With open doors, ICHS celebrates National Health Center Week
On August 7-13, 2022, International Community Health Services (ICHS) staff, patients, elected and public officials, and community supporters came together to celebrate National Health Center Week across ICHS clinic locations. The week was highlighted by clinic tours for guests from the community, lunches to celebrate staff, and other community service activities.
National Health Center Week is an annual celebration of community health centers like ICHS, and the important role that we play in advancing health access for underserved communities and helping communities stay healthy and thrive.
According to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), community health centers served more than 30 million patients in 2021 — the most ever recorded. Of those who receive care at community health centers, 1 in 5 are uninsured, 9 in 10 are low-income, and 2 in 3 are patients of color.
The theme for this year’s National Health Center Week was Community Health Centers – The Chemistry for Strong Communities. The White House marked the beginning of National Health Center Week by issuing a Presidential Proclamation that praised the “outstanding contributions to communities across America.”
On Saturday, August 6, ICHS Holly Park leadership greeted Ingrid Ulrey, the Regional Director of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Region 10, and Sharon Turner, the Regional Administrator of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs for Region 10, at a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Director Ulrey and Turner met with ICHS staff, spoke with parents about their decision to vaccinate their children, and had an in-person tour of ICHS’ southernmost clinic site.
On Monday, August 8, ICHS Foundation team members greeted community supporters at the Shoreline clinic location to offer an in-person clinic tour of the locations’ medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, WIC, and other services. Visitors met with staff and learned more about the work ICHS does outside of our doors to promote health equity and access to residents in the area. This would be the first of four clinic tours during 2022 National Health Center Week, welcoming supporters to Bellevue, International District, and Seattle World School Teen Health Center Clinics.
On Wednesday, August 10, ICHS leadership greeted Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA 7th District) for her first-ever clinic tour of ICHS Shoreline. After viewing ICHS’ services and greeting staff, Teresita Batayola, ICHS President and CEO, awarded the Congresswoman the 2022 Certificate of Recognition for her advocacy for community health centers.
“Community health centers are a pillar of strength, support, and care for patients and their loved ones. Their work and accomplishments deserve to be celebrated,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. “I’m honored to have visited International Community Health Services’ Shoreline Medical and Dental Clinic, and look forward to continuing working closely together to ensure they are always able to provide the best care and services that they can to their patients.”
Later that afternoon, ICHS’ community health services team held a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Federal Way, WA in partnership with the Pacific Islander Community Association of Washington (PICA-WA). ICHS has been hosting pop-up vaccine clinics to administer vaccines to communities of color, and communities facing barriers to accessing vaccines for over a year.
On Friday, August 12, 2022 National Health Center Week sponsors hosted information tables in the courtyard of ICHS’ International District clinic to meet with patients and staff. Sponsors offered helpful information on healthy living tips, and also provided fun giveaways for all to enjoy.
And throughout the week, across all ICHS sites, staff enjoyed employee appreciation lunches — recognizing the individuals committed to providing high quality care and embody the mission of the Community Health Center movement.
Community Health Centers — A nationwide impact
Community health centers are non-profit, federally funded clinics established specifically to provide medical services to marginalized and low-income patients — to open their doors and uplift our efforts in promoting healthier communities.
2022 marks 57 years since the first community health center was launched in 1965 in Massachusetts to deliver community-orientated primary care. Providers and leaders were guided by the needs of the populations they served and combined broder efforts to improve the social and economic conditions that harmed their patients.
Today there are over 1,400 community health center organizations nationwide, and 27 here in Washington state that reach millions of patients.
Thank you to everyone who celebrated National Health Center Week with us! And a special thanks to our 2022 National Health Center Week sponsors whose generous donations supported ICHS employee celebration lunches at all of ICHS’ clinic sites.