Community Engagement Training with the Pomegranate Center

Earlier this month members of our team attended a two-day training with the Pomegranate Center, co-facilitated by Communities of Color Coalition.  The Pomegranate Method provides tools to build collaborative, inclusive, and decisive projects. Our staff learned a process for community planning and decision-making based on productive discussion to drive successful collaboration. Those who attended are eager to use this model in future meetings!

Pomegranate Center believes every community, agency, and company should have teams of trained facilitators who are neutral about what is decided, but fierce about protecting the process. If you would like to learn more, click here to read about training with the Pomegranate Center in Seattle this October.

We Have a Clinical Director!

This summer we officially welcomed Greg Arnold onto our team as Clinical Director.  Greg served on our Program Council as well as participated in past workgroups for the North Sound ACH when he was on staff with the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization.

Greg Arnold grew up in central Wisconsin, earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, his Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University- Seattle, and his Master’s Certificate in Health Administration from the University of North Dakota. He is a licensed Mental Health Counselor and Child Mental Health Specialist, having done clinical work in a wide variety of settings including supportive housing, community outpatient, and integrated care environments. Greg developed and managed clinical programs at Friends of Youth in King County, which promoted the growth of school-based services and supported housing services programs. Most recently he worked as the Integrated Health Analyst at the North Sound Behavioral Health Organization. 

In his role as the Clinical Director Greg will be overseeing health improvement initiatives and support efforts to integrate clinical transformation strategies. Join us in welcoming Greg to the team!


HCA Seeking Provider Participation

The ‘Paying for Value’ Survey is Now Online

The Health Care Authority (HCA) is seeking provider participation in an annual paying for value survey. The survey will help track progress toward the statewide goal of paying for value-based care, rather than paying for volume of care. In a value-based system, payments are based on the health outcomes people experience, rather than paying for each medical transaction.

Because provider success is at the heart of value-based care, provider input is essential. Providers who participate in this survey will provide valuable insight into the challenges they face when considering adopting new payment arrangements. It will also help HCA support providers and the health and wellness community as a whole.

HCA invites a variety of providers across Washington State to participate. This includes hospitals, health systems, clinics, tribal health care, and behavioral health care, and others.

The survey is open until 5:00 pm on Friday, August 30. It is designed to be filled out by an administrative leader, with only one response per organization.

HCA is asking managed care organizations and commercial plans to participate in a similar survey.

To learn more, visit the Paying for value webpage.

Lummi Ceremony for Tibetian Monks

Members of the North Sound ACH team were honored with an invitation to join a special day with Lummi elders, storytellers and singers, and a group of Tibetan monks who had journeyed to Lummi to join in prayers for the earth. It was an amazing day affirming what binds people together, even when their homelands are thousands of miles apart. The messages of compassion, connectedness, and our spiritual relationship to the earth’s wellbeing was both nurturing and inspiring. We are so thankful to Lummi Nation for inviting us onto their land to join in that very special event.

“Attending this event was an incredible experience, and took me several days to fully process the honor, depth, and breadth of how special it was to share. I was humbled and extremely honored to be invited to join the event, and was struck by the history of the space. The recurring messages of compassion and connectedness to our families, communities, and culture was truly special. The healing aspects of the storytelling and singing that crossed cultures created a beautiful, peaceful space.” ~ Tiffany Edlin, North Sound ACH Staff

“Coming in to this experience with little knowledge of what to expect, I was so impacted by the great history and spiritual connection shared. The overwhelming, radical inclusivity we experienced that afternoon will stick with me for quite some time.”  ~ Hillary Thomsen, North Sound ACH Staff

Thank you to Darrell Hillaire and Children of the Setting Sun for this special invitation and their generous hospitality.

We need your voice! A note from Conner Darlington, Board Member.

The Health Care Authority’s Medicaid Transformation project is in full swing, and it’s time for the Board of the North Sound Accountable Community of Health to plan for next steps in our mission to better the health of the people of Lummi Nation, Nooksack Tribe, Samish Indian Nation, Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Tulalip Tribes, Upper Skagit Tribe; the communities of Island, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom counties.
My unique position on the Board of Directors is focused on lifting up the voices of the people who will be impacted by our decision, with special attention given to communities most impacted by systems of oppression. Referencing Rev. Dr. Barber, I don’t want people to speak for the people, but to let the people speak for themselves! I feel comfortable saying that the dominant culture of this region (and beyond) is for community input in important decision-making to be inauthentic and tokenizing; while I can’t guarantee I will be successful in accomplishing something different, I will strive to with all that I have.
I welcome all who would like to collaborate in this effort.  Please contact me at


Launch of Tribal and Equity Series: Afterthoughts

Sometimes we get feedback after an event that shows the work ahead of us. As we embark on this journey of tribal and equity learning we are not looking for ‘pats on the back’, as much as we are looking for others who see the road ahead and its importance. This was one of those messages, and Ben gave his permission to share it here –

Hello Liz,

Thank you so much for letting us be at the table yesterday. I was awestruck and inspired. Everything about it was wonderful. My subjective experience with the breakout section was very educational. What I got from it was all of the agencies thinking in ways that they could improve their programs that they offer to the communities they support. While I see that as a baby step, I still see it as an effort to move in the same circles. It may be that they just want to continue to justify their organization.

What I was hoping to hear from them was the need to educate their communities in ways that make them self-sufficient rather than dependent on the largesse of the dominate culture. By that I am definitely saying that dominant culture do exactly as the Children of the Setting Sun described. Give them the tools and training so that they can be the doctors, lawyers and chief bottle washers. Not some bastardized version of what currently exist.

Those agencies and organization should be assisting in helping change behavior not culture. I have heard tribal people say it over and over again.  We do not need not need to be taught how to be white. We need their expertise at training to become masters of own destiny, not training to be apart of a system that has failed us all too often. Othering and Belonging are defining terms. Targeted Universalism is a shift in the way we currently operate and must be instituted to usher in the new paradigm.

Just my thinking. And once again thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to actually focus on solutions rather than holding up a system of principles that leaves us where we are, with a few new shiny objects.

Ben Young

Vice Chair Communities of Color Coalition

Chair North Puget Sound Conference on Race


Substance Use Disorder Information Guide

The Health Care Authority (HCA) has released Sharing Substance Use Disorder Information:  A Guide for Washington State. You can find it on the HCA website.

This guide supports whole-person health care by supporting exchange of information between a person’s behavioral and physical health providers. It also supports a person’s right to determine who may share and receive their substance use disorder (SUD) information.

Please feel free to share this resource with others.

Transgender Health ECHO Currently Accepting Applications [Deadline next week!]

Attention FQHCs!  Currently accepting applications for the July 2019 – June 2020 program.  Due May 24!

Through the use of the groundbreaking Project ECHO model, TransECHO creates a network of health centers and faculty expertise to increase clinician access to knowledge and support needed to provide culturally responsible, comprehensive, primary care for transgender and gender non-conforming patients.

Hosted by the Fenway Institute, TransECHO is a monthly program which provides the opportunity to tap into the collaborative power of health center teams and public health experts. Clinics participating in TransECHO will have 12 months of free training, technical assistance, and coaching to learn to better serve their transgender and non-binary clients.

The learning objectives of TransECHO are:

    1.   Improve my ability and my organization’s ability to provide high-quality care for transgender and gender non-conforming patients.
    2.   Assess and expand my organization’s capacity to create an affirming environment for transgender and gender non-conforming patients.
    3.  Build relationships with other organizations that will facilitate peer learning experiences, both during the ECHO sessions and beyond.
    4.   Develop and refine strategies that enable my organization to collect and utilize sexual orientation and gender identity data to improve health services and patient outcomes.

Sessions occur the third Wednesday of every month from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm PST starting July 17, 2019. Federally-Qualified Health Centers and look-alike clinics are encouraged to apply.

Applications are due May 24.  Click here to apply.
For more information, email

“Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that empowers clinicians everywhere to provide better care to more people, right where they live.” – About ECHO
The ECHO Experience
  • The opportunity to tap into the collaborative power of health center teams and public health experts
  • 12 months of free training, technical assistance, and coaching for your health center
  • Access to nationally-recognized faculty and experts
  • Access to state-of-the-art resources, tools, and effective practices

New Project Coordinators on Staff

 Just a month after adding two project managers to our staff, North Sound ACH had two project coordinators join our team as well.

Megan Argetsinger moved to Bellingham eight years ago to attend Western Washington University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her major was titled The Body: Scientific and Cultural Perspectives, and explored the intersection between physical health, mental health, and the sociology of health. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Health through the University of Washington.

Megan has four years of direct patient care experience, most recently as an orthotic fitter serving hospitals and clinics throughout the North Sound region. Megan is very excited to be working in a public health and health systems role and looks forward to using her education and experience to serve her community.

Michaela Vendiola was born in Bellingham, Washington and raised on the Lummi Indian Reservation. She is an enrolled member of the Walker River Paiute Tribe and a descendant of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community.

Michaela earned her bachelor’s degree at Western Washington University in American Cultural Studies with a minor in American Indian Studies. Most recently, she served as the Community Health Representative for the Home Visit Program at the Lummi Tribal Health Center. Her work focused on program development, patient outreach, and care coordination to serve at-risk Tribal elders of the Lummi Nation community.

Michaela is excited to begin utilizing her direct service experience and local Tribal health care experience and contribute her skills to the North Sound ACH.

Conference on Race

The Communities of Color Coalition (C3) provides speakers and trainings on issues affecting communities of color and other under-represented groups. Most recently, C3 hosted their largest annual event, the community-sponsored North Puget Sound Conference on Race April 20 in Everett.

This year’s conference theme, “School to Prison Pipeline: Breaking the Cycle” featured breakout workshops on health, education, culture, employment, housing, and restorative justice. Keynote speaker and University of Washington School of Social Work researcher, Robin DiAngelo, spoke to the contents of her bestselling book on white privilege and racism, White Fragility. The afternoon session featured speaker Aneelah Afzali, founder and Executive Director of the American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN) at the Muslim Association of the Puget Sound.

One breakout session offered was “We Rise: Building a Restorative Community”, an introduction to  the Restorative Justice movement and its applications in the city of Everett. The facilitators shared their own lived experiences  to illuminate their practices in using shared reflective mediation tools. Participants broke out into groups to discuss the following questions:

  • In what way might we inform community and city leaders of the challenges and opportunities to build resilience in the city?
  • Where are some places to start?  What does this look like?

Another breakout session, “Creating Communities of Educational Change” focused on turning plans and thoughts into action for community change. Marjorie James facilitated the workshop and shared her experience serving as the Curriculum and Engagement Manager in Tulalip Tribes Education as well as a Trustee for the Tulalip Foundation. After hearing Marjorie’s call to create communities for educational change, participants were asked to pair up and share key points about their work in the community. This interactive workshop challenged everyone to form a vision for the collective future of the school districts that serve us and our communities. Participants were encouraged to try and make at least one connection with someone in the room to carry community change forward and to continue to focus on making connections with community leaders who can catalyze change.

Offered free to interested participants, the conference had registration of over 700.  Check out photos from the event, as well as artwork created by youth at the Denney Juvenile Justice Center in Everett and Echo Glen Children’s Center in Snoqualmie on C3’s website.