ICHS kicks off campaign to open new center

By Ron Chew
For Northwest Asian Weekly

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Artist’s render of the proposed ICHS clinic in Shoreline (Image from ICHS)

International Community Health Services (ICHS), the largest Asian Pacific Islander health care organization in the Pacific Northwest, recently announced plans to develop a new medical-dental clinic in Shoreline.

ICHS, founded in 1973 as a free bilingual storefront clinic for elderly Chinese, Japanese and Filipino immigrants in the International District, currently serves over 18,600 patients in over 50 different languages. ICHS operates full medical-dental clinics in the International District and Holly Park in Southeast Seattle. It also operates smaller clinics at Seattle World School and Asian Counseling and Referral Service.

The $12.8 million Shoreline clinic will be a brand-new 20,000 square foot facility, located at 16549 Aurora Avenue North. Backers of the project include Shoreline Mayor Keith McGlashan, Shoreline State legislators Cindy Ryu, Ruth Kagi and Maralyn Chase and Shoreline Community College President Lee Lambert.

The Shoreline clinic, scheduled to open in 2014, will be the first community clinic ever in that city. ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola said, “Based on our research, we know that there is a very significant gap in health care service in Shoreline and a sizeable population that would benefit from our multilingual, culturally sensitive model. We’re excited about moving forward.”

On Nov. 15, the board of directors of both ICHS and the ICHS Foundation (which raises supplemental money to support clinic operations), met to launch its own $100,000 “kick-off” to help jump-start the overall $12.8 million effort.

“Raising $12.8 million is a very ambitious goal in this current economic climate,” Batayola said, “but the timing is right and we’ve got great support. With the Affordable Care Act going into effect in 2014, there will be a need for key primary care providers like ICHS to step up and serve the additional folks soon coming into our health care system.”

Co-chairing the Capital Campaign Steering Committee are volunteers Janyce Ko Fisher and Nicole Li. Staffing the capital campaign efforts are ICHS Foundation staff members Ron Chew and Claire Cho, veterans of the Wing Luke Museum’s $23 million campaign to develop the new museum in the International District.

According to Ko Fisher, one of the founding members of ICHS, “This capital campaign will provide an incredible legacy for future generations. With much pride, I’ve watched this health clinic grow from a small storefront space into a multi-clinic agency over the past 40 years.”

Li, a former employee of ICHS and a current patient, echoed Ko Fisher’s pride in the grassroots commitment of ICHS to serving the low-income non-English-speaking population. “We’re growing with integrity,” she remarked.

Martha Choe, a member of the 13-member Capital Campaign Advisory Committee, has been an enthusiastic supporter of ICHS for many years. “With the new Shoreline clinic, the same culturally sensitive and effective health care will become available to thousands more in the north end of King County,” she said. (end)

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