. During power outages he would help transfer vaccines between clinics. When a pipe froze and burst early in the morning, Duane was the first to show up.”

“Duane leaves behind many at ICHS who will miss him,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “Duane worked construction in Seattle for many years. He was with a large construction firm when he supervised the International District remodel in 2009. He was skeptical of community clinics but became curious about our impact on people. Then he came out of retirement to help ICHS build the Shoreline and Bellevue clinics. He loved ICHS and was fiercely protective of our sites. He was a huge part of the facility department.”

Wald is survived by his wife Zola, son Jerome and daughter Helki. Among his requests to friends and family was that they refrain from a memorial or donations, and remember him for his donation of his body to UW Medicine for research.

ICHS appoints Asqual Getaneh, MD as medical director

Minority health expert will address disparities among King County’s increasingly diverse residents

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced Asqual Getaneh, MD has been hired as medical director. Dr. Getaneh will oversee medical staff to ensure the continuous delivery of high quality, high impact care at ICHS’s eight medical clinics, located in Seattle, Bellevue and Shoreline.

Dr. Getaneh, who is Ethiopian American, speaks English, Spanish and Amharic, broadening her accessibility for ICHS patients and staff, who reflect a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. She has focused her career and research on improving health outcomes among minority, immigrant and refugee communities. Prior to her position with ICHS, Dr. Getaneh served as a medical director of a health center at Unity Health Care, the largest community health system in Washington, D.C.

“Dr. Getaneh’s background in global and community health, combined with research and success improving health outcomes among minority and underserved populations will strengthen ICHS’s capacity to connect area residents to language accessible and culturally sensitive health services.” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “Her appointment reflects ICHS’s ongoing work to build greater health equity. I’m pleased to welcome her back to Seattle as we welcome her to ICHS.”

“I look forward to Dr. Getaneh’s impact as ICHS continues to add health services and grow capacity to reflect the area’s changing needs. Through her past work and research, she has insight, in particular, that will allow us to better evaluate and meet the needs of King County’s emerging East African and Latino populations,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in working with diverse communities.”

Previously Dr. Getaneh served as an associate clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and as an attending physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She continued her work in Washington, D.C., as an attending physician in internal medicine at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and a research physician for MedStar Health Research Institute, where she focused on diabetes and hypertension research. Dr. Getaneh’s work, on topics ranging from the prevalence of diabetes, obesity and hypertension; diabetes control in Hispanics; and weight loss attempts among new immigrants, has been published in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of General Internal Medicine and the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. She is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Diabetes Association, the National Medical Association and the Society of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Getaneh has a medical degree and masters of public health from the University of Washington. She completed an internship in internal medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City, where she also completed a residency in primary care internal medicine. While in New York, she studied nutrition at the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

ICHS clinics lead in protecting kids against disease

Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue clinics honored as 2018 Immunize Washington award winners

International Community Health Service (ICHS) continues to set best practices for its work to protect young patients against future disease and improve vaccination rates in Washington state.

ICHS’s medical clinics in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue were recently honored as 2018 Immunize Washington award winners for outstanding success ensuring toddler and teen patients received their recommended vaccines. ICHS’s Seattle clinics in the Chinatown-International District and Holly Park neighborhoods had the highest immunization success rates for adolescents among all of the state’s medical providers.

The award comes on the heels of a prestigious national recognition in November honoring ICHS for outstanding achievements promoting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a defense against several types of cancers. ICHS chief medical officer, Rayburn Lewis, credited a coordinated, whole care team approach for the clinics’ success.

“ICHS recognizes the importance of protecting young people against future disease,” said Lewis. “As a result we take a proactive, multi-pronged approach that leverages every member and resource within the medical team. We also excel in addressing factors such as language and culture that influence the success of our efforts to connect our diverse communities with quality health care.”

As Gold providers, the ICHS Holly Park, Chinatown-International District and Shoreline medical clinics respectively immunized 83% of toddlers and 94% of teens, 90% of toddlers and 89% of teens, and 80% of toddlers. This is the fourth consecutive year the Holly Park and Chinatown-International District clinics have been awarded Gold status, which is given to providers with a minimum 80% success rate ensuring up-to-date patient immunization. The ICHS Shoreline and Bellevue clinics were respectively honored as Silver and Bronze providers for immunization of teens.

The Immunize Washington provider recognition program is overseen by the Washington Health Plan Partnership, which is coordinated by the Washington State Department of Health and the Washington State Health Care Authority. The program recognizes clinics vaccinating 70% or more of their toddler and/or teen patients with recommended vaccines.

 

Hepatitis B Coalition of WA and ICHS end silence with stories

2018 community forum on hepatitis b forum
Storytellers Alice Chan and Bright Ansah from the #Just B Story Telling Project share their experiences.

International Community Health Services (ICHS) and the Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington recently highlighted the power of storytelling as a tool to raise awareness of Hepatitis B. Although often at greater risk, many within U.S. immigrant and minority communities are reluctant to speak openly about the bloodborne disease, increasing the chances of developing serious health issues, including liver cancer.

On May 10, ICHS and the coalition jointly hosted the 2018 Annual Community Forum on Hepatitis B, inviting community leaders, health advocates and organizations to hear speakers from the #Just B Story Telling Project share firsthand experiences. Afterwards, attendees discussed how Hepatitis B continues to disproportionately affect the Asian Pacific Islander and African immigrant and refugee communities and renewed their commitment to raise awareness and knowledge about the disease.

“This was our first live storytelling event, so we weren’t sure what to expect,” said Mohammed Abdul-Kadir, Hepatitis Coalition of Washington coordinator. “Our courageous and well-trained storytellers effectively demonstrated how the sharing of authentic human experiences immediately breaks down barriers. Attendees were engaged, leading to an especially vibrant post-presentation discussion.”

“It was very powerful to hear the stories of people whose lives have been impacted by the Hepatitis B virus,” said an attendee. Another described the forum as “phenomenal.”

Abdul-Kadir was recently asked to share best practices in reducing cultural, linguistic and systemic barriers to Hepatitis B care by PRIME Education, LLC (PRIME®), a leader in quality improvement education. On May 23, Abdul-Kadir participated in a taping of a training video that will soon be offered to medical providers as part of PRIME’s continuing education curriculum.

2018 community forum on hepatitis b
Attendees during the Q&A session

ICHS and Executive Dow Constantine highlight value of school-based partnership in Bellevue

King County Executive Dow Constantine, Highland School-Based Health Center

On May 22, King County Executive Dow Constantine thanked International Community Health Services’ (ICHS) CEO Teresita Batayola for the health center’s role keeping kids healthy and learning at Highland Middle School. Executive Constantine was at the school to celebrate the partnerships behind ICHS’s school-based health center, which opened this fall as the first in Bellevue, and discuss connecting youth in King County with resources to stay strong and successful.

Batayola joined leaders from Best Starts for Kids, Youth Eastside Services (YES), Bellevue School District and Highland Middle School as they discussed serving an increasingly diverse Eastside community and the challenges facing immigrant and refugee youth and families.

“Immigrant and refugee youth carry the burden of making sure their families are connected,” said Batayola. “The stress and anxiety for them is huge.”

Following the discussion, Sherryl Grey, ICHS health and school services manager, provided Executive Constantine with a tour of the school’s clinic, including a tour of ICHS’s mobile dental clinic, which provides mobile dental services to schools around King County.

Read more about the Executive’s visit on the Best Starts for Kids blog.

In memory of Tosh Okamoto (1926-2018)

International Community Health Services (ICHS) honors the memory and mourns the passing of longtime community activist and dear friend Tosh Okamoto, who passed away on May 19.

“Tosh was one of my personal heroes and one of a handful of our community giants,” Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation director, said. “He was a visionary with a lifelong passion for health access, social justice and community empowerment. He was one of the most humble, compassionate and committed individuals I’ve ever known. At ICHS, we cherish his memory.”

Okamoto, a co-founder of Nikkei Concerns and longtime member and former commander of the Nisei Veterans Committee, changed countless lives for the better by helping establish the first Japanese American nursing home in the Pacific Northwest and fighting for the long-overdue recognition of thousands of Japanese American veterans who fought for the U.S. during World War II.

In 2015, Okamoto was recognized with the ICHS Bamboo Award for Health, honoring his work to improve the lives of disadvantaged and underserved local residents. In 2006, the Consul General of Japan presented him with the Order of the Rising Sun award in honor of his tireless work on behalf of the Japanese American community and in fostering friendship between the U.S. and Japan.