by Alexa Peters
Content Warning: This article contains brief mention of suicide.
On the evening of Aug. 1, Eiob Teklie, a mental health technician at Cascade Behavioral Health (Cascade) in Tukwila watched as an unstable male patient stole an employee badge and ran with free rein throughout the multi-wing psychiatric facility, verbally and physically assaulting employees and tormenting patients suffering from acute mental illness.
Continue reading Cascade Behavioral Health Staff Strike Against Unsafe Working Conditions Continues
by Kevin Schofield
This weekend’s “long read” focuses on two medical research papers exploring how the U.S. health care system has changed over the past two decades: the money going into the system and the outcomes for individuals. And it’s not a pretty picture.
Let’s start with a paper from a group of researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation here in Seattle, looking at health care spending from 2002 through 2016 and broken out by race and ethnicity. Total spending has grown dramatically, from about $1.5 trillion annually in 2002 to over $2.4 trillion in 2016. The amount spent per person increases as they age, from a low of about $3,000 per year for children in 2016 to more than $15,000 per year for those over the age of 65. There are some significant differences in spending across racial and ethnic lines, with Asians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics seeing some of the lowest levels of spending across all age groups and white and multiracial individuals seeing the highest spending.
Continue reading Weekend Long Reads: The Evolution of Our Health Care System
by Dr. Ben Danielson
In this time of a continued reckoning, communities are watching and listening closely. What you say and what you do are noticed. Subtle and overt assertions matter. Actions and acts of omission matter. Of all the outrageous numbness that you seem to possess during this time, it is perhaps most hurtful to hear you speak about yourself as an industry leader in equity in settings like the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic community town hall.
We hear your bafflement, your confusion, when you say it is hard to come to terms with the founded allegations of racism and other biases because you are considered a leader. Maybe you truly believe your words; maybe it is more of a public-relations-based defense.
Sometimes the strategy works. There are those who deeply want to believe you are the “goodest” of the good. There are those who want to avoid the pain of confronting the truth of your actions. It would be so much more comfortable to construct a universe wherein it is somehow more valid to choose words over deeds, where it is possible to choose against knowing the harm you have done and choose, instead, to embrace the comforting words “industry leader in equity.”
Continue reading OPINION: Dear Seattle Children’s Hospital, Please Do Not Call Yourself a Leader in Equity
by Sally James
When Dr. Anisa Ibrahim was a child at a refugee camp in Kenya, she remembers admiring the health care workers who took care of the people there. She began telling people she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up. In her homeland of Somalia, war had made living impossible, so her family fled the country when she was 5 years old in 1992.
Ibrahim is now the boss of the pediatric clinic at Harborview Medical Center. Earlier this year, the Carnegie Corporation of New York named her a Great Immigrants honoree of 2021.
Continue reading From Refugee Camp to Harborview Pediatrics Head, Dr. Anisa Ibrahim Inspires Patients
by Chamidae Ford
It Takes A Village — AMSA Edition, a local nonprofit, will host its fifth annual in-person Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 19, at Othello Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Ann Okwuwolu, the creator of the festival, is a former medical technician who was inspired to start the celebration in 2016 when she recognized the lack of Black representation in New Holly Community events.
“Everything was geared towards other people. And so we didn’t have any visibility,” Okwuwolu said.
Continue reading Ann Okwuwolu’s Fifth Annual Juneteenth Event Offers History, Resources, More in Othello Park
by Ashley Archibald
If you ask her family, Kaloni Bolton, 12, was a bubbly, peaceful person who kept everybody upbeat and uplifted. She was tough, always had an opinion and a personality that balanced the family out.
Bolton died on Jan. 1 after suffering an asthma attack on Dec. 29. Her family alleges that Bolton received substandard care from Valley Medical Center (VMC), a nonprofit health care provider that oversees two urgent care facilities in Renton that Bolton and her sister visited before Bolton was transferred to Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“The entire system failed her, failed her family,” Lylia Nichols told a crowd of protesters on Saturday, May 8, outside of the first urgent care facility that Bolton accessed. “We hold Kaloni up because the system failed our whole community.”
Continue reading Black Nurses Matter March Highlights Need to Address Medical Racism
by Chamidae Ford
Nikkita Oliver has made a name for themselves in Seattle and beyond. The lawyer, artist, professor, and abolitionist is bringing their many skills to the race for Position 9, one of two at-large seats on the Seattle City Council.
On Mar. 10, Oliver announced their candidacy, a grassroots campaign centered around mutual aid that prioritizes providing community members with basic needs. This is not Oliver’s first attempt at a bid for public office — in 2017 they began their political career with a run for mayor, narrowly missing out on the general election.
Oliver is currently the executive director of Creative Justice, an organization that focuses on providing art therapy as an alternative to incarceration. They are also deeply involved in Seattle’s Black Lives Matter movement and have worked closely with organizations to serve marginalized communities.
Continue reading Q&A: Nikkita Oliver Focuses on Mutual Aid, Community in Campaign for City Council
by Asqual Getaneh, MD
In February 2020, International Community Health Services (ICHS) was the first of the nation’s nearly 1,400 federally qualified health centers — serving 30 million people, most of them low-income immigrants and refugees — with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
Our staff have seen the tragic costs of a pandemic that has infected more than 100 million people worldwide and claimed more than 2 million deaths. So, when the first doses of the Moderna vaccine rolled through our doors on Dec. 23, we felt ready.
Continue reading OPINION: More Will Die From Covid Without Meaningful Change to Health Care
by Dr. Stephan Blanford and Misha Werschkul
Since the pandemic’s onset, Washington families have experienced a rolling crisis in jobs, hunger, health, and education. The prospect of eviction hangs over far too many. Food insecurity has skyrocketed. Child care facilities have closed, many of them permanently. And a rocky transition to remote learning is now impeding students’ educational progress. The acute stress on children and families may harm kids’ health, their education, and their ability to earn a living.
Continue reading OPINION: Washington’s Children Shouldn’t Have to Relive Our Past Mistakes
by Jasmine M. Pulido
On the afternoon of Thursday, January 28, two dozen doctors, nurses, and support staff walked out of Carolyn Downs Family Medical Center in protest of the announcement that the clinic’s white male executive director, Raleigh Watts, would be reinstated on February 1 after being on paid administrative leave since October 2020. Dating back to October 2020, Watts was under an ongoing internal investigation into allegations of microaggressions, workplace abuse, and preferential treatment based on race.
Continue reading Healthcare Workers at Carolyn Downs Protest Executive Director Reinstatement Despite Allegations of Racism