Better breast health with $63K Komen Community Grant

Breast cancer screening is essential to wellness for all women, but not all women have equal access to the proper information and care. International Community Health Services (ICHS) was recently awarded a $63,000 community grant from Susan G. Komen Puget Sound to promote breast health education and reduce health disparities throughout King County.

Breast cancer prevention is strongly tied to early detection. Women in medically underserved communities can encounter obstacles to breast health services, including, but not limited to inaccurate information, cultural and language barriers, and a lack of transportation.

“King, Pierce and Snohomish counties have a higher than average number of advanced stage breast cancer diagnosis and deaths, especially among our diverse communities,” said Michael McKee, ICHS director of health services and community partnerships. “This is an avoidable tragedy and ICHS’ community advocates are working to reverse the tide as we improve access to information, screenings and care.”

ICHS health advocacy manager Rana Amini accepted the community grant on behalf of ICHS at the 2017 Komen Puget Sound Impact Celebration on May 11. ICHS’ Women’s Preventive Health Services and community advocacy programs have received funding from Komen’s Puget Sound chapter to support breast health education and outreach for more than a decade. ICHS’ Breast Health Outreach, Prevention, and Education (B-HOPE) project improves breast health education and offers early detection services to low-income, limited-English proficient members of King County’s Pacific Islander, Latina, Somali, and Asian Indian communities and other communities of need.

In 2016, ICHS staff reached more than 3,900 women with information about the importance of the early detection of breast cancer via nearly 50 community events and health fairs, and in collaboration with community-based organizations throughout King County. Since 2008, ICHS has had more than 29,000 outreach contacts with women regarding breast health education.

Among the ways ICHS partners with Komen to address breast health is through annual support of its “Race for the Cure.” On June 4, an ICHS fundraising team will join the race at the Seattle Center.

According to Susan G. Komen’s 2015 community profile report, Pacific Islander women have the area’s lowest five-year breast cancer survival rate, with 18% failing to survive for five years after a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer. According to 2015 data from the Washington Department of Health, black women also have a poor overall survival rate, with over 11% failing to survive for five years.

ICHS champions state-wide hepatitis B education with support from Ann Wu Liao Foundation and Gov. Jay Inslee

The Ann Wu Liao Foundation presents the third installment of a $115,000 grant to support community outreach about hepatitis B.

 

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is behind efforts to bring to reality a Washington state free of hepatitis B, a virus affecting a disproportionate number of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and other refugee and immigrant communities.

The third installment of a $115,000 grant from the Ann Wu Liao Foundation supports community outreach and momentum during the month of May, Viral Hepatitis Month, and the work of the Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington, which is led by ICHS.

The Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington has received proclamations from the Washington State Governor’s office signifying support of hepatitis B awareness and outreach. The Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington envisions a state free of new hepatitis B infections, where all people know their hepatitis B status, all care is culturally competent and all outcomes are equitable.

“The Liao Foundation’s generous support and Gov. Inslee’s proclamation bolster our efforts to raise hepatitis B awareness among communities affected by chronic hepatitis B,” said Mohammed Abul-Kadir, coordinator of the Hepatitis Coalition of Washington for ICHS.

The coalition’s actions this month include sharing Gov. Inslee’s proclamation as it brings together a network of partners – including community, health care, government and faith-based organizations – for its annual hepatitis B forum.

This year’s forum brings key challenges front-and-center with a free screening of Be About It, a documentary telling the story of two men and two families living with hepatitis B, on May 23 at New Holly Gathering Hall at 5:30PM.

“The biggest challenge is breaking the silence and stigma,” said Abul-Kadir. “By enabling ICHS and the coalition to amplify its message and outreach, the Liao Foundation and governor’s office are creating a strong impetus for change.”

Learn more about the upcoming Hepatitis B forum on May 23rd

ICHS Bloom Gala raises $218,000 to support health care for all

On May 6, hundreds of supporters showed up to ‘Raise the Paddle’ and give health care to those who need it most. The International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation raised more than $218,000 at its annual Bloom Gala at the downtown Seattle Sheraton to support uncompensated patient care delivered within ICHS clinics.

Last year, ICHS provided $1.3 million in care to low-income patients who could not afford to pay for services.

“As ICHS marks its 44th year and looks toward its 45th anniversary, we have been fortunate to have the support of people passionate about ensuring health care to the community and equally committed to our longevity and success, “said ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew. “I thank all ICHS supporters and friends for giving us so many reasons to celebrate tonight.”

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, Allen Muramoto, MD and Country Doctor Community Health Centers were recognized with the 2017 Bamboo Awards for Health.

The Bloom Gala took place just four days after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and passed the American Health Care Act, a bill that threatens millions of Americans’ access to affordable health care. ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola was passionate and straightforward in calling for a defense of health care coverage for low-income immigrants and communities of color. Her remarks brought a standing ovation as she referenced ICHS’ roots in offering hope to those who had little, and a safe harbor for those who might otherwise be turned away.

Batayola challenged attendees to join her in the fight ahead.

“We are fortunate to be in a state that believes in taking care of its low income, uninsured and under-insured residents. But the state will potentially lose $1.4 billion a year if the U.S. Senate adopts what the House passed,’ she said. “We need our entire community to reach out to their friends and families in other states to make sure that the U.S. Senate does not pass the AHCA.”

Read Teresita Batayola’s full speech

See the photos from the 2017 Bloom Gala

Learn about the 2017 Bloom Gala sponsors

Immunize Washington honors ICHS clinics

International Community Health Service’s (ICHS) young patients can rely on getting a boost on lifelong wellness with a health care team that’s committed to keeping them up-to-date on all of their vaccinations. Recently, these efforts were honored by the Washington State Department of Health.

ICHS’ medical clinics in Chinatown-International District, Holly Park and Bellevue were recently honored as 2017 Immunize Washington Gold, Silver and Bronze providers for outstanding success ensuring toddler and teen patients received their recommended vaccines.

ICHS chief medical officer, Anna Kaminski, credited a proactive, team approach for the clinics’ success.

“ICHS’ focus on quality preventive care includes maximizing every opportunity to reach and screen every young patient to make sure they are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Kaminski. “ICHS works strongly as a team to ensure that our vaccine efforts are proactive and communication with parents is clear and helpful.”

The CDC recommends vaccinating children and teens to lower the risk of childhood disease, as well as to reduce the spread of disease among people who are not vaccinated.

As Gold providers, the ICHS Holly Park and Chinatown-International District medical clinics respectively immunized 84% of toddlers and 92% of teens, and 88% of toddlers and 89% of teens. This is the third consecutive year both 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 Bellevue Clinic was recognized as a Silver provider for immunizing 76% of toddlers and as a Bronze provider for its immunization of teens.

The Immunize WA 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.

Allen Muramoto and Country Doctor Community Health Centers will be honored at annual ICHS Bloom Gala

 

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

Dr. Allen Muramoto, a key figure in the founding of International Community Health Services (ICHS), will be honored along with Country Doctor Community Health Centers, a longtime collaborator and supporter of ICHS, at the annual Bloom Gala on Saturday, May 6 at the downtown Sheraton Seattle Hotel.

Each year, ICHS honors one individual and one organization whose service has improved the lives of ICHS target populations of disadvantaged and underserved residents at the Bloom Gala. The event brings together approximately 450 of the agency’s closest supporters to raise money to cover the costs of uncompensated care. Last year, ICHS provided $1.3 million in charity care to low-income patients who could not afford to pay for services.

“We take special pride in presenting the Bamboo Award for Health to Dr. Muramoto and Country Doctor this year,” ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola said. “Health care reform faces a huge turmoil. It is crucial that we continue to remember our driving mission to care for those who most need care. Allen Muramoto and Country Doc embody that driving mission. We honor them to ensure that we never forget who we serve.”

As a student at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Muramoto joined with other student activists in the spring of 1971 to form “Young Asians for Action” to provide free health services for Asian elderly who lacked access to affordable care. As a result of these efforts, ICHS opened its first clinic in 1973. In his retirement, Muramoto has returned to volunteer monthly at the ICHS International District clinic, providing pulmonary disease care to patients.

Country Doctor has been a close collaborator and avid supporter of ICHS for many years, providing vital clinical and administrative consultation, especially during ICHS’s formative years. Both agencies were part of a consortium of community clinics that sprang up in the early 1970s, founded on a shared vision of affordable health care as a basic human right. That vision led to the formation of the Community Health Plan of Washington in 1992, the first non-profit managed care plan in the state. “Country Doc took the lead in arranging for specialty and hospital care access for both our clients,” former ICHS Executive Director Dorothy Wong recalled. “They are an unsung hero in the history of ICHS.”

The Bloom Gala will take place on May 6 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and the program starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the 2017 Bloom Gala are available at www.ichs.com/bloom. For more information contact christinel@ichs.com or call (206) 788-3672.

Filipino health care leader retires after three decades of community service

Sefie and Jennifer Cabiao

Sefie Cabiao, a tireless and passionate advocate for Filipino American seniors in Seattle for over three decades, officially retired from her job at International Community Health Services (ICHS) on March 24, 2017.

Cabiao, employed as an ICHS community advocate, was a steadfast figure at events at the Filipino Community Center and at various health fairs and community forums across the city. She helped educate Filipino immigrants and families about issues such as diabetes awareness, breast and cervical health screening, nutrition, exercise and voter registration. Her fluency in Ilocano and Tagalog allowed her to build bridges between the community and the non-profit realm in which she worked.

“Sefie is one big heart in her love for the Filipino community and ICHS,” Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO, said. “Add her tenacity and her commitment to that heart and you can immediately feel the huge hole caused by her retirement.  We are forever grateful knowing she will always be in the community connecting others to ICHS.”

ICHS community advocate Angela Wan, who has worked alongside Cabiao for 12 years, is sad to see her go, but noted that Cabiao would remain part of the ICHS family. “She is so beloved because of her kindness and willingness to reach out to help people,” Wan said. “Everyone in the Filipino community knows her.”

It was not uncommon for strangers to recognize Cabiao, even on flights to the Philippines. “One time, when I was in the air, someone tapped my bag,” Cabiao said. “This person said, ‘I see you’re here. I’ve been looking for you for a month.” This person had been seeking help with medical insurance.

Prior to joining ICHS, Cabiao was employed at the International District Housing Alliance, working with seniors in need of housing, health care and help in domestic violence situations. During that era, many old hotels in the International District were substandard. “When we went to check on the Filipino manongs, we would open the door and the cockroaches are flying everywhere,” she recalled. “The residents were frail and sick. They didn’t have relatives here either. We would check their refrigerators and make sure they were getting food and proper medical attention.”

Cabiao left the Housing Alliance during a funding shortfall. She said she was hired by ICHS in March, 1998 as a community outreach worker, working with the elderly. “When I first came here, I see that there is a gap between the higher level staff and the community advocates,” she said. “In the beginning, I did not even have a desk. I had to share a space at a work table. Now, as I leave ICHS, things have improved. I’m happy to leave because I can see a kind of family unity between the different levels of ICHS.”

Even in retirement, Cabiao will remain close to the ICHS family. Her daughter, Jennifer, works as ICHS contracts coordinator. Jennifer joined the agency in 2005 after she was asked by her mom to help fill a temporary administrative position.

“I thought I was going to be here for three months,” Jennifer said. “Three months turned into a year. A year has turned into 12 years.”

Has the retirement of her mother from ICHS affected Jennifer?

“Since we worked in separate departments, it really doesn’t make much of a difference,” Jennifer said. “My mom is still going to be out in the community. So just because she’s retiring, it doesn’t mean she’s retiring from everything else she does.”

Any favorite stories about her mother?

“Oh, there’s one,” Jennifer said. “About four or five years ago, she got stuck in the elevator in the ID clinic during a blackout. She panicked and called me on her cell phone. Good thing she had her phone with her—because she usually doesn’t. I said, ‘What’s going on? Where are you?’ She said, ‘I’m stuck in the elevator and it’s all dark.’ I told her to just hold on because the fire department was coming. She has a tendency to exaggerate and she said, ‘It’s getting so hot. I can’t breathe.’ Everyone told her, ‘Sefie, just stay put. Don’t panic.’ Eventually, she got out after an hour. I had gone back to my desk to work. It was a very busy day. I thought that was pretty funny.”

ICHS ID clinic welcomes Senator Maria Cantwell for health care roundtable

From left: ICHS community advocate Aleks Poseukova, ICHS patient Grigory Vodolazov, ICHS director of health services and community partnerships, Senator Maria Cantwell, and ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew

 

On February 23, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell hosted a 90-minute health care roundtable at International Community Health Services (ICHS) to hear testimony about the impact of the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to listen to concerns about looming changes to the health care law.

During the wide-ranging and sometimes emotional discussion at the ICHS clinic in the International District, over a dozen local health care providers, advocates and Medicaid patients weighed in by sharing statistics and personal stories about how the Medicaid expansion has dramatically improved the quality of life for local residents, especially those who had previously been shut out of the health care system.

The speakers included representatives from the University of Washington Harborview Medical Center, Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers, Disability Rights Washington, AARP Washington, Planned Parenthood, King County Community and Human Services Division, and King County NAACP.

Representing ICHS at the roundtable were Michael McKee, director of health services and community partnerships, and ICHS patient Grigory Vodolazov, a Russian immigrant with two children on Medicaid, including one with special needs.

During the roundtable, Cantwell noted that more than 600,000 people have gained access to care through the expansion of Medicaid, including 147,250 in King County. Over 432,000 people in King County are covered through Medicaid.

Cantwell cautioned that converting federal funds for Medicaid into block grants to the states could lead to an erosion of health care coverage for millions of low-income patients in the U.S., an increased burden on hospitals to provide costly emergency care and worse health outcomes. She vowed to return to Washington D.C. to fight for retention of expanded health care coverage and champion true health care innovation.

ICHS raises $31,000 to support charity care at Lunar New Year 5k in Shoreline

Over 260 individuals braved the snow and the freezing cold to participate in the second annual Lunar New Year 5k in Shoreline on Sunday, February 26, raising over $31,000 to support health care for needy patients at International Community Health Services (ICHS).

“We were pleasantly surprised by the turnout, given the awful weather conditions,” Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation director said. “Over 340 people registered, so we did have no-shows, but not as many as we expected. The participants were spirited and very supportive. Best of all, we exceeded our fundraising goal.”

See the list of the 2017 Lunar New Year 5K sponsors.

In 2016, ICHS hosted the first ever Lunar New Year 5k at the Mercer Slough Nature Park in Bellevue. This year’s event featured an out-and-back course on the Interurban Trail in Shoreline.

Many participants at Sunday’s event wore “Super Al” superhero capes in honor of the late Al Sugiyama, a beloved community leader who passed away in January after a fierce battle with cancer. Sugiyama, who participated in the Bellevue 5k, had planned to join in this year event, too. His two daughters and other family members walked in his stead.

Shoreline Mayor Chris Roberts kicked off the event with welcoming remarks, lauding the diversity of his city. The Mak Fai Kung Fu Club performed a Chinese lion dance to welcome the Year of the Rooster.

The Silver Striders, a state-wide organization of runners and walkers aged 50 and older, sponsored the event as part of its Grand Prix series. Six of the top 10 finishers were Silver Striders, including 53-year old Brig Seidl, the first place winner who completed the 5k in a time of 18:55.

ICHS was established in 1973 as a free storefront clinic in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, providing bilingual health care to low-income residents. The agency now offers services through its seven locations, including new clinics in Bellevue and Shoreline. Last year, ICHS served over 28,300 unduplicated patients and provided interpretation in 53 languages.

Last year, ICHS provided $1.2 million in charity care. Proceeds from the Shoreline 5k will go toward supporting care for these patients in need.

“So many low-income immigrants and refugees rely on ICHS as their lifeline,” Chew said. “Supporting these patients and celebrating the New Year with a healthy, family-friendly winter activity was the vision behind our event.”

The 37,000 sq. ft. ICHS Shoreline medical-dental clinic is located at 16549 Aurora Ave. N. The new three-story facility opened in September, 2014 as the first non-profit community health center in Shoreline. Last September, the clinic started a Young Adult Clinic. Last month, a new pharmacy opened on the first floor.

Check out photos of the Lunar New Year 5K on the ICHS Facebook page

See the race results for the 2017 Lunar New Year 5K

Make a donation to support patient care at ICHS

ICHS will honor Alan Sugiyama at Lunar New Year 5K on Feb 26

Alan Sugiyama and Teresita Batayola at the inaugural Lunar New Year 5K in Bellevue
Alan Sugiyama and ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola at the inaugural Lunar New Year 5K in Bellevue in 2016

Alan Sugiyama, a long-time Asian American community leader who passed away on January 2 after a courageous two-year public battle with cancer, will be honored at the second annual Lunar New Year 5K on Sunday, February 26 in Shoreline.

The event is sponsored by International Community Health Services (ICHS), which provided affordable medical and dental care to over 28,300 patients in more than 50 different languages last year. Proceeds from the event will go toward supporting uncompensated care.

“We were deeply saddened by Al’s death, but we know that his compassionate spirit will be with us on the day of our event,” ICHS Foundation Director Ron Chew said. “For participants who want to honor Al, we’ll be handing out Superman capes emblazoned with Al’s name inside the insignia.”

In 2016, ICHS organized the first-ever Lunar New Year 5k at the Mercer Slough Nature Park in Bellevue to bring attention to its new Bellevue medical-dental clinic. The sold-out event attracted over 300 runners and walkers, raising over $21,000 to support uncompensated patient care. This year’s 5K will be on the Shoreline Interurban Trail and will start several blocks from the ICHS Shoreline clinic, which opened in September 2014.

Despite undergoing aggressive treatment for cancer of the pancreas and esophagus, Sugiyama participated in last year’s 5K, gathering his friends to join him. He even managed to outpace several of them. The Seattle Channel filmed Sugiyama at the event, producing a short piece on his life for CityStream, which aired in August.

At the time of his death, Sugiyama had already begun gathering an even wider circle of friends to join him at the second annual Lunar New Year 5K. Sugiyama was a fierce champion of affirmative action and increased funding support for communities of color. He is perhaps best known for the 30 years he spent as founder and director of the Center for Career Alternatives, a multi-ethnic job training program serving low-income residents in King and Snohomish Counties. He was the first Asian American to serve on the Seattle School Board.

The mile markers on the 5K course will bear an image of Sugiyama as Superman. That image and the insignia on the cape were designed by Eugene Tagawa, Sugiyama’s brother-in-law.

The Lunar New Year is traditionally the most significant holiday for many Asian Pacific Islanders, marking the return of Spring and a special time for families to offer wishes for health and prosperity in the coming year. The Year of the Rooster begins on January 28, 2017.

Registration for the Lunar New Year 5K is available online. Registration is $30. A free commemorative t-shirt will be included along with the registration fee. The event will be free to children under 13 and those over the age of 70. Seniors between the ages of 60 and 69 will receive a $5 discount.

The event is open to walkers and runners. Strollers and leashed pets are permitted. The race starts at 9:30 a.m. The start of the 5K will be launched with a colorful lion dance performance. The event features chip-timing by BuDu Racing, awards in different age categories and for best costumes, raffle prizes and post-race food and beverages.

For information about the event or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact Christine Loredo at 206-788-3672 or christinel@ichs.com. For more information, visit www.ichs.com/5k.

Register for the ICHS Lunar New Year 5K