News

Roger Chiu retiring after 38 years: ICHS “just like my family”

Roger Chiu, a long-time fixture at International Community Health Services (ICHS), has decided to retire this month after 38 years of dedicated service as ICHS laboratory manager and medical technician. He will be moving to Irvine, California to live closer to his son and daughter and their families.

Chiu, a modest, low-key individual, started at ICHS in 1980 right after he graduated from Seattle University’s medical technology program. At the time, ICHS was located in a storefront on Maynard Avenue, across from Hing Hay Park. Bruce Miyahara was the executive director. Chiu’s first job title was medical technologist.

“ICHS was very small, Chiu said. “The lab was on the first floor. It was a tiny space, only room for one person. I was the only one there.”

Chiu said ICHS has gone through a remarkable transformation. When he started his job, the agency only had about 30 employees. “At first, we only used paper,” he said. “In 2005, ICHS purchased NextGen software. We began putting the lab results into our Laboratory Information System, which interfaced with the software. The providers could see results right away. That made a big difference.”

Chiu, 64, said he enjoyed being able to spend his entire career at ICHS. “I liked my job because I got to work with other laboratory staff and use my skills to benefit our patients. I got to work in the lab, work with others at ICHS and interact with patients. That was a good mix.”

Some ICHS patients would specifically ask for Chiu to do their lab tests. “Some of our patients I know them from when they were just a little baby and now they are much taller than me now,” he said “It’s my privilege to serve them.”

Chiu said he will miss his co-workers. “They are just like my family,” he said. “We laughed and argued just like one. Actually I spent more time with them than with my biological family.”

ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola described Chiu as a “pillar” and “part of the foundational fabric” of ICHS. “He helped bolster our staff’s spirits and well-being over the years with his unassuming good nature, humor and deep caring.  We are so grateful for all these years.”

Join ICHS in celebration of National Health Center Week

Join International Community Health Services (ICHS) in celebration of National Health Center Week, from Aug. 12 to 18. The national campaign, themed, “Celebrating Health Centers: Home of America’s Health Care Heroes,” raises awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers, and the dedicated staff who bring health care to the medically underserved.

In 1973, ICHS opened as a small, volunteer-run storefront clinic in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, providing health services for low-income Filipino and Chinese elders and immigrant families.

“ICHS grew from the vision, grit and commitment of local community activists and leaders, who believed in meeting the need for affordable, skillful and culturally sensitive health care,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “From these humble origins, ICHS has grown to serve nearly 31,000 patients in 2017, representing 50 different language groups, at eight clinic locations.”

ICHS invites community members to help honor this legacy and ICHS’s role as part of a nationwide network of health centers that serve more than 27 million Americans. ICHS celebrations include:

  • Summer Cool Down at Holly Park clinic, Aug. 15, 11:30 am-1 pm. Cool summer refreshments and fun activities
  • Fun Fest at Bellevue clinic, Aug. 16, 10 am – 1 pm. Healthy activities, prizes and information for all people of all ages
  • Courtyard Celebration at International District clinic, Aug. 17, 10 am-1 pm. Something for everyone, children’s games, prizes, photo booth and more
  • ICHS: Our Story at the Shoreline clinic. Start of a historical exhibit honoring ICHS’s 45-year history in the 1st floor lobby. Learn more in a recent article in the International Examiner.

“The heroes who work at ICHS to make affordable health care possible for people in need – and their efforts as clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dentists and dental hygienists, behavioral health specialists, and much more – are at the center of this year’s National Health Center Week,” said Batayola.

Together, they produce innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in their communities. They reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness and substance use disorders. It is their work that has helped reduce health care costs and reduce chronic disease, generating a record of success and along with it a long tradition of bipartisan support in Congress.

 

ICHS remembers Fred Yee

International Community Health Services offers its deepest condolences to the family of Fred Yee, former executive director and long-time board member of Kin On Health Care Center. Yee, who received the ICHS Bamboo Health Award in 2012, passed away at his home early Tuesday morning, Aug. 8 after an apparent heart attack. He was 67.

Yee received the Bamboo Health Award in recognition of his leadership in improving access to health services for Asians and Pacific Islanders in Washington state. In 1987, Kin On opened as the first bilingual Chinese nursing home in the Pacific Northwest.

“Fred’s passing is a very sad moment for many of us who’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with him,” said ICHS Foundation Director Ron Chew. “His bubbly upbeat attitude, unlimited passion for the community and commitment to serving the underserved were his greatest gifts. He was a wonderful role model and cherished friend. I will miss him deeply.”

Yee served as executive director of Kin On from 1988 to 1991. He remained active as a board member and chair after relinquishing the directorship to Sam Wan. Following his retirement, Yee served on the planning committee for a new partnership between ICHS and Kin On to develop a comprehensive health care and social service program for frail nursing home-eligible seniors, to be constructed on Beacon Hill in 2021.

Nigel Lo, Kin On CEO, said of Yee: “Fred was my trusted mentor and personal inspiration. His ideas, vision, and leadership was exemplified in the success of Kin On. His decades of experience, passion and dedication to serving our AAPI community were truly inspirational.”

A Celebration of Life will be held for Yee on Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to noon at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 8501SE 40th St., in Mercer Island. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Kin On Health Care Center, Chinese Information and Service Center or the Yee Fung Toy Family Association.