ICHS boosts work to level health disparities with chief medical officer appointment

International Community Health Services (ICHS) today announced that Rayburn Lewis, MD has been named chief medical officer after serving in an interim capacity since July. Dr. Lewis retired as CEO of Swedish Issaquah in 2016.

“We look forward to Dr. Lewis’ leadership as we continue to champion health equity, care and coverage for the most fragile populations who need affordable care – those who are low-income, uninsured and underinsured,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “We are deeply honored that Dr. Lewis has chosen to bring his leadership acumen to ICHS and to continue his passion for service in our communities.”

Dr. Lewis brings valuable knowledge and perspective as a physician-leader and an active member of the African American community, who has worked at creating social impact. Dr. Lewis’ tenure of success at the Swedish Medical Centers is expected to fortify ICHS’ growth in meeting the needs of the communities around ICHS clinics, especially the underserved, Asian Pacific Islanders, immigrants and refugees.

Dr. Lewis’ focus on helping the medically underserved started early. While still a medical student, he served on the board of the Yesler Terrace clinic, which saw patients from the Yesler Terrace housing project and nearby neighborhood. He was also a board member for Puget Sound Neighborhood Health Centers, now Neighborcare Health. He was an active leader of area school and sports programs that encouraged young men of color to experience the outdoors.

“I believe in providing the health safety net to people – regardless of ethnic and racial background, nation of origin, language, gender or gender preference,” said Dr. Lewis. “My entire career, whether through work in the community or at Swedish and Providence has been built on this commitment. The work of community health centers reduces the need for many hospital visits. The prospect of serving our communities on such a deep and transformative level was an irresistible lure out of retirement. I’m excited about the opportunity to learn as well as contribute.”

Prior to his role as CEO of Swedish Issaquah, Dr. Lewis served as executive director and vice president of medical affairs at Swedish Ballard, and as COO at Swedish Cherry Hill. Dr. Lewis is a graduate of the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, where he completed his internal medicine residency and served as chief medical resident from 1982 to 1983. He also completed an assignment as a general medical officer in orthopedics with the U.S. Public Health Service in Seattle. Dr. Lewis joined the medical staff at Swedish Health Services and Providence Seattle Medical Center in 1984, while starting a medical practice in Columbia City. He joined the Minor & James Medical Group in 1987, practicing there till 1996, and subsequently maintained a practice at the Swedish Family Medicine/Cherry Hill campus residency clinic until 2008.

As the elected chief of staff at Providence Seattle Medical Center in 1995, Dr. Lewis was recruited as medical director for quality and medical affairs. Serving in this capacity from 1995 to 2002, he became Swedish’s vice president for medical affairs from 2002 to 2007, after the two hospitals merged. He also served as medical director of the Mother Joseph Clinic at Swedish Cherry Hill for specialty care of community patients.