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.

2014 ICHS in the News

Still uninsured? It’s not too late, ICHS can help with ‘Obamacare’
The International Examiner, February 3, 2014

While Washington has a higher number of enrollees in its state exchange program compared to other states, many people have reported issues accessing and navigating the online marketplace known as Healthplanfinder ( For many Asian Pacific Americans in Seattle’s International District, the challenges have been magnified due to language barriers and unfamiliarity with the new system.
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Nakano named to Washington Health Benefit Exchange board
Northwest Asian Weekly, February 3, 2014

As a member of the board, Hiroshi Nakano said in a statement that he wants “to make sure that the Exchange stays responsive to the consumer and provides the broadest possible access to the public, especially to vulnerable and underserved populations and those who have difficulty accessing the website.”
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Asian Pacific Islander Coalition outlines legislative agenda
The International Examiner, February 1, 2014

Members of the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition (APIC) have taken the stance on several pressing issues which included API related interests pertaining to minimum wage, education, paid sick leave, and healthcare.
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2013 ICHS in the News


Immigrant service providers frustrated with Healthplanfinder site
The Seattle Globalist, December 17, 2013

ICHS unveils mobile dental clinic this December
The Capitol Hill Times, December 11, 2013

District gives Seattle World School a permanent home
Northwest Asian Weekly, November 29, 2013

‘Obamacare’: Organizations help Washington state APIs overcome language barriers, indecision
The International Examiner, November 7, 2013

Time to Talk: APIs comprise half of all people with Hepatitis B in the U.S.
International Examiner, October 18, 2013

ICHS to help Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese speakers with health care enrollment
Northwest Asian Weekly, October 11, 2013


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.

ICHS will remain standing strong with open arms and open doors to serve anyone who needs us

Every year, ICHS faces countless challenges in providing affordable, high quality care to our communities. This year, ICHS faces especially tough challenges because of efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, cut back Medicaid and reduce funding and programs for our communities. On Saturday, May 6, ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola addressed the audience at the 2017 Bloom Gala and delivered the following remarks:

It is always wonderful to be among friends and supporters of ICHS. Thank you so much for being here. Lori Matsukawa refers to me as the Energizer Bunny, but I can only do this work because I draw energy from all of you. Thank you to my family because they keep me normal. Thank you to all ICHS staff for serving our communities every day. But most of all, thank you to our leadership who make it possible for me to run ICHS and advocate for ICHS. Please recognize our CFO, Hermes Shahbazian, Health Services and Community Partnerships Director Michael McKee, Chief Medical Officer Anna Kaminski, Dental Director David Chen, and the glue that holds us all together, Chief Operating Officer Sherman Lohn.

Last year, we continued our trajectory of growth and innovation to meet the needs of our increasingly diverse populations who speak over 50 languages. We broadened our presence and deepened our service capacity, serving nearly 29,000 patients with approximately 55% needing interpretation. We expanded our Women, Infant and Children (WIC) and Nutrition program to all major sites, started the Young Adult Clinic in Shoreline, and are on track to open a vision clinic this year. We continue to make progress on a Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly.

Our staff has grown to 495 and we are increasing our efforts to develop staff that have the passion, commitment and cultural skills to serve our communities. Our family practice residency with Swedish Medical Center is entering its second year, our dental residency with the national Advanced Education in General Dentistry program will start its third round of residents this summer, and our ICHS-developed nurse practitioner residency program will welcome its fourth class this fall. Our goal is to develop employees at all levels, while working on a pipeline of workers from the communities we serve.

We do all this to meet our vision of healthy people, stronger families and vibrant communities.

But it’s not business as usual for ICHS. Until last year, our rallying cause was health care for all, advocating expansion to those who were not included in the Affordable Care Act. Or, dare I say it, Obamacare.

As a non-profit, ICHS has to be non-partisan. But being non-partisan does not mean being mute. We must act on issues that matter the most to our communities, our patients, our volunteers and our staff. ICHS is a community trust born of founders like Uncle Bob Santos and numerous others including Dr. Allen Muramoto, who saw the basic, aching need for health care in our community. They scraped together resources and pulled together volunteers to serve our elders and to advocate for their right to be served.

Today, our community’s trust in ICHS mandates a larger responsibility to speak, act and fight against diminishing our gains in health care.

We must speak when those with existing illnesses or pre-existing conditions lose guaranteed affordable and comprehensive health care coverage.

We must act when older people can be charged up to five times more than younger people.

We must fight when states can decide not to cover essential benefits like doctor visits, maternity and prenatal care, hospitalization, prescriptions, mental health, ambulance rides… and the list continues of potential opt-outs.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ hurried passage of the American Health Care Act (ACHA) did not have the benefit of the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis. But we know that this bill is built on the original version that rolls back Medicaid and subsidized health plans for the working poor; that 24 million nationally stand to lose coverage within a decade. Up to 100,000 Washingtonians risk losing their private health care insurance and another 600,000 risk losing their coverage under Apple Health, our state Medicaid program. Six thousand ICHS patients are in jeopardy because they got covered when Medicaid was expanded to include families and individuals who earn low wages — a family of four making less than $40,000 a year or an individual who earns less than $17,000 a year. An additional 2,200 ICHS patients will no longer be able to afford insurance coverage because they will lose medical subsidies and tax credits. The many changes also include a cap on the federal share of Medicaid coverage. Oh, by the way, you might be interested to hear that there are $600 billion in tax breaks to the wealthy in this bill.

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 U.S. House passed. Losing this funding means the state will have to make health care cuts for its most vulnerable populations.

When AHCA was pulled back from a vote in early March, many pronounced it dead. But two days ago, AHCA lived. It did not rise from the ashes like a phoenix but a zombie, an undead created at the cost of human lives. Many say that it will have a tough time in the Senate, it will take a long time to get a vote and that it will be much altered for the better.

Never underestimate the determination of those who push back against health care as a right. They are counting on us to be too tired of too many fights, to be too cynical, too quick to dismiss them as crazy, maybe even too wishful of moving to Canada…

ICHS believes in healthcare as a human right. As amazing and fierce as Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are — they need all of us to succeed against AHCA. We must find a way to refresh ourselves and persevere. We cannot stop. Let’s keep our attention on those the poor, elderly, women and many more at risk. Protest and act in all ways — marches, social media, emails, letters, phone calls to our senators but especially reach out to your families, friends and networks in other states to do the same and make an impact on their U.S. senators. AHCA is a line of defense we must win!

Because it isn’t just about health care. Executive orders, administrative actions, budgets, legislation and hate speech and actions target immigrants, Mexicans, Muslims, Jews, LGBT, poor people, labor…  Women are the target of choice right now. But when a database of registry and internment camps based on religious or ethnic heritage are linked, throw Asians and Pacific Islanders on that list. The president himself told Time magazine that he does not know whether he would have supported or opposed the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Few are exempt.

Our values of embracing and accepting everyone must anchor us. We must speak, act, resist, insist and persist! We must stand together, support each other, and when one is tired, help raise each other up.

We are all here tonight to help meet a simple need – supporting those who cannot afford health care. Raising your paddle tonight might feel like a narrow action but it is meaningful. ICHS’ uninsured rate went down from 30% to 11% under the Affordable Care Act. But that’s still over 3,000 patients we cared for who did not have insurance or whose insurance was only for catastrophic health crisis.  We have to fund $1.3 million dollars’ worth of care. Please be generous.

My promise to you, now and far into the future, ICHS will remain standing strong with open arms and open doors to serve anyone who needs us with affordable, high quality care. All are welcome. All are served.