On June 19, Sen. Bob Hasegawa and Rep. Cindy Ryu visited ICHS Legacy House in support of healthy aging programs to help Chinatown-International District seniors thrive.
The lawmakers helped International Community Health Services (ICHS) usher in good fortune at an open house event, helping “feed” red envelopes to Chinese lion dancers from martial arts master Tony Au and his Seattle International Lion Dance Team. The traditional Chinese dance ended with messages of good luck that unfolded from the lions’ mouths and a burst of confetti to scare away evil spirits.
The Hepatitis B Coalition of Washington (HBCW), an ICHS sponsored entity, in collaboration with the Hepatitis Education Project (HEP), a long-standing member of the coalition, hosted a breakfast session for its members on May 30 to commemorate Hepatitis B Awareness Month.
Presentations focused on bringing change through collaboration, a perinatal hepatitis B program and community-based outreach and screening programs were made by Nadine Shiroma, policy advisor for the Hepatitis B Foundation; David Baure, perinatal hepatitis B prevention program manager for Public Health – Seattle & King County; and Jason Sterne, COO of HEP.
Attending coalition members represented Public Health – Seattle & King County, Harborview Medical Center’s EthnoMed and Community House Call Program, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, Washington State Department of Health, Asian Counseling and Referral Services, ICHS and HEP.
Historic South Downtown (HSD) has awarded an $80,000 grant to International Community Health Services (ICHS) to support development and installation of a permanent historical exhibition in its International District medical-dental clinic.
On May 13, ICHS was one of 19 organizations to receive grants in the Chinatown-International District and Pioneer Square. The grants will fund projects that support small businesses and local nonprofits, improve public spaces, and protect and develop historic and cultural programs.
The ICHS multimedia exhibit will include photos, video and objects that highlight key moments in the 46-year history of ICHS as it has grown from a one-room storefront clinic into a regional health care provider that now serves over 31,000 patients over 50 languages at 11 service sites in Seattle, Bellevue and Shoreline. The exhibit will be located in the first floor lobby of the ID clinic.
ICHS Foundation director Ron Chew noted, “This exhibit will help newcomers and the next generation of patients and supporters understand how the institution came to be and the continuing relevance of our guiding mission of health equity.”
The ICHS: Our Story exhibit will be dedicated in August 2019 in celebration of National Health Center Week.
Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue clinics recognized with 2019 Immunize Washington award
International Community Health Services (ICHS) continues to help lead efforts to protect children against disease and improve vaccination rates in Washington state. ICHS medical clinics in Seattle, Shoreline and Bellevue were recently honored as 2019 Immunize Washington award winners for successfully ensuring toddler and teen patients received their recommended vaccines.
“The current measles outbreak reminds us that protecting young people against future disease requires a community effort,” said Rayburn Lewis, ICHS chief medical officer. “Parents, schools and health care providers must all work together to address vaccine gaps and help provide accountability. ICHS is proud of its success safeguarding the health of the youth in our communities.”
As Gold providers, the ICHS Holly Park, Chinatown-International District and Shoreline medical clinics respectively immunized 99% of toddlers and 84% of teens, 96% of toddlers and 84% of teens, and 92% of toddlers. This is the fifth consecutive year the Holly Park and Chinatown-International District clinics have been awarded Gold status, which is given to providers with a minimum 80% patient immunization rate. The ICHS Bellevue clinic was honored a Bronze provider for its immunization of teens.
The Health Plan Partnership, a cooperative alliance of the Department of Health, Health Care Authority, Governor Jay Inslee and all the major health plans in Washington, has annually hosted the Immunize WA provider recognition program since 2014. The award recognizes clinics reaching immunization rates of 70% or higher in child and adolescent patient populations. With progressive increases each year, this year was the most successful to date. See the full 2019 Immunize Washington awardee list (PDF).
Eastside clinic expansion and new North Beacon Hill senior care facility will address emerging health challenges facing King County’s communities
International Community Health Services (ICHS) is aggressively anticipating the health needs of King County’s increasingly diverse and aging residents with major projects bolstered by $3.1 million in funding from the state’s capital budget.
The Washington State Legislature has approved $1.6 million to expand mental health and substance use disorder services at ICHS’s Bellevue Clinic and $1.5 million to help ICHS construct an innovative new senior care facility on North Beacon Hill in partnership with Kin On Health Care Center.
“We’re pleased our state lawmakers recognize the value of ICHS and health centers in addressing community needs with these investments,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “We have a statewide need for a stronger mental health and substance use disorder care system. America is aging rapidly and our local population is also growing older and frailer. ICHS is helping address these challenges with the expansion of our Bellevue clinic for the integration of behavioral health and primary care, and the creation of a facility that will keep our elders thriving within their communities.”
More behavioral health services will avert future crisis
Over the past three years, ICHS has added six behavioral health providers to keep up with the growing demand at its Bellevue Clinic. The state grant will allow ICHS to add space and staff for mental health, substance use disorder and opioid use disorder treatment, alongside medical and medication assisted treatment providers. With greater access to behavioral health care focused on prevention, early intervention and ongoing treatment, ICHS can help patients address issues before they grow more serious or life-threatening.
“Many of our patients already face language and other barriers when attempting to find mental health treatment. A shortage of space and providers only adds to the potential obstacles,” said Vanja Knezevic, Bellevue clinic health center manager. “Expanding our behavioral health offerings and available space will allow more of our community members to successfully address issues before they boil over and reach a crisis.”
Healthy aging at home, not a nursing home Research shows seniors tend to live longer and be happier when they remain in their own homes. Nearly one in four King County residents will be 65 years or older by 2040. As ICHS has explored ways to help people age at home, it has partnered with Kin On, establishing Aging in PACE (AiPACE). AiPACE will provide integrated health care to allow seniors to “age in place” with easy access to preventive, primary, acute and long-term care and support services. AiPACE has launched a $20 million capital campaign to build a 25,000-square-foot facility on North Beacon Hill for nursing home-eligible seniors who will continue to live in their communities with individualized wrap-around health care, and social and transportation services.
“We’re thrilled to have gained state support in bringing innovative health care to keep our seniors living independently at home, in the community they love.” said Heidi Wong, AiPACE capital campaign manager. “Successfully receiving funding from this biennium is a major milestone in getting the capital campaign off to a strong start.”
On May 1, International Community Health Center (ICHS) staff celebrated the Bellevue Clinic’s five-year anniversary with cake, camaraderie and pride. Some staff members have been with the clinic since it first opened and have seen it grow into a vital community resource first-hand.
Today, ICHS serves more than 5,000 patients at the Bellevue Clinic annually, providing high-quality, affordable medical, dental and behavioral health care with translation services in more than 50 languages.
“I think what makes ICHS Bellevue special is the diversity of people, beliefs and ideas,” said Anh Phi, lead medical eligibility specialist. “Variety is the spice of life. I love talking to our patients and staff and opening myself up to new things.”
The Bellevue clinic marked ICHS’s first location on the Eastside, as well as a critical juncture in its evolution from a single, volunteer-run clinic into a major regional health center. Since its opening, the clinic has continuously added staff, programs and services that have allowed it to be adaptive to the needs of the local community. This year, the clinic added suboxone treatment for opioid addiction.
“It is an honor to work at the clinic that serves my family, friends and neighbors,” said Vanja Knezevic, Bellevue Clinic health center manager. “Every day, I take pride and am grateful that I have an opportunity to serve the community I live in.”
“Bellevue is growing bigger and better every day,” said Stephanie Light, lead medical receptionist. “I’m glad to be part of something so beneficial to my community.”
The ICHS Bellevue Clinic also works in close coordination with other community organizations to remove barriers to patients’ good health and to support safer neighborhoods, nutritious foods, green spaces, jobs, housing and economic opportunity. For example, a partnership with Eastside Legal Assistance Program gives low income patients access to free legal help.
The ICHS Bellevue Clinic has been so successful it has nearly outgrown its current capacity. A $1.6 million grant from the state legislature will soon add additional space for preventative behavioral health programs and services that will help fuel the next phase of its development.
The community agrees that ICHS in Bellevue has only gotten better with time.
“Doctors here are awesome,” wrote one patient in celebration of the clinic’s fifth birthday. “They’re really experienced, knowledgeable and kind.”
“ICHS plays such an important role in keeping our community healthy,” affirmed another.
International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation raised a record-breaking $280,000 at its annual Bloom Gala, held on April 27 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel. Approximately 400 guests attended to help ICHS guarantee health services for uninsured patients. Last year, ICHS provided over $1 million in uncompensated care.
“Our thanks to our sponsors and supporters for giving from the heart to help us put health and wellness within everyone’s reach,” said ICHS Foundation Director Ron Chew. “When people and families are healthy, they can live more fully and contribute more so our families, communities and cities thrive.”
Among the major gifts was a $10,750 check Revered Derek Nakano presented to Chew. The gift came from proceeds from the Blaine Memorial United Methodist Church’s 2019 Sukiyaki Dinner.
ICHS annually honors one individual and one organization for their service and contributions to the health and well-being of Asian Pacific Islander and immigrant communities. This year, Sam Wan, former CEO of Kin On Health Care Center, and the Seattle Chinatown-International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda), a longtime non-profit partner, were recognized with the 2019 Bamboo Awards for Health.
ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola called for all present to extend their support beyond the event and into their communities. She asked guests to join her in honoring the legacy left by Jan Ko Fisher, ICHS’s longest serving board member, who passed away in late 2018.
“Show up and act in all kinds of ways to fight injustice and assure basic human rights,” said Batayola. “Showing up honors the fierce commitment of Jan Ko Fisher, the hundreds of volunteers like her, and the hundreds of ICHS staff who treat, counsel and support our patients and families in the region, regardless of status. ICHS is here to keep access to quality health care alive for generations.”
Anh Ta, ICHS nurse practitioner resident, made remarks that brought home the enduring value of the ICHS mission. She described how her family emigrated from Vietnam in 2002. Unable to speak English and afraid, Anh described being welcomed at ICHS, no questions asked, by staff who “spoke my language.” One day, she vowed, she would come back to work at ICHS and give back to her community.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray visited the ICHS Highland Middle School Health Center on April 18, to learn how giving access to medical, dental and behavioral health services right on school campus is helping our Eastside community become stronger and thrive.
By making it easier for students to access needed health care and counseling services, ICHS is helping reduce health disparities for Bellevue families. The bottom line? Healthy students are better able to learn and succeed. The school-based health center, offered in partnership with Youth Eastside Services, ICHS and the Bellevue School District, with funding from Best Starts for Kids, was opened in fall of 2017. Read more here.
From left to right (back): Kendall Watanabe, ICHS health educator; Rosaly Rivero Gonzalez, ICHS clinic care coordinator; Steven Ono, Highland MS counselor; Judy Buckmaster, executive director of community development, Bellevue School District; Katie Klug, Highland MS principal; David Downing, director of operations, Youth Eastside Services; Christine Chew, Bellevue School Board president; Tess Sorbo, ICHS nurse practitioner. Left to right (front): WA State Senator Patty Murray; Sherryl Grey, ICHS senior health services manager; Sarah Burdell, behavioral health specialist, Youth Eastside Services.
B-HOPE project aims to improve survival rates for women facing barriers to breast health information and screenings
International Community Health Services (ICHS) was awarded a $105,000 community grant from Susan G. Komen Puget Sound that will expand women’s breast cancer prevention. The grant supports the ICHS Breast Health Outreach, Prevention, and Education (B-HOPE) project, which promotes early breast cancer detection among low income, minority, immigrant and refugee women in Seattle and King County.
“We are thrilled to see our extensive experience and impact within the community recognized with our largest Komen grant to date. It will allow us to move our B-HOPE project beyond education and outreach, to also include screening, diagnosis and follow up,” said Teresita Batayola, ICHS CEO. “ICHS’s Women’s Preventive Health Services and community advocacy programs have received funding from Komen’s Puget Sound chapter for more than a decade. Our long partnership is grounded in a mutual commitment to make screenings more accessible to all women because early detection saves lives.”
The B-HOPE project prioritizes outreach to the Pacific Islander, Latina, Asian Indian and East African communities, with a focus on women who have never or rarely had a breast health exam. Key activities will include providing breast health education at community events, offering interpretation and help signing up for health insurance, organizing community presentations and support groups, and providing free or low cost screenings at ICHS clinics and health fairs through a partnership with Swedish Mobile Mammography Services.
“This grant will allow us to reach women who have traditionally had difficulty accessing preventative care, including immigrants and refugees who may not have access to affordable screenings or treatment in their home countries,” said Rana Amini, ICHS health services manager, on behalf of ICHS at Komen’s 2019 Community Impact Celebration on April 18. “The inability to find providers who can speak their language can be a grave difficulty. Cultural barriers can keep women from accessing the care and support that they need. For example, some women may not feel comfortable discussing breast health with male providers. Others may associate medical treatment with pain or sickness. For these reasons, patient navigation and education are crucial to reducing barriers to breast cancer screenings for low-income women and those who speak limited English.”
In 2018, ICHS helped more than 5,000 women better understand the importance of early breast cancer detection through its activities at community events and health fairs. Since 2008, more than 24,000 women have received mammograms through ICHS, and more than 36,000 women have benefited from breast health outreach and education offered by B-HOPE staff. Among the ways ICHS partners with Komen is through its annual support of the “Race for the Cure,” now known as the “More than Pink” walk. On June 2, an ICHS fundraising team will join this year’s walk at Seward Park.
According to Susan G. Komen’s 2015 community profile report, area Pacific Islander women are most likely to be late in detecting breast cancer among all ethnic groups. Fifty-eight percent are not diagnosed until a late stage. Pacific Islander women also have the lowest five-year survival rate at 82%.