Tag Archives: Odessa Brown Children's Clinic

OPINION | The Future of Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic in the Central District

by Shaquita Bell, M.D.


The Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic opened more than 50 years ago in its original home in the Central District. That first location on East Spruce Street was the fruit of Ms. Odessa Brown’s vision that no child should be denied health care because of their race. 

That clinic was the home to OBCC for about a decade. In 1980, we moved into the location on Yesler Way that is now a fixture of the Central District — a place where patients and families get needed care regardless of anyone’s ability to pay and no matter anyone’s background. 

I made the difficult decision recently with the support of fellow leaders at Seattle Children’s to temporarily close the Central District location after the discovery that the building needed major repairs that would be too disruptive for our patients and families. This decision was ultimately mine, and I wanted to share my thinking about this temporary closure. 

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OPINION | Seattle Children’s Still Missing the Mark on Diversity

by Edna Cortez


I love working at Seattle Children’s as a nurse. I have been at the hospital for over 30 years in various areas, and I love the mission and the patients and the families. 

But as a Filipina nurse who has been engaged at the hospital in issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Seattle Children’s is still missing the mark on many levels. 

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OPINION: A Threat or an Opportunity for Black Community?

by Dr. Ben Danielson


Timing is important. So it is significant that, on the precipice of Juneteenth, Seattle Children’s Hospital decided to close the Yesler location for the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic. This location, in the heart of Seattle’s Central District, had held on through years of gentrification as a Black community resource.

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OPINION: Odessa Brown and the Torch of Dignity

by Dr. Ben Danielson


Odessa Brown, the namesake of a pediatric clinic in Seattle, would have had her birthday on April 30. She was born in 1920 and died in 1969, too young by any measure. She had leukemia, and I think it’s fair to add that racism accelerated her passing. It is just as true today as it was in the 1960s: Black women and men are more likely to have more advanced cancers at diagnosis and are more likely to die from them than white Americans with similar cancers.

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Inside the New Othello Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic

by Sally James


On a recent tour of the new Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) in Othello, artist Ari Glass came to see his own colorful work inside.

Along with creating a multistory mural for the clinic, Glass is also a father whose 4-year-old son is a patient at the existing clinic on Yesler. The new site operated by Seattle Children’s will open gradually over several weeks, with the first patients arriving on March 7. 

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OPINION: Dear Seattle Children’s Hospital, Please Do Not Call Yourself a Leader in Equity

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.” 

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WA BLM Alliance Demands Seattle Children’s Release Covington Investigation Findings

by Jasmine M. Pulido


On the morning of Aug. 2, Washington Black Lives Matter Alliance (WA BLM Alliance) sent a letter to Susan Betcher, chair of the Board of Directors at Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH), demanding the immediate release of findings from Covington & Burling’s investigation of systemic racism within the hospital.

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Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic: A Glimpse Back May Offer a Path Forward

by Beverly Aarons


The World Health Organization (WHO) ranked the United States 37th in overall quality of healthcare, right behind Dominica, Denmark, and Chile, but way behind our northern neighbor Canada, which ranked 27th, and our European ally, France, which ranked number 1. More babies per capita die (5.9 per 1000 births) within days (or weeks) of being born in the United States than in Iceland, Finland, and Japan combined. In Seattle, there are persistent racial disparities in healthcare – 6.9 Black babies die per 1,000 births compared to 4.3 deaths per 1,000 white babies born, and gaining access to quality healthcare informed by facts, not racist controlling narratives, is almost impossible. In a recent survey of medical students, 50% believed that Blacks experienced less pain than whites because of biological differences.

Black physicians are less likely to hold these kinds of biases, but there are only 45,534 active physicians identified as Black in the United States compared to 516,304 white physicians, 157,025 Asian physicians, and 53,526 Hispanic physicians, so finding a Black physician or medical institution operating with an anti-racist lens might be impossible for most of the 46 million Blacks in America. This is why Dr. Ben Danielson’s resignation as the medical director of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic is so significant to Seattle’s Black community. 

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Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Version of Accountability Fails to Prioritize Healing of Odessa Brown Families

by Adana Protonentis and Jasmine M. Pulido


In the weeks since Dr. Ben Danielson’s resignation from the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) was made public, there has been an outpouring of shock, grief, anger, and loss from the community he served. Running consistently through these messages have been calls for accountability. But what does that mean?

“True accountability is not only apologizing, understanding the impact your actions have caused on yourself and others, making amends or reparations to the harmed parties; but most importantly, true accountability is changing your behavior so that the harm, violence, abuse does not happen again.” — Mia Mingus

In the United States, accountability is often transactional. Our criminal legal system is an example: Someone commits a criminalized act, they are assigned a punishment (jail or prison time, restitution, community service), they complete the punishment, and the case is closed. There are collateral consequences that continue to punish the “offender” for years afterward, and those who were harmed rarely find closure. The wound cannot heal. In this version of accountability, the community is not centered. There is a transaction between a system and an individual. The individual is punished, but no one is made whole.

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Seattle’s 39th Annual MLK Jr. March and Celebration

by Susan Fried


The Seattle Martin Luther King Jr. Day march and accompanying events, hosted by Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition (Seattle MLK), is one of the longest-running MLK Jr. Day celebrations in the country. This year, Seattle MLK adapted to the realities of COVID-19 and, instead of the usual job fair and rally held inside Garfield High School, the 39th-annual event was held entirely online and outside. In-person events on January 18 began in the parking lot in front of Garfield High with a rally that included a speech by Sean Goode, executive director of Choose 180 — an organization designed to help keep youth out of the criminal justice system — as well as performances by singers Sydney Coleman and Nyshae Griffin, and a presentation of a plaque honoring long-time Seattle MLK committee member, Tony Orange, given to his wife. Then, about a thousand people marched downtown to 4th Avenue and held another small rally. 

On their way downtown, the marchers stopped briefly at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic to show respect for Dr. Ben Danielson, the former senior medical director there, who recently resigned due to allegations of institutional racism at parent organization, Seattle Children’s Hospital. The marchers then continued down Yesler Way to 4th Ave. where another small rally was held, highlighting and critiquing the juvenile justice system, with speeches by civil rights attorney Sadé Smith and performances by D’Mario Carter and E-Rich.

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