News

In memory of Jon Sonoda

Thank you for honoring Jon Sonoda’s memory with a donation to ICHS. To make a gift, please:

  • Go to ICHS’ secure donation page here.
  • Fill in the required fields.
  • Under “Donation Information” please select “Annual Fund.”
  • Please select “Tribute Type” and “In Memory of.”
  • Please add “Jon Sonoda” and any other notes in the “Notes” field (please see below for an example).

  • Please click “Finalize and Process Donation” to complete your gift.
  • Questions about making an online donation? Please contact: foundation@ichs.com.

Remembering Jon Sonoda’s Aloha Spirit

Jon Sonoda, ICHS pharmacy manager, will be greatly missed.

In Hawaiian culture “Aloha” means more than hello and goodbye. Aloha is the island way of life based on love, compassion and friendship.

ICHS pharmacy manager Jon Sonoda passed away on Dec. 23, leaving family, friends, co-workers and patients saddened by the loss of his warm Aloha spirit. Jon led three full service pharmacies at ICHS’s Chinatown, Shoreline and Holly Park locations, pharmacy education, and pharmacy services at ACRS and Seattle World School.

Jon had a lot of plans to improve services to ICHS patients. He was the cheerleader, with always an upbeat word for others. While he felt embarrassed about any spotlight, he enjoyed it and always gave credit to his pharmacy team. He was extremely proud and protective of them and believed that his team was capable of anything. Jon’s love had no boundaries. Work or home, Jon’s generous nature was to reach out to and support whoever needed it, however they might need it.

Jon Sonada and members of the pharmacy team.

 

ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew said Jon’s generosity extended into the realm of charitable giving. “During our year-end fundraising campaign, he would come by my office and say, ‘Ron, give me a form. Who should I made a check out to?’ I never even had to ask. That’s the kind of person he was.”

Jon is survived by his wife, Zoe Sonoda, who has asked that charitable donations in Jon’s memory go to the ICHS Foundation. Please click here for instructions on how to designate a gift in Jon’s name.

Jon’s positive outlook, his passion for the ICHS vision and mission, and his service to others will be carried forward by all who knew him.

 

 

Stephanie Pimienta

Stephanie Pimienta, ICHS Community AdvocateCommunity Advocate

Languages:
Spanish, English

Projects/Services:
Assist with  Apple Health and QHP enrollment,  ORCA LIFT Enrollment, Voter Registration.  Provide outreach and health education on cancer prevention, women’s health, chronic diseases, insurance access, and other general health information to individuals, families, and groups in the community and at ICHS clinics. Connect clients to resources within ICHS and to outside agencies.

Locations:
Shoreline Clinic, Hopelink center, YMCA, Shoreline/LFP Senior Center, school events, health fairs, churches

Biography:
My desire to understand the health experiences of community members stemmed from my early childhood, in which I lived in Section 8 housing in Shoreline. My Section 8 community was largely comprised of immigrant families that faced numerous barriers as they pursued health, legal, educational, and professional opportunities. My experiences since then have come together to leave me very engaged with the subject of social equity and the pursuit of providing everyone their rightful human access to quality health care.

ICHS truly is a melting pot and every day is a learning experience when I’m able to engage and with co-workers and patients from all parts of the world! My greatest strengths include my passion and profound respect for multicultural experiences and diversity.

When I joined in the Fall of 2016, I knew I wanted to be a part of ICHS because it is known as a pioneer in providing culturally appropriate and language services for the immigrant and refugee populations.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

“There’s nothing to stand in the way of our dreams”

As newly arrived U.S. immigrants and refugees figure out the basic tools for survival, they have left important support networks – family, friends and community – behind. Not knowing the culture or language is intimidating and isolating.

Fortunately, there are those at International Community Health Services (ICHS) who work to serve as a bridge.

In 2015, Svetlana and Sergey Snigur, philosophy and political science university instructors, moved from their home in the Ukraine to Seattle, Wash., with sons Artem and Arsen. The family won spots in the green card lottery program, which gives just 50,000 people and their families the opportunity to live, work and study in the United States annually.

“It was not an easy transition for me, Sergey, or our sons,” said Svetlana. “Not really knowing anyone in the new country and not speaking English. Our family had no time to relax. Quickly, we had to find jobs, learn the language, sort out school for the children and find our own housing.”

High among the couple’s concerns was making sure they knew how to access affordable health care.

“In Ukraine, medical facilities are sponsored by the state,” said Svetlana. “In America, it is necessary to have medical insurance.”

Friends advised them to contact a Russian-speaking community advocate from ICHS, Aleksandra Poseukova. Using their native language, she helped them understand how their sons, who are now five and 17 years old, qualified for low cost health insurance through WA Apple Health. She helped Sergei and Svetlana sign up for a health plan through the Affordable Care Act that they purchased with a less than a $10 monthly premium.

“But what’s the point of having insurance if it’s not clear how it works,” recalls Svetlana. “I called Aleksandra many times with questions. There are still many incomprehensible terms, formalities and procedures. I am so glad I know I can call her and she can walk us through what we need to know.”

When Sergey got his first job in the United States and needed to fill out benefit forms, he turned to Aleksandra for help with the unfamiliar barrage of paperwork and choices.

“I called the company’s human resources manager and helped Sergey fill out the applications,” she said. “While Sergey understands that under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, he should include Svetlana on his employer-sponsored insurance plan, unfortunately, family’s budget does not cover her $200-a-month premium. Today, Svetlana is uninsured and lives in worry of getting sick or hurt.”

One of the casualties for the uninsured is an interruption in preventative health care. So, part of Aleksandra’s advocacy for the Snigurs included connecting Svetlana with resources that extended her health care beyond what she might receive in an emergency room.

She made sure Svetland knew about and took advantage of free preventative exams through the Breast Cervical Colon Health Program, which offers free breast cancer screenings and mammograms for low income and uninsured women.

“Svetlana gladly agreed and scheduled her first visit with ICHS’ Holy Park Clinic,” said Aleksandra. “She was so happy to see the quality of service and courtesy she received from ICHS’s doctors and staff.”

Since their arrival to the United States, the family has contacted Aleksandra on many issues.

“We know that we can trust Aleksandra to help with whatever challenge we are facing,” said Svetlana. “She makes us feel like we have an extended family here. She is aware of resources and help we would not otherwise know about. If she can’t answer a question, she knows how to find someone who can.”

Svetlana and Sergei work hard to provide for their family. Each member has their own picture of the American dream.

“Both boys are attending schools. Artem brings home straight “A’s.” Arsen is preparing for college and has a part-time job,” said Svetlana. “I’m grateful we have access to health care, and that there’s nothing to stand in the way of our dreams.”

ICHS receives top national award for HPV cancer prevention

International Community Health Services (ICHS) is one of 10 awardees to be selected nationwide for outstanding achievements promoting the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as a defense against several types of cancers, including cervical and oral cancers. ICHS clinics achieved a 84% success rate vaccinating all patients 13 to 15 years of age.

ICHS was chosen as the Region X winner of the HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Champion Award for Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska, which is given in partnership by the Association of American Cancer Institutes, American Cancer Society and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As the nominating agency, the Washington State Department of Health, announced ICHS’ achievement and singled out attending staff for recognition at the Washington Immunization Summit on Oct. 27.

“ICHS makes a consistent commitment to do all we can to protect young people against developing HPV-related cancers, including making sure the whole care team coordinates their efforts for maximum impact,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “We use every tool in our arsenal to track, reach, remind and educate parents and patients about the ‘who, what, where, when’s and why’s’ of HPV immunization. Our multicultural and multilingual staff play a key role in helping us overcome language and cultural barriers so we may best reach and assist the diverse communities we serve.”

The HPV Vaccine Is Cancer Prevention Champion Award Program recognizes clinicians, clinics, practices, groups and health systems that are effectively working to protect their adolescent patients against HPV cancers with high HPV vaccination rates. This year, the award program honored one Champion from each of the 10 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regions. Award nominations were accepted from all 50 U.S. states, eight U.S. Territories and Freely Associated States and the District of Columbia.

More details about ICHS’ success in HPV cancer prevention is included in a profile on the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/champions/winner-spotlights.html.

About one in nine American men is infected with the oral form of HPV, according to a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States, the fastest growing cause of throat and tongue cancer, and the single greatest risk factor for cervical cancer.

International Community Health Services opens new vision clinic

ICHS Vision Clinic ribbon cutting ceremony.

International Community Health Services (ICHS), the largest neighborhood-based health care provider for Asian Pacific Islander and immigrant communities in Washington State, held a ribbon-cutting service on Nov. 6, to celebrate the opening of its new vision clinic in the Chinatown-International District.

The 1,200-square-foot clinic, located in a storefront across the plaza from the ICHS medical-dental building in International District Village Square, was built with support from a $350,000 grant from the City of Seattle. Design began in October 2016, and the clinic was completed last month. The clinic includes two exam rooms and is expected to handle approximately 900 visits by its second year of operation.

Dr. Andrea Liem, optometrist for the new clinic, says she’s excited to start serving ICHS patients. She said the emphasis of the clinic will be providing primary eye care.

She pointed out that she herself has been going to see an optometrist since middle school. “I’ve worn contact lenses and eyeglasses in the past, and eventually had laser surgery to correct my myopia,” Dr. Liem said. “Based on my personal experience and my family’s need for vision care, I am able to empathize with and better serve my patients.”

ICHS currently provides primary care to nearly 29,000 patients in over 50 different languages at its seven clinic locations in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue.

The vision clinic concept arose out of discovery that only half of ICHS patients completed their referrals for eye care. Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO, said, “Vision problems in the United States are the most prevalent disability among children and youth, and is one of the top disabilities for adults.”

Batayola noted that next year will be the 45th anniversary of ICHS. “It’s nice to finally have this sorely needed service in place as we celebrate our agency’s milestone,” she said.

Amanda Chin, a Beacon Hill resident, had strongly advocated for the vision clinic as a member of the ICHS patient advisory council several years ago. “For me to be able to voice this and now actually seeing it happen is amazing,” said Chin. She and her family—including her mother, father, two brothers and sister—are longtime ICHS patients. Members of the Chin family attended the ribbon-cutting.

Former Seattle City Council member Jean Godden, who helped secure the $350,000 grant from the City during the 2015 budget process, was also at the ceremony. The grant was one of Godden’s last pieces of legislation before she retired.

View pictures from the event: https://flic.kr/s/aHskwKqfnp

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.

2018 open enrollment – things to know

The open enrollment period to enroll, renew or change health plans for 2018 starts on Nov. 1 through the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. This year’s open enrollment period is shorter than past years, so act sooner rather than later! If you miss the Jan. 15, 2018 deadline, you and your family may be unable to make changes or sign up for benefits until the next enrollment period in fall of 2018.

Important dates:

  • Nov 1, 2017 – Open enrollment begins
  • Dec 15, 2017 – Deadline to enroll for coverage to begin by Jan. 1, 2018
  • Jan 15, 2018 – Open enrollment ends

FREE help from ICHS
ICHS provides free help for patients and for anyone seeking to enroll or renew health insurance. Plan ahead and schedule an appointment with an expert, multilingual outreach and enrollment coordinator, who can explain options and assist with sign up. Together, ICHS staff speak eight languages including: Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, Somali, Tagalog, Russian and Punjabi. Call 206-788-3700 and ask for a 2018 health insurance enrollment appointment.

Walk-in appointments available
ICHS offers open enrollment walk-in appointments on Saturdays at the ICHS International District Clinic (2nd floor) from 9 am to 3 pm. Come in on one of these Saturdays for help and answers:

  • Nov 18, 2017
  • Dec 2, 2017
  • Dec 16, 2017
  • Dec 30, 2017
  • Jan 6, 2018
  • Jan 13,2018

 

For more information
Call ICHS at: 206-788-3700, find enrollment information online at: https://www.wahealthplanfinder.org, or download the mobile app “WAPlanfinder.”