Welcome to the team, Nyka!

We are very excited to have Nyka Osteen joining the North Sound ACH Team. As a Project Coordinator, Nyka will be supporting project implementation, monitoring and evaluation efforts.

A native of the North Sound region, Nyka grew up in Mt. Vernon and completed her Bachelor’s degree in microbiology and global health before earning her graduate degree in community-oriented public health from the University of Washington. After working in HIV and cancer research for the past seven years, she is excited to be transitioning to a public health and health systems role. She brings experience working in LGBTQ health and program evaluation to the North Sound ACH team.  Welcome, Nyka!

New Positions Posted!

At the December 2018 Board meeting, several new positions were approved for 2019. With two staff departing for new adventures, we are currently recruiting for a Tribal Liaison, and several Project Manager positions. We also have Project Coordinator positions available to support project implementation and communications, including one focused specifically on Oral Health.

If you are looking for a position, have a commitment to equity, and would bring diverse experience to our team, we are looking for you! You can see our current postings at this link. In addition to these positions we anticipate a few more in the first quarter of 2019, so please stay connected!

Staff Transitions

It is always hard to see staff move on to new adventures, but we hope you will join us in wishing two team members the best as they transition.

Candice Wilson, our Tribal and Community Liaison, has taken a position with the Lhaq’temish Foundation whose mission is stated on their website as “Nilh Xwenang Tse Schelangen Este Nexw Xwlemi (this is our way of life in Lummi) – a healthy, giving, and prosperous community to strengthen our people through cultural, social, and economic abundance.” We are excited for Candice in this leadership role and wish her the best.

Ross Howell is also taking on a new role. Ross has been one of our Project Managers working in oral health, bidirectional integration and transitional care, and earlier this year moved to Vancouver, BC. Starting in January he will be a Senior Consultant for Innovation, Planning and Transformation for Fraser Health in Surrey, BC. We will miss both of these amazing team members, but are excited for them as they move into new roles. 

We have also added some new staff to our team, so please join us in welcoming:

Starleen Maharaj-Lewis, joining our team as the Community HUB Manager. Starleen’s experience working with marginalized populations in diverse settings across the nation, and in developing a framework for health equity infrastructure, makes our team even stronger. Starleen holds a BA from the University of British Columbia, and attended graduate studies in Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Tulane University. 
Khushdip (Khush) Brar, joining as Finance and Administrative Associate.  Khush comes from a diverse cultural background and brings forth her rich knowledge in business administration to our finance team. She has a loving daughter, caring mother and supportive husband who complete her world. Khush always strives to become a better person and hopes to bring that to our organization.

Board Seat Open for BH Provider!

The North Sound ACH is looking for a new Behavioral Health Provider sector representative to serve on the Board of Directors.  Joe Valentine, the CEO for the North Sound BHO, has held this seat since the inception of the North Sound ACH, and we are so grateful for his leadership and voice.  As we seek to fill this very important Board seat, we are looking for nominees that:

  • Add a voice from an underrepresented community (i.e., communities of color, indigenous, disabilities, LGBTQ+)
  • Are younger than age 45
  • Have a funds development and/or financial background

The Board has identified these attributes and skills as areas where the Board has gaps in our current membership.

If you are a Behavioral Health provider and are interested in applying, please use the link below to apply.  Someone from our Governance Committee will respond with a request for a formal conversation.  We will be seeking interested individuals through the middle of January. You can find the application packet at this link (or cut and paste https://bit.ly/2GBnXMQ)

Please share this message with others in the Behavioral Health provider community to help us reach someone who would be an amazing fit for the ACH Board. 

November 2018 Newsletter

As the 2018 year ends, we have many things to be thoughtful and grateful for. We’re sharing our Fall thoughts with you by calling on us all to remember the season and what we can learn from the tribes about our relationship to the earth and outdoors. Read and enjoy the brief piece from Liz here

We have also extended the deadline for expressing interest in joining the North Sound ACH Board of Directors. You can find directions and links to the key application info at this link

Our newsletter also had some important links to upcoming events:

  • The 2019 Northwest Rural Health Conference will be March 25-27 at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in SeaTac WA. The deadline to respond to the Call for Presentations and Posters is December 3rd. You can find more details at this link
  • There is a webinar in the next week around how digital programs can engage people on Medicaid and perhaps impact health outcomes. You can register for November 27th webinar at this link
  • Snohomish Health District is looking for local providers and tribes to participate in “data walks” – a series of events beginning on November 27th. The first meeting is November 27th (registration link) with additional shorter meetings on December 4th in Lynnwood, and December 11th in Monroe (registration link).
  • The final North Sound ACH Board meeting will be held on December 14th at the North Sound BHO building in Mount Vernon, from 9-2. You can find the calendar at this link, and the agenda and details (even for past meetings) at this page on our website. Meeting materials are posted 4-5 days ahead of the meeting. 

Time Extended to Express Interest in North Sound ACH Board

The North Sound ACH is still accepting applications to serve on the Board of Directors. The Board is looking to fill several for the coming year. The Board appointments are three-year terms.

Specifically, the Board is seeking to diversify its membership (including race, ethnicity, LGBTQI+, persons younger than 45) and is looking for experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Fund Development
  • Legal
  • Housing/Homelessness
  • Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Transportation
  • On Medicaid, or a caregiver for someone on Medicaid

If you are passionate about improving the region’s health and are looking for a way to get involved and contribute, please download an application to join the Board.

You can see who is currently on the Board at this link

The Board will be accepting applications until December 1st.

Gratitude and Celebration

November is Native American Heritage Month, proclaimed by Governor Inslee as a time to “honor the unique heritage of this continent’s First People and reaffirm the commitment to respect each tribe’s sovereignty and cultural identity.”  We give thanks for the leadership of the tribes and their approach to whole person care. Our team continues to learn from them and aim to grow those practices in other parts of the North Sound region.

While the media focuses on the day after Thanksgiving as “Black Friday” we hope you will join us in two other (more important) ways. First, Washington is one of several states that celebrates the day after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day, naming it a state and school holiday. But the holiday is only one part; the proclamation also calls for educating students about the history achievements, and contributions of the tribes. Washington is rich in its 29 tribes and you can learn more about each tribe at this link. Spend at least part of your day learning about the Washington’s tribes, their history and culture.

Second, the day after Thanksgiving is a day where we are called to Opt-Outside. You can #optoutside or check out this link at the Nature Conservancy to find ways to get out and connect to the outdoors. The tribes we work with have known the connection between nature and health since time immemorial, and continue to show leadership in positioning the health of our communities, ecosystems, and wildlife as inextricably linked. They might encourage us to ‘Opt Outside’ every day to find the path to our wellness and wholeness. 

We wish you wellness and gratitude this week, and hope you will celebrate your connectedness to others who were here before us, are here in our communities now, and the amazing land that surrounds us. 


Change Plans Due November 2nd!

Partners who completed Sections 1 and 2 of the application process earlier this are now working on Change Plans. We have had several informational calls, and have posted FAQs here for reference and review. Once the Change Plans are submitted and our team has a chance to review them, we’ll be scheduling follow-up in person meetings with each organization.

Check out our October 2018 Newsletter at this link.

Call for North Sound ACH Board Member Solicitation

The North Sound ACH is now accepting applications from individuals interested in serving on the Board of Directors. The Board is looking to fill two seats being vacated by board members with expiring terms on December 31, 2018. The Board seats are for three-year terms with the possibility of renewing for additional three terms.

In addition, the Board is seeking applicants who are either on Medicaid, or a caregiver for someone on Medicaid to fill the balance of a term (two years remaining) for a seat that is identified for a “consumer” voice. Please note, that a person on Medicaid can also apply for one of the other two open seats.

Specifically, the Board is seeking to diversify its membership (including race, ethnicity, LGBTQI+, persons younger than 45, and others) and is looking for individuals with experience in one or more of the following policy or practice areas:

  • Fund Development
  • Legal
  • Housing/Homelessness
  • Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Transportation

If you are passionate about this region’s work to transform health and are looking for a way to get involved and contribute, please download an application to join the Board.

You can see who is currently on the Board at this link

The Board will be accepting applications until 5:00 PM on November 19.

Community Partners Working to Achieve Oral Health Equity

Author, Glenn Puckett MPA, Director of Health Systems Integration at the Arcora Foundation

Arcora Foundation and North Sound ACH have agreed to a multi-year partnership, to establish a Local Impact Network (LIN) that improves oral health outcomes in the five county, North Sound region. This partnership is the direct result of the demonstrated commitment by North Sound ACH to address whole person health disparities, including oral health.

Arcora Foundation sponsored LINs leverage local expertise and focus on approaches most likely to achieve lasting change. They link community partners who blend resources to improve oral health for those in the community who need it most. By addressing the factors that influence oral health, including disease prevention, access to dental care, and healthy behaviors, the goal is to make measurable progress toward oral health equity in three to five years by creating a sustainable network of local resources.

Arcora Foundation’s three year commitment to North Sound will include grants, technical assistance, advocacy and other resources to help build local support and leverage local resources. This community-led approach ensures solutions reflect local needs and values. 

If you want to help improve oral health in North Sound, email Ross Howell at ross@northsoundach.org to learn about joining the North Sound LIN.

Here’s how Local Impact Networks work:

  1. Arcora Foundation partners with a local organization to coordinate the LIN, including cultivating partners to head each anchor strategy (see list below).
  2. Arcora Foundation provides start-up funding for the lead organization and for each anchor strategy.
  3. The anchor strategy organizations develop creative approaches to reduce barriers and coordinate access to care.
  4. The LIN engages clinical experts, policy advisors, and local funders to spread best practices and develop sustainability plans.

Typical LIN Anchor Strategies include, but are not limited to:

  • Community Care Coordination – Connecting people to dental care that accepts their insurance or provides no- or low-cost dental services.
  • Medical Dental Integration – Providing oral health preventive services in medical settings and connecting patients to local dental providers for routine care.
  • Access to Care – Weaving together access pathways for vulnerable populations, testing new care approaches, including teledentistry, and increasing the number of dentists serving Medicaid patients.
  • Sealants – Increasing the number of children who receive dental sealants at school.
  • Place-Based Approaches – Providing coordinated medical, dental, and behavioral health services in community-based settings.
  • Community Education – Promoting targeted education messages to influence health behaviors and community norms.

Check out our October 2018 Newsletter at this link.