C3’s Color Commentary Radio Program

Communities of Color Coalition (C3) is a non-profit, non-partisan group that meets in Snohomish County to discuss, problem-solve, and advocate for social justice, cultural and religious respect, and human rights, especially for people of color and other under-represented groups. Their major areas of concern include but are not limited to: the elimination of personal and institutional racism, equal access to and opportunities in education, equal access to and opportunities in economic development and employment, and fair and equal treatment under the law and in our society.

North Sound ACH is honored to partner with C3 by helping to sponsor their 2019 Conference on Race on April 20. With our similar goals and outlook, we want to leverage one another’s work to support healthier and more resilient communities.

C3’s Color Commentary Radio Program presented a three-part series dedicated to youth suicide and prevention, in observance of National Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month last September.  Two of the segments feature Dr. Benjamin Danielson from the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic; the other features Wendy Burchill, Community Health Specialists for the Snohomish County Health District.  These short segments feature information on youth suicide prevention, cultural and community factors, and highlight additional resources. 

“Color Commentary” —  providing you with experts, analysis and background information on racism, discrimination, and inclusion.

Part 1: Dr. Benjamin Danielson, Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic – 9/12/18

Part 2: Dr. Benjamin Danielson, Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic – 9/19/18

Part 3: Wendy Burchill, Snohomish Health District – 9/26/18

Students of Color Career Conference

On Wednesday, March 27, North Sound ACH staff members Amanda Robins and Leah Wainman had the privilege of attending Everett Community College’s 17th Annual Students of Color Career Conference. More than 2,200 middle school and high school students from Whatcom, King, and Snohomish counties attended. The event gave students the opportunity to meet and ask questions of a diverse set of professionals, who looked like them, spoke like them, and possess experience navigating a dominant culture work environment.

Leah and Amanda were invited by leaders of the Community of Color Coalition (C3). The conference opened with a land acknowledgement and a moving prayer from elementary school tribal students. The prayer was followed by Nikkita Oliver, who connected with students through rap, spoken word and a powerful speech. Oliver is a Seattle-based creative, community organizer, abolitionist, educator, and attorney who ran for Mayor of Seattle in 2017. In her speech, Oliver encouraged students to continue striving to meet their goals, even when others might say they can’t or shouldn’t.  She reminded students that adversity will come their way, but to be ready to rise up and overcome. The students were all respectful and attentive—it was clear her message resonated.

After Ms. Oliver’s speech, students broke into smaller groups to meet with panels of professionals of color. The panel Amanda attended hosted a trial lawyer who earned his degree at a historically black college and is now the Executive Director of a civil legal aid nonprofit, a bilingual outreach coordinator who grew up in a Spanish speaking country, and an employee of the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office.

Students were embraced for their individual goals and talents and encouraged to build positive relationships with mentors.  Being introduced to professionals of color they can look to as role models, students were challenged to learn about various career options, encouraged to dream big, and realize their purpose, passion, and power.

It was an honor and a privilege to bear witness to such a powerful, empowering event. North Sound ACH looks forward to continuing to support this work; we hope to see this model of community building, collaboration and focus on equity embraced region-wide.

To learn more about the history of the Students of Color Career Conference, you can visit their website here.

New Toll-free Number

With equity and targeted universalism guiding our work, one of our top priorities is ensuring all community members can access the services they need without encountering financial or other barriers. Even within the same area code, some people calling from landlines may face long distance charges. Community members who are reliant on phone calling cards may face similar barriers.

This is why we have required our partners to have a toll-free number, and now offer one for our organization as well.  We hope to eliminate whatever barriers we can to access, and while this step is a simple one, we recognize its importance.

We can now be contacted at  (888) 438-7330 toll-free, as well as our original office number of (360) 543-8858.

Funding Opportunities from HRSA’s Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

The Health Resources & Services Administration’s (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy recently shared the following funding opportunities which are relevant to the Medicaid Transformation Project:

DOL Employment and Training for Re-entry – Application due April 25.  The Department of Labor (DOL) will make 21 awards totaling $82.5 million to help formerly-incarcerated individuals successfully make transition back to the community.  All eligible applicants must be organizations with IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit status, including women’s and minority organizations; state or local governments; or any Indian and Native American entity eligible for grants under section 166 of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Grant.

DOJ:  Building Capacity for Tribal Researchers – Application due May 13.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) will make five awards for total funding of $500,000.  The investment will provide planning grants to state, local, or tribal governments, as well as nonprofit organizations and institutions of higher learning to develop proposals for research projects that improve criminal justice in tribal communities. In addition, the DOJ will invest $4 million in Tribal Justice Technical Assistance – Due May 14 to develop strategies to address violent crime and crimes related to substance abuse and other controlled substances.   

HRSA: Enhancing Oral Health Infrastructure in Health Centers – Application due May 21.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will invest $76 million in existing health centers to increase access to new or enhanced high-quality, integrated oral health services, including those provided via telehealth and virtual dentistry.  Of the more than 27 million people nationwide who rely on HRSA-funded health centers, one in five are rural residents.  Rural communities often lack adequate oral healthcare, though the regular preventive care of the teeth and gums is important in maintaining overall health, playing a role in preventing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

HRSA: Rural Maternity and Obstetrics Management Strategies – Application due May 24. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will invest $1.8 million in three health networks to test models that improve obstetrics services in rural areas.  For the purposes of this program, the applicant must have a network composition that includes: 1) at least two rural hospitals or Critical Access Hospitals; 2) at least one Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or FQHC look-alike; 3) state Home Visiting and Healthy Start Programs, if regionally available; and 4) the state Medicaid agency.  For more information, contact RMOMS@hrsa.gov.

Visit HRSA’s grants page to learn more and see other funding opportunities.

New Project Managers Added to Team

With the start to Spring, North Sound ACH welcomed two new Project Managers!  Both are eager to begin working with our partners and and excited to join the team…and we’re thrilled to have them!

Lindsay Knaus has spent most her life in the North Sound region, in Island and Whatcom counties.  She received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from Western Washington University prior to earning a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) and Master of Public Administration (MPA).  She brings eight years of experience working in both direct and indirect patient care settings. She has provided direct patient care as a medical social worker in the hospital system and more recently, served as project manager overseeing the design and implementation of behavioral health integration in primary care clinics. Lindsay brings experience in program development, behavioral health integration, quality improvement, and population health management and is excited to join the team.

Amanda Robins grew up in Philadelphia,  and earned her Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, and her Master of Public Administration at the University of Washington.  She moved to Bellingham four years ago, and most recently worked as the Street Outreach Program Manager for Northwest Youth Services, working with homeless, at-risk, and runaway youth.  Amanda looks forward to using this direct service experience to inform her work at North Sound ACH.



Health Care Authority Update on Healthier Washington

From Washington State Health Care Authority bulletin:

We’re just getting started

January 31, 2019 marked the end of the State Innovation Models (SIM) grant. SIM created the foundation for Healthier Washington, a multi-agency, multi-sector movement to transform the health and wellness system in Washington State. It changed the way we work together, use state purchasing power, and build infrastructure. It boosted Washington’s commitment to create stronger communities and healthier people.

There’s a difference between SIM and Healthier Washington

SIM funded many Healthier Washington initiatives, and although the grant is ending, Healthier Washington continues. Under the banner of Healthier Washington, we’ll continue to:

  • Support and help sustain Accountable Communities of Health.
  • Integrate physical and behavioral health care, and support person-centered care.
  • Move toward health care purchasing that rewards value rather than quantity of services received.
  • Support providers and clinicians as they transition to value-based care, and work with partners to ensure a robust health workforce.
  • Enhance the Clinical Data Repository so providers can better coordinate care by accessing health care information within one system.
  • Collaborate with the Health Innovation Leadership Network.
  • Support and guide Medicaid Transformation efforts and rural transformation activities.

Healthier Washington isn’t going away

Healthier Washington is a movement—a way of thinking about how we approach health and wellness transformation. In this next phase, we are moving from building infrastructure to finding ways to support and sustain our work. Transformation takes time, and we remain committed to our initiatives and partnerships.

Learn more about Healthier Washington by visiting our website.

Grant Opportunity

Birth Equity Project

Washington State Department of Health’s Office of Family and Community Health Improvement (OFCHI) is pleased to announce a grant opportunity to fund projects aimed at improving maternal health and birth outcomes in priority populations through the Center for Disease Control Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant (PHHS). We are inviting communities to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to apply for direct funds to plan and implement a three year Birth Equity Project aimed at achieving these goals.

Instructions and materials for the Letter of Intent (LOI) to apply can be found here. The LOI is due March 4, 2019.

Snohomish County Releases Report on Opioid Misuse

In a new report released January 9, the Snohomish Health District estimates that between 5,000 and 10,000 people in Snohomish County are suffering from opioid use disorder. It’s likely that another 35,000 to 80,000 people are misusing opioids.
“We focused on opioid misuse and opioid use disorder because they are considered the two ends of the spectrum for diagnosable patterns that can lead to overdose and death,” said Dr. Mark Beatty, health officer for the Snohomish Health District. “This data will aid the Health District and the Opioid Response Multi-agency Coordination Group with evidence-based decision making, assessment of interventions, and other planning purposes.”

This data is the result of several months of in-depth research and analysis completed by health officer Dr. Mark Beatty. In his report, Opioid Use Disorder and Opioid Misuse in Snohomish County: Using Capture-Recapture to Estimate the Burden of Disease, Dr. Beatty applied a method originally created to estimate wildlife populations and recently used to estimate the prevalence of kidney disease.

Disease burden estimates are challenging to complete in populations that are difficult to identify or pinpoint. It becomes increasingly more complex when diseases like opioid use disorder are not a notifiable condition, such as measles or whooping cough. While the published literature is sparse, it’s possible to use surveillance for opioid events in order to estimate the disease burden. This requires an additional method known as capture-recapture.

[Click here to view an overview of capture-recapture.]

For this method, Dr. Beatty accessed FirstWatch—a proprietary record management system used for EMS calls across the county—to pull data for all overdose calls recorded in July 2018. During that month, there were 73 opioid-related overdoses identified. Utilizing data compiled by Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and the Health District, made possible through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant funded through the Washington State Department of Health, Dr. Beatty then reviewed patients seen in the emergency department. Of those 29 overdose patients at the hospital, 18 were also found in the FirstWatch data. That number translates into approximately 1,400 individuals in Snohomish County hospitalized annually because of opioids.

Using a model published by the CDC that estimates for every one death there are 32 emergency department visits for misuse and abuse, Dr. Beatty modified the calculations using Snohomish County estimates identified from the capture-recapture study.

For more information on efforts being done through the Opioid Response MAC Group, please go to www.snohomishoverdoseprevention.com. This website and accompanying social media accounts were developed to be a one-stop shop for resources. Whether trying to understand the problem, prevent addiction, or save a life, this is a place to find information for that first next step.