Women are vital to the Puget Sound area’s outstanding healthcare services

Compiled by Signe Predmore
Northwest Asian Weekly


From top left: Carolina Lucero, Claire Spain-Remy, Ekene Amaefule, Shaquita Bell, Julie McElrath, Karlotta Rosebaugh, Katie Lai, Lily Jung Henson, Maria Carlos, Mariko Kita, Sarah Patterson, Seok Bee Lim, Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization, and Zeineb Mohammed

Seattle and its surrounding areas are nationally and internationally renowned for top-caliber healthcare institutions and facilities. The upcoming Women of Color Empowered luncheon will celebrate the many significant contributions of women in the area to the medical field.

Sponsored by the Puget Sound Blood Center, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Washington Dental Service Foundation, the luncheon will take place on Friday, Feb. 7 at 11:30 a.m. at the New Hong Kong Restaurant, 900 S. Jackson St., Seattle. Wendy Zheng will be the event emcee. Zheng is a regional director for the American Heart Association, host of the television health talk show A Healthier You with Wendy, and serves as a health advocate in the community.

The following healthcare professionals and organizations will be celebrated at the luncheon:

Carolina Lucero

Carolina Lucero is the senior vice president of Sea-Mar Community Health Centers, where she has worked for the past 28 years. She started out as a direct service provider, and later moved onto management and senior leadership positions.

As senior vice president, Lucero oversaw growing numbers of primary care clinics and preventive health services, including maternity support services, WIC, and health education services throughout western Washington. Currently, her primary area of responsibility is overseeing long-term care services, including the Child Development Center, which is part of the intergenerational service delivery model at the Care Center.  She is involved in many of Sea-Mar’s community outreach projects and has devoted the last 35 years to advocacy for underserved communities in the areas of health and education.

Ms. Lucero is actively involved in addressing the issues around nursing education and the continued shortage of bilingual and bicultural nurses in Washington state. She was instrumental in the development of a successful career ladder CNA to RN program at South Seattle Community College.

She has also been the catalyst and a key player in the development of two international nursing programs at Bellevue College and South Seattle Community College, with Spain and Mexico, respectively.

Claire Spain-Remy

Claire Spain-Remy, MD, joined MultiCare Medical Associates in 2008, following 12 years in private practice. Dr. Spain-Remy, an obstetrician and gynecologist, has served in several medical leadership roles, including most recently as the medical vice president for specialty care for MultiCare Medical Associates.

She earned her medical degree from Duke University and completed her internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Madigan Medical Army Center. She received her master’s in medical management at the University of Southern California and is a member of the American College of Physician Executives.

Jayashree Srinivasan

Jayashree Srinivasan is a neurosurgeon at Swedish Medial Center. Dr. Srinivasan began her post-education career as an assistant professor in the department of neurological surgery at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. She returned to private practice in Swedish Medical Center and joined Neurosurgical Consultants of Washington in 2004. Dr. Srinivasan performs surgery to address a number of spine and brain diseases, including tumors, cerebrovascular diseases, and degenerative spinal conditions. She has been recognized by Seattle Magazine and Seattle Metropolitan Magazine as a top doctor.

Dr. Srinivasan belongs to a number of professional organizations, including the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, and American Board of Neurological Surgery. In addition to her surgical practice, Dr. Srinivasan has published a number of articles and given numerous presentations.

Ekene “Kennie” Amaefule

Ekene “Kennie” Amaefule has been a nurse for over 10 years. She is currently the nurse manager of the rehabilitation inpatient unit at the Puget Sound Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Amaefule has been working on medical projects with the Imo State Government of her native country, Nigeria, for the past 10 years. She has made both teaching and service contributions to the Imo State University Teaching Hospital. As the national director of her nonprofit organization, Caring Hearts International, Amaefule has set up programs for Nigerians that provide scholarships, purchase school supplies for children, and assist women with micro loans. While establishing an education fund for the children in her native village, she adopted twin baby boys who had been abandoned. In recognition of her humanitarian and philanthropic work in Nigeria, Amaefule was crowned the first female “chief” in 2002.

In the United States, Amaefule is an active mentor and tutor to minority students, as well as a community volunteer. As an adjunct professor at Seattle University and guest lecturer on international health at the University of Washington, Tacoma campus, she is known for giving motivational speeches to students.  She has received numerous awards for her dedication and exemplary service to the practice of nursing.

Julie McElrath

Dr. Julie McElrath is senior vice president and a member of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), where she is director of the vaccine and infectious diseases division. She is a professor of medicine, laboratory medicine, and global health at the University of Washington. She also attends on the FHCRC, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, and UW Infectious Diseases consult service.

Dr. McElrath’s research investigates natural immune responses to HIV for the purposes of vaccine development. She has built a productive and world-renowned HIV vaccine laboratory program, where she has conducted immunological research, contributing a fundamental understanding of how HIV establishes infection, and identifying persons with low levels of HIV DNA who otherwise lack evidence of infection. She has assembled invaluable cohorts to elucidate mechanisms of risk for HIV infection and disease, and productively mentored young investigators and students. She has also provided major contributions and leadership to many national and international programs to tackle the HIV epidemic, including the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, the Gates Foundation Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery, the Microbicide Trials Network, and the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise.

Karlotta Rosebaugh

Karlotta Rosebaugh has served as the director of the Health Sciences Center Minority Students at the University of Washington for the past 24 years. She has assisted in the writing of several teaching grants, resulting in over $12 million in funding for educational initiatives for high school and undergraduate students in the health and biomedical/biobehavioral sciences. She has also been involved as an advisory board member for the program.

Ms. Rosebaugh annually teaches a seminar on “Cultural and Global Citizenship Competency” for the Harvard School of Public Health Multidisciplinary International Research Training Program. Prior to her current position, she was an elementary school teacher and district ethnic studies coordinator in Bothell. She has continued to rely on her strong teaching skills throughout her career. She received the Golden Acorn Award for teaching and was nominated twice for a University of Washington Distinguished Staff Award.

Katie Lai    

Katie Lai is a clinical pharmacist at Harborview Medical Center. When she began her career there in 1997, it was unheard of for pharmacists with her advanced training to work where they were not involved in clinical activities. Yet with perseverance, dedication to progress in the field of pharmacy, and motivation to help patients beyond dispensing medications, she was able to pioneer progressive clinical services in several primary care clinics at Harborview.

During her 17 years at Harborview, she helped establish and develop clinical services at several primary care sites, including the International Medicine Clinic that serves non-English speaking patients at the county hospital. Now, it is a standard at Harborview to have clinical pharmacists help co-manage patients’ chronic diseases. As a result of Lai’s initiative, pharmacists are working closely with doctors and other medical professionals to help determine patients’ medication regimens and monitor the therapies selected.

Lily Jung Henson

Dr. Lily Jung Henson has just completed her tenure as the first chief of staff at Swedish Issaquah, the newest Swedish Medical Center campus, which just won the 2013 Leapfrog Award for Top Hospital.

She remains the medical director of neurology at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute Eastside Neurology Services. She is responsible for the coordination of neurology services for the Swedish system on the Eastside.

Dr. Jung Henson has been involved in advocacy. She is the current chair of the board of directors of the American Academy of Neurology’s Brain PAC, and serves on many other government committees related to neurology. As a busy MS neurologist, she has been involved in clinical trials resulting in many of the newer MS therapies released in the past decade. She is a co-leader of the Providence/Swedish MS group of neurologists who have developed a treatment algorithm for MS disease modifying therapies, and started a system-wide case review meeting to discuss complex cases, as well as other collaborative efforts. Her peers have named her as one of Seattle Metropolitan Magazine Best Doctors for several years.

Dr. Jung Henson was one of the founders of the Washington State Neurological Society. She is a clinical associate professor of neurology at the University of Washington and has trained over two decades of physicians.

Maria Carlos

G. Maria Carlos, MS, is a program manager in the parent child health program at Public Health-Seattle and King County. She has managed the HOPE (Healthy Outcomes, Prevention & Education) program for 15 years, supporting community efforts to engage women in the hardest of life circumstances and do whatever it takes to help them get healthcare.

Ms. Carlos has more than 15 years experience working in the field of infant mortality prevention and outreach, and over 25 years in maternal and child health program management. Prior to her current role, she worked as executive director and regional program coordinator for the March of Dimes in Utah, Colorado, and California. She continues to be humbled by communities’ commitment to health of their youngest members, and strives to support their leadership in eliminating racial disparities in birth outcomes.

Mariko Kita

Mariko Kita, MD, is the chief of the neurology section at Virginia Mason Medical Center and director of the Virginia Mason Multiple Sclerosis Center. She is a clinical assistant professor in the department of neurology at the University of Washington and an affiliate investigator at the Benaroya Research Institute, where she serves as the director of neurology clinical trials.

The author or co-author of numerous articles and abstracts pertaining to multiple sclerosis, Dr. Kita’s research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, such as NEJM and Neurology. She is a reviewer for Neurology and Archives of Neurology. She remains an active clinical investigator in novel MS therapeutics. She is a speaker locally and internationally in the field of MS.

Dr. Kita is the founder of Pacific Northwest Alliance of MS Centers, as well as a member of the American Academy of Neurology, Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, Washington State Neurological Society, and Washington State Medical Association. She has been recognized in 2012 and 2013 as a Top Doctor by Seattle Metropolitan Magazine and voted into America’s Best Doctors® in 2010.

Sarah Patterson

Sarah Patterson has been a member of the leadership team at Virginia Mason Medical Center for 30 years and currently serves as the executive vice president and chief operating officer. She helped Virginia Mason set up a pioneering lean production system to eliminate waste, improve quality, and focus on patient safety. She has responsibility for all operations of the clinic and hospital, along with the Kaizen Promotion Office, human resources, quality and compliance, facilities, and pharmaceutical services.

Ms. Patterson was elected board chair of the Washington State Hospital Association in 2010 and 2011. The association represents all Washington hospitals and health-related organizations. She also has served on the board of directors of the Horizon House Retirement Community. In November 2013, she was recognized by Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the 2013 Women of Influence.

Seok Bee Lim

Seok Bee Lim, D.M.D., has been a staff dentist at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic since 1981. She is also on the faculty for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Washington School of Dentistry. From 1986 to 1991, she was the clinic’s dental chief. Currently, her primary responsibility is providing patient care. Additionally, she provides clinical instruction to residents who rotate through the clinic. These residents are from UW pediatric dental residency, UW general practice residency, Swedish Hospital general practice residency, and Seattle Children’s Hospital pediatric residency.

Outside of her commitment to Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, Dr. Lim supports the mission of Refugee Women’s Alliance and Seattle Urban Academy.

Shaquita L. Bell

Dr. Bell is currently a pediatrician at the community health center Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. She is the site coordinator for residents and helps to run the foster care program there. Dr. Bell is also a faculty member at Seattle Children’s Hospital and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington in the division of general pediatrics.

Born and raised in Minnesota, Shaquita is Cherokee on her mother’s side and African American on her father’s side. She completed medical school at the University of Minnesota in 2006. Dr. Bell then went on to pediatric residency at the University of Washington, which she completed in 2009. In 2010, she remained at Seattle Children’s Hospital for a chief residency year, becoming the first Native American chief resident in the program’s history.

Zeineb Mohammed

Zeineb Mohammed is the Eritrean community health promoter for the nonprofit Global to Local. She began as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the organization in 2011.

Ms. Mohammed worked as a nurse’s assistant and nurse midwife in Eritrea since 1999. After arriving in the United States in 2010, she became recertified as a registered nurse. Her fluency in Tigrinya, Saho, Amharic, and Arabic has allowed her to support several immigrant populations in SeaTac and Tukwila.

Ms. Mohammed has a passion for bringing people together and exploring ways to collectively address some of the key barriers facing people from Eritrea in Washington, ensuring they receive the tools and supports to lead successful and sustainable, healthy lives.

As the senior member of the community health promoter team, her experience teaching nutrition and diabetes prevention classes has been instrumental in training incoming health promoters.

Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization

The primary mission of the Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization is to provide financial aid and scholarships to students of African heritage, who pursue studies leading to careers in professional nursing.

The institution is named to honor the pioneering African American nurse Mary Eliza
Mahoney. Graduating from the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston in 1879, Mahoney was the first black graduate nurse in the United States. For more than 40 years, she devoted her life to professional nursing, delivering services to patients in their homes, clinics and hospitals, and promoting organizational development for nurses.

Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization was first established as the Mary Mahoney Registered Nurse Club in 1949. Anne Foy Baker invited 12 other registered nurses to a meeting in her home to discuss the idea of establishing a professional organization. Under her leadership, the organization was created with a two-fold mission: to provide information and support to one another, and to provide scholarship support to students pursuing education and careers in nursing. (end)

All these women will be honored Friday, Feb. 7, at the Women Leaders in Health Care luncheon at the New Hong Kong Restaurant, located at 900 S. Jackson in Seattle. For more information, call 206-223-0623 or visit www.womenofcolorempowered.com.

Signe Predmore can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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