Historical exhibit at ICHS International District Clinic chronicles a disappearing neighborhood

From left: Kia Truong, Ron Chew, Jenifer Chao.

A permanent historical exhibit opened today in the lobby of the International Community Health Services (ICHS) flagship clinic. The collection of early documents, photos and artifacts memorializes a rapidly-disappearing Chinatown-International District, as it tells the story of the health center.

The exhibit was made possible by a $80,000 grant from Historic South Downtown and traces the growth of ICHS through its 46-year-long history.

“We were thrilled to receive such a rich repository of photos and memories from the community,” said Debbie Louie, ICHS marketing coordinator and exhibit curator.

ICHS’s history is deeply rooted within Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. Early founders and community activists, like Sister Heide Parreño, Bruce Miyahara and Bob Santos, sought to provide affordable health care for the neighborhood’s residents, most of whom were low-income first-generation Chinese, Japanese and Filipino immigrants.

“Those early residents are all gone now,” said Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation director. “We continue to honor their spirit and what they meant to the founding of our institution.”

ICHS remains a welcoming place as its patients’ needs have evolved along with burgeoning growth in King County and new immigrant and refugee arrivals. A new generation of activists and health care professionals have assumed the mantle of leadership and advocacy for affordable health care and the rights of immigrants.

Many ICHS staff members, like employee Kia Truong, patient services supervisor at the International District clinic, are first-generation immigrants themselves with a strong connection to the health center’s founding mission. Their personal experiences are also captured in the exhibit.

“I first came to the ID Clinic with my parents, after we had left a refugee camp in Vietnam for the U.S.,” said Truong, who has worked for ICHS for 22 years. “I immediately felt it was a warm place to work and to contribute to the community by helping other new immigrants.”

Yvone Ung immigrated to the U.S. from Cambodia after her family was caught in the brutality of the Khmer Rouge. Fluent in five languages, she started working for ICHS 20 years ago as an interpreter. She said speaking patients’ same language helps puts them at ease and results in better health care. “I love my job, I love ICHS” she said.

Today, ICHS serves 32,000 patients at its 11 clinic locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Shoreline. It is the largest non-profit health care organization serving Asian Pacific Islanders in Washington State. It provides interpretation in 50 different languages, making it one of the most diverse community clinics in the nation.

“We invite everyone to stop by our International District clinic to learn more about the history of ICHS and our commitment to health care for all,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO.

The historical exhibit at the ICHS International District Clinic expands on a historical display that opened in August 2018 at the Shoreline Clinic. Similar displays are planned for the ICHS Holly Park and Bellevue clinics in 2020 and 2021.

Read more about ICHS’s history inA Documentary History, a 35-year narrative view of the people and ideals behind ICHS’s work to serve Seattle’s communities written by ICHS Foundation Director Ron Chew.

Join a rat race that makes a difference: Registration now open for ICHS Lunar New Year 5K

 

Banner - Lunar New Year 5kJoin a rat race that promotes good health and makes a difference. International Community Health Services (ICHS) today opened registration for its annual Lunar New Year 5k Walk / Run at: www.ichs.com/5k.

This year’s fundraiser takes place along Shoreline’s Interurban Trail on Feb. 23, 2020 in celebration of the Year of the Rat. All proceeds will support health services for community members who could not otherwise afford them. Festivities will include a traditional lion dance for good fortune and firecrackers to chase away evil spirits in honor of the Lunar New Year, the most important Chinese holiday.

“ICHS Foundation looks forward to a great event that brings the community together in support of local families,” said Ron Chew, ICHS Foundation director.

Registration is $35 with an early bird discount price of $30 until Dec. 31. Attendees under 14 or 65 and older can participate for free. Participants will receive a time chip, bib, Lunar New Year 5k tee-shirt and other special giveaways from ICHS and event vendors. Free parking is available at Shoreline City Hall and ICHS Shoreline Clinic.

For more information or to learn how to become an event volunteer, email: foundation@ichs.com

$70K grant helps ICHS inspire a new generation of health care leaders

Program prepares youth of color for future careers while meeting workforce demand for culturally competent health care

A $70,000 grant from the Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation is helping International Community Health Services (ICHS) prepare youth from diverse backgrounds for a future in health care. This fall, ICHS launched the Building Leadership: Building Healthy Communities program at Seattle World School. The two-year partnership between Seattle World School and ICHS will give students hands-on experience and training in medicine, as it helps ICHS address a growing demand for culturally competent care.

“ICHS is committed to training the next generation of health care providers,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “What better way to do this than by partnering with our school-based health center. By supporting youth of color, we expand who has access to education and jobs in this sustainable and desirable field, as well as create new leaders who can provide transformative health care in their communities.”

The program combines classroom instruction with hands-on learning, job shadowing and mentorship. The Vietnamese Friendship Association will provide career counseling so students can apply for health care jobs and secondary education programs. Ninety-eight percent of Seattle World School students are immigrants or refugees, and 97% qualify for free or reduced lunch.

“While students at Seattle World School are extremely motivated to pursue their dreams, they may lack awareness of their options,” said Kate Ceronsky, nurse practitioner at ICHS and one of the program’s founders. “We are giving them tools for exploration, as well as a stepping stone for the future.”

Additional training programs at ICHS
Students 18 and over who complete the program can apply for additional ICHS professional training programs and opportunities that lead directly into a career in health care. For example, ICHS, in conjunction with Washington Association Community Health, offers a one-year registered Medical Assistant Apprenticeship, a full-time, paid position that combines formal instruction with on-the-job training. After completion, graduates take the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam to obtain state credentials. Apprentices are contracted with ICHS for an additional year after obtaining certification. ICHS plans to become a training site for a similar apprenticeship for dental assistants in 2020. Both programs help ICHS build a pipeline of qualified health professionals that reflect the communities in which it serves.

Closing a cultural gap in health care
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, health care will add 2.4 million new jobs and grow 18% from 2016 to 2026, more than any other occupational group. The agency says this projected growth is due to an aging population that is placing greater demand on services. As a result, many areas of the U.S. are experiencing a shortage in primary care physicians, registered nurses and other certified health workers.

This labor shortage is occurring as minorities continue to face health care disparities. Research suggests that medical providers who give patients culturally competent care — which respects a person’s heritage and values — often see improved patient outcomes.

“In increasing the numbers and diversity of qualified health professionals, ICHS is helping close persistent cultural gaps to create more vibrant communities that benefit us all,” said Batayola.

ICHS announces medical and operations leaders

Photos
On left, Rachel Koh, ICHS chief operating officer and on right, Dr. Asqual Getaneh, ICHS chief medical officer.

 

International Community Health Services (ICHS) announces leadership promotions that reflect an up-and-coming generation of community health leaders from within the organization. Dr. Asqual Getaneh, ICHS medical director, is named chief medical officer in charge of all of ICHS medical care. Rachel Koh, vice president of pharmacy and business development, is the new chief operating officer.

“Dr. Asqual Getaneh and Rachel Koh are strong leaders steeped in community health,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS president and CEO. “We are excited that their vision, energy and knowledge will help us sustain patient-centered care that meet the needs of the diverse communities we serve.”

Dr. Getaneh has served as ICHS medical director since 2018. Prior to her position with ICHS, she was a medical director at Unity Health Care, the largest community health system in Washington, D.C. An expert in global health and research to improve health equity among minority populations, Dr. Getaneh was previously an associate clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and practiced internal medicine for more than 20 years for organizations including New York Presbyterian Hospital, MedStar Washington Hospital Center and MedStar Health Research Institute.  

Dr. Getaneh was specifically recruited by Dr. Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer, to succeed him. Dr. Lewis will take on a new assignment as medical leader for the ICHS Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a Medicaid/Medicare program to help those who are nursing-home-eligible to age in place with a comprehensive suite of health care, socialization and transportation services.

Since 2018, Koh has overseen the operation of three ICHS pharmacies, including the successful rollout of advanced technology applications and the delivery of services to boost patient access to high quality treatments and medication. Previously, she served as vice president of clinical product strategy for ZeOmega, where she helped develop new product and market strategies. Prior to that, Koh was the associate vice president of pharmacy services for Community Health Plan of Washington. Koh has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical and health care leadership experience.  

ICHS earns national recognition for commitment to improve high blood pressure

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is pleased to be recognized by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) as a leader in the national effort to get patient blood pressure rates under control and reduce the number of Americans who have heart attacks and strokes each year.

As part of the 2019 Target: BP Recognition Program, AHA and AMA awarded ICHS with Gold Status—one of just 542 physician practices and health systems to be recognized for achieving blood pressure control rates of 70% or more in their adult patient population with high blood pressure. A total of 1,183 physician practices and health systems nationwide were recognized by the program for their commitment to help patients improve blood pressure control. The recognized organizations represent 29.8 million adult patients, with more than 8 million patients diagnosed with hypertension, across 46 states and territories.

Launched in 2015, Target: BP is a national initiative between the AHA and AMA aimed at addressing the growing burden of high blood pressure in the U.S. The initiative aims to help health care organizations improve blood pressure control rates through use of the AMA’s evidence-based M.A.P. quality improvement program, and recognizes organizations committed to improving blood pressure control.

“ICHS is committed to providing our patients with tools and treatment to effectively manage high blood pressure, so they remain at their healthy best and avoid more serious health risks,” said Asqual Getanah, ICHS medical director. “We are honored to be recognized by the AHA and AMA for high quality care. This achievement is the result of a strong and coordinated team effort to ensure patients have regular access to care, are aware of healthy lifestyle choices and take the right medicines.”

There are 116 million U.S. adults living with high blood pressure, the nation’s number one risk factor for heart attack and stroke, and less than half have it controlled to target level. Many patients are unaware of the deadly consequences associated with high blood pressure and that it can be managed working in partnership with their physician to create and follow a treatment plan.

“Although we have the tools to treat high blood pressure, many patients face a variety of barriers that make it difficult to successfully manage the condition. That’s why the American Heart Association and American Medical Association created the Target: BP initiative—to bring patients and providers together to successfully get blood pressure under control,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “We applaud the physicians who are already working hard to control their patients’ blood pressure, and we will continue to urge more physician practices, health systems and patients to join this effort to prioritize the rising risk of high blood pressure and improve health outcomes for patients across the nation.”

“Collaboration is key to managing high blood pressure,” said AHA President Robert Harrington, MD, FAHA. “When doctors, clinics, patients and organizations like the American Heart Association and American Medical Association are all working towards the same goal, we have the opportunity for great success. We are pleased to be a part of the success of so many practices – and so many patients – in reducing high blood pressure and improving health.”

ICHS, along with all other practices and health systems being recognized, will be featured in upcoming Target: BP materials. This includes appearing in national journal ads, on TargetBP.org, and acknowledged at AMA and AHA events throughout the year.

Caring for our communities, from within our communities

On September 27, seven proud graduates of the ICHS Community Health Worker Internship Program came to the end of their journey more empowered to help the African, Asian and African American communities in South Seattle be healthy and thrive.

Community health workers have a deep understanding of their ethnic, cultural or religious communities to serve as a vital frontline resource. They are a trusted bridge between people who might otherwise have difficulty – because of language, culture, cost or other barriers – reaching social and health services. They provide health education and referrals, advocate for people and their communities, help fill out paperwork, and provide emotional support and guidance.

“So much was taught in a short time through monthly trainings and I can use the skills in the community,” said Rose Idambituo Idey. “I feel confident talking to people about health issues such as nutrition, breast cancer prevention, diabetes, blood pressure, alcohol and tobacco use, and mental health. This is an education I will have all my life.”

The ICHS internship program was made possible by a grant from Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with King County Public Health. Over a six-month period, participants were trained to work directly with their communities, as well as engaged in events and special projects.

“Community health workers are a well-recognized workforce to help reduce health disparities and improve health equity,” said Rana Amini, ICHS health services manager, and the program’s founder. “The most important factor is identifying passionate community members and providing adequate training and mentorship.”

“This team has inspired me to conduct outreach with a fresh outlook and renewed enthusiasm,” said Miran Hothi, ICHS lead community advocate and the program’s head trainer. “They developed creative and imaginative approaches in the field, which resulted in improving the health outcomes of the community.”

Three participants have opted to continue the internship through a second year to focus on developing their leadership skills, working four hours per week from the ICHS Holly Park Clinic.

“I am grateful for the skills I have gained because they have given me the confidence to advocate for my community, my family and myself,” said participant Carrie Robersone.


Congratulations to our graduates: Diem Trinh, Carrie Robersone, Aparna Kamalpuram, Rose Idey, William Koy, Francoise Milinganyo and Delphin Zaki.

Teresita Batayola Recognized as One of the Most Influential Filipina Women in the World

Batayola is honored as one of the most influential Filipina women in the world in the “Builder” category.

From Oct. 28 to Nov. 2, Teresita Batayola, president and CEO of International Community Health Services (ICHS), joined other women leaders at the16th Filipina Leadership Global Summit in Paris, France. During an awards ceremony on Oct. 31, the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) honored her as one of the most influential Filipina women in the world.

FWN recognizes women of Philippine ancestry who are changing the face of leadership in the global workplace. Batayola, honored under the “Builder” award category, was selected from an outstanding field of nominees from around the world. “Builders” have demonstrated exceptional organizational impact at a large workplace environment; displaying deep passion for a cause through collaborative initiatives or alliances with institutions, corporations or nonprofit organizations.

“I was astounded when Dr. Maria Beebe, my high school teacher and adviser, nominated me,” Batayola said. “Dr. Beebe is the epitome of this award as an esteemed professor and author. She is active globally to establish the image of FIlipinas as formidable leaders.” Batayola reconnected with Beebe only in the last year. “To join past and present awardees from other countries is beyond excitement,” she continued. “I am deeply grateful to FWN for bringing the Filipina women of the world together to plan the future for our communities and next generation leaders.” Nominees undergo a vigorous vetting process conducted by previous global awardees.

Batayola (left) with Dr. Maria Africa Beebe, FWN board member.

Batayola has led ICHS since 2005. She is a prominent national advocate of affordable health care and health equity. Ron Chew, director of the ICHS Foundation, said, “I’m not surprised she’s getting this award. She’s one of the most dynamic, innovative and effective leaders in the country. Under her inspired leadership, ICHS has grown into a vibrant regional health care network with 11 service sites in Washington state.” Washington Governor Jay Inslee appointed Batayola in 2015 to the Seattle Colleges board of trustees, where she served as board chair from 2016 to 2017 and continues to serve as a trustee today. Batayola is a past president of the Washington Association of Community Health and serves on the boards of the Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, the Community Health Plan, Community Health Network and the Forterra Strong Communities Fund.

Teresita Batayola gives a talk on leadership, team building and succession at the16th Filipina Leadership Global Summit .

ICHS Receives National Awards for High Quality Care

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is among 26 community health centers in Washington state to receive federal awards totaling over $3 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The award was announced at ICHS’s International District Clinic on Aug. 22, by Sharon Turner, U.S. HRSA Region X administrator. She was also joined by Aphrodyi Antoine, HRSA deputy administrator, and John R. Graham, HHS Region 10 regional director. “I have the honor of recognizing International Community Health Services in person on behalf of Health Resources and Services Administration, for their incredible quality achievements and ranking in the top 20% for clinical quality measures nationally,” said Turner. “The Quality Improvement Awards recognize the highest performing health centers nationwide, as well as those health centers that have made significant quality improvement gains from the previous year. Health centers will use these funds to improve the quality, efficiency, and value of health care.”

ICHS received a grant award of $142,432. HRSA has named ICHS a Health Center Quality Leader every year since 2014, and a National Quality Leader in 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018.

“ICHS and health centers across the nation are at the forefront of addressing the public need for affordable care, as well as acute challenges such as the opioid epidemic,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “These awards will help ICHS continue to meet emerging health care needs and advance the wellness of our communities.”

For a list of 2019 Quality Improvement Award recipients,
visit: https://bphc.hrsa.gov/programopportunities/fundingopportunities/qualityimprovement/index.html

From left: Sharon Turner, U.S. HRSA Region X administrator; Teresita Batayola, ICHS president and CEO; Dr. Asqual Getaneh, ICHS medical director; and John Graham, HHS Region 10 regional director.

National Health Center Week 2019: Rooted in communities

International Community Health Services (ICHS) celebrated National Health Center Week from Aug. 4-10. This year’s theme was “Rooted in Communities,” as part of a nationwide campaign highlighting health centers’ success helping people and communities stay healthy and thrive.

We celebrated with our patients, partners and community members at each of our four full-service clinic locations in Seattle, Bellevue and Shoreline.

As well as with employee appreciation events.

The Bellevue Clinic also hosted a tree-planting and clothing drive that resulted in more than 200 winter clothing items being donated to the Children’s Hospital Bargain Boutique and Acres of Diamonds.

Thank you to all who made this year’s National Health Center Week a success! Click here to see more photos.