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.

ICHS raises over $250,000 for uncompensated care at 2018 Bloom Gala

International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation raised more than $250,000 to support uncompensated care at its annual Bloom Gala, held on May 5, attracting nearly 400 guests at the downtown Seattle Sheraton. Major gifts included $25,000 from the KeyBank Foundation, $20,000 from the Sheng Yen Lu Foundation and $10,000 from the Ark and Winnie Chin Foundation. Last year, ICHS provided $1.3 million in care to low-income patients who could not afford to pay for services.

“I thank everyone who turned out tonight to ‘Raise the Paddle’ and give so generously,” said ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew. “ICHS is fortunate to have the support of so many who share our vision of healthier people, thriving families, empowered communities and a just society.”

This year’s Bloom Gala celebrated ICHS’ 45th anniversary. A number of current and former ICHS board members and staff were present to help honor ICHS’s past and its remarkable evolution from a small volunteer-run clinic to a full-service health center serving nearly 31,000 patients at eight clinic locations. Among them, Janyce Ko Fisher, Hiroshi Nakano, Dorothy Wong, Dr. Alan Chun and Hermes Shahbazian were honored with the Sapphire Leadership Award for their contributions and leadership, while ICHS Board and Foundation board presidents Gildas Cheung and Leeching Tran recognized Chew and ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola for their pivotal impact.

Batayola’s keynote speech reminded attendees of ICHS’s early founders, local university students and activists, who envisioned providing a place to care for the health care needs of low income, elderly Filipino and Chinese-speaking residents of Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. She drew parallels between their initial dream and ICHS’s efforts to fill the needs of a new generation of patients and immigrant arrivals.

“Much of what our founders fought for—and the proud legacy we stand on—continues to be under siege from national leaders who stoke fear and animosity against immigrants and refugees,” she said. “We will not be cowed into inaction.”

2018 Bloom Gala award winners

 

 

 

ICHS deepens leadership to enhance pharmacy care

Veteran pharmaceutical executive Rachel Koh joins as senior director of pharmacy services

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced Rachel Koh has been named senior director of pharmacy services, a newly created leadership position that will drive enhancements to ICHS’s pharmacy capabilities. Koh will be responsible for the administration of ICHS’s retail pharmacy operations, management of medication and vaccines within ICHS clinics, and developing new models of pharmacy care for ICHS’s rapidly expanding senior services programs.

Koh most recently served as the vice president of clinical product strategy for ZeOmega, where she helped develop new product and market strategies. She also led all certification and accreditation efforts. A pharmacist by training, Koh has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical and health care leadership experience.

“ICHS is constantly evolving with the changing needs of our patients, many of whom are low income, immigrants or refugees who face challenges to access to health care and affordable prescription drugs,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “As we add Rachel to the leadership team, we are strengthening our institutional response to the needs of our diverse communities, and to a sizeable local population that is getting older. A strong model of pharmacy care is important as we implement innovative programs of all-inclusive care for the elderly that allow them to ‘age in place’ within familiar and supportive surroundings.”

“I look forward to Rachel’s contributions as ICHS seeks greater efficiency and enhanced capabilities in giving our patients excellent and affordable pharmacy-related care,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “Her background and experience will be invaluable as we seek greater standardization of pharmacy operations, streamline the delivery of ICHS’s pharmacy services and boost patients’ access to new and emerging drugs and treatments.”

Prior to ZeOmega, Koh was associate vice president of pharmacy for Community Health Plan Washington, where she oversaw administration of pharmacy benefits. She also served in pharmacy leadership roles for organizations including Community Health Plan Washington, Group Health Cooperative and Eckerd Drugs. Koh has a MBA from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s of pharmacy from the University of Kansas.

“I’m excited about joining ICHS and returning to the non-profit sector,” said Koh. “As a first generation immigrant, I feel a strong connection to the ICHS mission and the communities it serves. I look forward to using my knowledge and experience, particularly in advanced technology applications that enhance delivery of health services, to expand the scope of ICHS’s pharmacy care.”

 

 

ICHS celebrates 45th anniversary and honors transforming leaders at 2018 Bloom Gala

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced five recipients of the 2018 Bloom Gala Sapphire Leadership Award, to be given at the 2018 Bloom Gala on May 5.

The Sapphire Leadership Award was designated in celebration of ICHS’ 45th anniversary to honor ICHS leaders, both past and present, for transforming ICHS from a small, storefront clinic into a health center providing comprehensive care with medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmaceutical and other health services at eight clinic locations.

“I’m pleased we are recognizing long-standing board members Janyce Ko Fisher and Hiroshi Nakano. We’re equally pleased to honor Dorothy Wong, Dr. Alan Chun and Hermes Shahbazian for their seminal leadership in adding behavioral health and dental services, and acknowledging our communities’ health care needs beyond the Chinatown/International District to open the Holly Park clinic. These steps advanced ICHS beyond its birth origins,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “These leaders offer us inspiration and a reminder to dream and persevere as we face new challenges and as those we serve face new threats to continued access to affordable, high quality health care.”

ICHS Sapphire Leadership Award recipients

Each year, ICHS honors those whose service has improved the lives of ICHS target populations of disadvantaged and underserved residents at the Bloom Gala. This year’s award goes to:

Hiroshi Nakano

Hiroshi has served on the ICHS Board since 1997, often filling key leadership roles. He is a long-time ICHS consumer. He currently serves on the Quality Management Committee and Compliance Committee. He is vice president of value based initiatives for Valley Medical Center and serves as a member of the Washington Health Exchange Board.

Hiroshi has worked in the health care field for the past 30 years. “My greatest accomplishment was helping stabilize the ICHS board during a turbulent time in its evolution, getting alignment on a common mission and building new leadership. We’ve had success, but it has taken 15 years. A lot of non-profits fail at this. A lot of credit goes to the community for rallying to support ICHS at key junctures when we’ve needed them.”

 

Janyce Ko Fisher

Janyce Ko Fisher first joined ICHS in the early 1970s as a volunteer lab technician at the Asian Community Health Clinic on Beacon Hill, the forerunner to ICHS. Recruited to the cause by Dr. Allen Muramoto, an activist and founder honored by the ICHS Foundation in 2017, Janyce has served on the ICHS Board since 1975. She graduated from the University of Washington in 1971 with a medical technologist degree. Janyce has been working as clinical laboratory scientist at Seattle Children’s Hospital since 2001.

Janyce says she continues to be inspired by the ICHS mission of service to the community and providing quality affordable care to underserved populations. “I can’t believe how much ICHS has grown from that small free weekly clinic on Beacon Hill. It’s given me great satisfaction to be part of this.”

 

Dorothy Wong

Dorothy served as ICHS executive director from 1993 to 2005. During her tenure, ICHS helped establish the Community Health Plan of Washington, the first not-for-profit managed care plan in Washington State. Under Dorothy, ICHS grew from a budget of $1.9 million to $15 million and ICHS expanded its services to Holly Park, and the ID clinic found a new home in the International District Village Square. After leaving ICHS, she worked as executive director of Chinese Information and Services Center from 2013 until October 2017.

Dorothy says her proudest moment was getting ICHS into the ID Village Square. “We were in a spacious facility that met health code requirements and we got new furniture and medical equipment. We also added dental services at this site. The momentum from this community effort allowed ICHS to move into major growth mode going forward. We were no longer this raggedy, storefront operation.”

 

Alan Chun, ICHS Physician. Seattle-International DistrictDr. Alan Chun

Dr. Chun is a medical doctor at the ICHS International District Clinic. He has been at ICHS since 1994, serving as medical director for over a decade immediately after his hiring. He is a Honolulu native and a graduate of the University of Hawaii School of Medicine. Dr. Chun, a third-generation Chinese American, says one benefit of working at ICHS has been the opportunity to learn more Cantonese from his patients and to focus on the care of seniors. “During the past two-and-a-half decades at ICHS, I’ve gotten older along with my patients, so we’ve been able to share the challenges of being an older person together.”

 

 

Hermes Shahbazian

Hermes is chief financial officer at ICHS. His work has been pivotal in transforming the organization from a small storefront clinic into a regional health care provider. During his tenure, ICHS has grown from 15 to over 500 employees. Last year, Hermes was honored by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the region’s top CFOs.

Hermes says every day at ICHS brings something new. “Every day, month and year, we have a new initiative and project to implement. Since day one it has been like working at a startup company. It is never boring. We are always exploring new locations, additional services, upgrading software and infrastructure and finding new revenue sources. It is extremely satisfying to work in a diverse workplace and serve patients from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.”

ICHS’ 45-year legacy began with serving elderly residents in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District to become a thriving regional organization with over 500 employees that treated nearly 31,000 patients last year, and provided assistance in over 134,000 visits with health education, outreach & enrollment, eligibility and other services.

2018 Bloom Gala tickets available now

The Bloom Gala brings together approximately 450 supporters to raise money to cover the costs of uncompensated care. Last year, ICHS provided nearly $1.3 million in care to low-income patients who could not afford to pay for services. This year’s Bloom Gala will take place on May 5 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available at www.ichs.com/bloom. For more information contact tagoipahm@ichs.com or call (206) 788-3672.

ICHS celebrates Highland Middle School-Based Health Center at open house

From left to right, Sherryl Grey (ICHS school and health services manager), Michael McKee (ICHS health services and community partnership director), Judy Buckmaster (executive director of student services, Bellevue School District), Dr. Ivan Duran (Bellevue School District superintendent), Teresita Batayola (ICHS CEO), My-Linh Thai (Bellevue School District board president), David Downing (YES COO), Katie Klug (Highland Middle School principal)

 

International Community Health Services celebrated the Bellevue School District’s first school-based health center at an open house on April 5, 2018.

ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola was among those on hand to tour the Highland Middle School-Based Health Center, an effort joined by Youth Eastside Services (YES) and the Bellevue School District to provide integrated health care to students within their school with funding from Best Start for Kids and support from King Country.

Read more about the health center here.

 

2018 Bloom Gala tickets on sale now

Tickets are now on sale for International Community Health Services’ (ICHS) 2018 Bloom Gala, to be held at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel on May 5. The funds raised at this annual celebration will support health services for those who cannot afford to pay for them.

This year’s event honors the past as ICHS celebrates its 45th anniversary. Join ICHS friends, partners and supporters for highlights from ICHS’ early days within Seattle’s Asian American community and the Chinatown-International District neighborhood, and its path of growth since.

When people and families are healthy they contribute to creating opportunities that allow all of us to be more productive and give back to others. Please join us — together we can make sure everyone has access to affordable health care. Early bird tickets for $150 each are now on sale on the ICHS website here. Prices go up to $175 after April 13, so order your tickets soon!

For more information about the Bloom Gala, visit www.ichs.com/bloom.

Can’t make it to the event this year? You can still make a difference by making a donation today!

Call for Nominations: ICHS 2018 Bamboo Award for Health

International Community Health Services (ICHS) and the ICHS Foundation today announced that nominations are open for the 2018 Bamboo Award for Health. The award recognizes the outstanding work of people and organizations supporting ICHS and its mission to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate health and wellness services, and promote health equity. These works and achievements may have resulted in:

  • Increased access to health services for ICHS patients, clients and local underserved communities.
  • Improved measurable health outcomes for ICHS patients, clients and local underserved communities.
  • Increased resources that allow ICHS to serve or expand its patient and client populations.

Nominations will be accepted until March 11, via the 2018 Bamboo Award Nomination Form or the Google form here. The 2018 Bamboo Awards for Health will be presented at the ICHS Bloom Gala on May 5.

2017 Bamboo Award winners: Dr. Allen Muramoto and Country Doctor Community Health Centers

 

2018 Bloom Gala

More information about the ICHS Bloom Gala, which raises funds to support uncompensated health care, can be found here.

Invitation to share a favorite ICHS story or memory

This year’s Bamboo Award recipients will be honored as ICHS celebrates its 45th anniversary and origins within Seattle’s Asian American community. Founded in 1973, ICHS got its start providing in-language health care for mainly elderly Chinese and Filipino patients living in single room occupancy hotels in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Volunteer doctors, interpreters and mental health staff operated the clinic and it was one of the nation’s first to focus on the health care needs of a diverse Asian American population.

As ICHS preserves the past and helps uncover the narrative of Seattle’s diverse communities for its 45th celebration, local community members are invited to share their stories, photos and memories by contacting: foundation@ichs.com.

ICHS leadership in Olympia to advocate for health safety net

ICHS in Olympia to advocate for health care
From left to right, Gildas Cheung, Hiroshi Nakano, Teresita Batayola, Kelli Nomura and Lee Marchisio

International Community Health Services (ICHS) leadership was in Olympia on Feb. 1, for Joint Legislative Days. They joined 82 CEOs, board members and senior staff representing 20 community health centers, at the state capital to advocate for a shared legislative agenda, as organized by the Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers and Community Health Network Washington.

This was a chance for health centers to advocate directly to legislators on behalf of patients.Teresita Batayola, ICHS president and CEO, and ICHS board members Gildas Cheung, Hiroshi Nakano, Kelli Nomura and Lee Marchisio participated in 18 meetings with state legislators and their staff, representing the key districts where ICHS patients live.

In these meetings, Batayola and ICHS board members thanked legislators for their leadership in passing the state’s capital budget, which will fuel the ICHS Shoreline Clinic’s dental care expansion and new AiPACE senior care program. They reiterated the importance of protecting the health safety net, and reminded lawmakers that Washington Apple Health and the Children’s Health Insurance Program keep people healthy, productive and employed. Most importantly, they made sure those in Olympia heard the stories of ICHS — our patients and their families, our providers and our communities.

Book your eye exam with the ICHS Vision Clinic!

Appointments are now open with optometrist Dr. Andrea Liem at the ICHS Vision Clinic, located in Seattle’s International District.

Comprehensive eye exams are more than checking your vision to see if you need glasses or contact lenses. During an eye exam, Dr. Liem examines the health of your eyes to look for diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration. Regular eye checks help ensure a lifetime of healthy vision.

We accept most insurance plans, including Medicaid. Ask about our sliding fee scale.

Call the ICHS Vision Clinic to make an appointment: 206-788-3505.