New health-care initiative puts focus on Tukwila: Video

Washington Global Health Alliance, Public Health - Seattle & King County, HealthPoint and Swedish on Oct. 11 announced a formal partnership aimed at disparities in local health-care. They're doing this through an initiative called Global to Local, a new approach in applying global solutions to local health-care challenges in under-served populations.

  • Monday, October 11, 2010 4:16pm
  • Life

Washington Global Health Alliance, Public Health – Seattle & King County, HealthPoint and Swedish on Oct. 11 announced a formal partnership aimed at disparities in local health-care. They’re doing this through an initiative called Global to Local, a new approach in applying global solutions to local health-care challenges in under-served populations.

As part of the initiative, Global to Local is collaborating with neighboring cities in Tukwila and SeaTac to provide holistic and community-driven solutions to providing health care and economic-development strategies in diverse, low-income populations.

“It is surprising to many that some of the greatest disparities between the wealthiest and poorest in our nation can be found in our own backyards,” said David Fleming, director and health officer, Public Health – Seattle & King County. “We selected this location as our pilot site because there are profound differences between the health of its residents in comparison to other communities in the region. Not only will Global to Local benefit these individual communities, it really has the potential to serve as a model in furthering community health.”

The collaboration and new initiative were announced in a joint press conference at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, Wash. during the Swedish 2010 Healthcare Symposium: Innovation in the Age of Reform, a summit featuring a diverse group of healthcare pioneers and leaders coming together to redesign the American healthcare system.

Organizations within the Washington Global Health Alliance are working to health-care access for millions worldwide. The new Global to Local initiative seeks to utilize expertise and experience from these organizations to uncover ways successful global health strategies can be applied on the local, state and national level.

South King County, in particular, has been selected as the pilot site because its health demographics mirror those in certain developing countries. There are many other communities in Washington and the U.S. that have similar health disparities. The initiative’s leaders hope to create a program that can be replicated throughout Washington and the U.S.

“Seattle and Washington State are considered the nexus of global health activity in the world, yet just a few miles from downtown, we have communities where our neighbors’ health challenges are comparable to communities in Africa where our members work,” said Lisa Cohen, executive director of the Washington Global Health Alliance, a non-profit organization working to enhance and expand Washington’s global health impact. “This program is truly an evolution — a holistic approach. We realized that the techniques used in developing countries can be successfully replicated right here in our backyard.”

Members of the Global to Local partnership are working together to develop what they say will be a new, community-based health-care program to better educate and inform residents in South King County. This includes, but is not limited to, training and developing community-health workers, partnering with cities to link health with economic development programming, mobilizing community-based organizations to make it easier for residents to select and choose healthier foods for their families, generating educational campaigns around priority health issues and using technologies and communications tools to transform practices.

“I see Global to Local as a collaboration amongst four organizations with the goal of helping the health of a community improve,” said Thomas Trompeter, chief executive officer at HealthPoint, a local nonprofit community health center providing a health care home services to more than 60,000 of King County residents. “By increasing our focus on health and wellness—including basic screenings and vaccines—we can decrease the need for acute care among those who lack access to the care that many of us take for granted.”

Swedish, the largest and most comprehensive non-profit medical provider in the Greater Seattle area, has committed $1 million in funding to the initiative.

“There is a universal need to re-define healthcare, and that includes improving healthcare models and delivery in our communities,” said Dr. Rod Hochman, chief executive officer of Swedish. “Community care has been a core component of our mission. As part of our 100th anniversary and our central mission to give back to the community, we decided this would be a great way to celebrate our centennial. We hope this program will ultimately serve as a model that can be applicable to a wide range of people throughout the country.”

“We’re at a point in healthcare now where the old model simply can no longer sustain itself,” said Dan Dixon, vice president of external affairs at Swedish. “This initiative is so exciting because not only does it combine the remarkable innovations we’ve taken to developing nations and applies them at home, but it also combines the experience, resources and community goodwill of the participating organizations in way that’s never been attempted before.”

Currently, the partnership is working in conjunction with area community colleges to develop curriculums in community care-giving in line with the principals of the initiative. Seattle’s Northwest Securities has committed to providing financial and economic development council for the initiative. Additionally, the partnership is working toward the development of a unique new community resource center combining health, social services and economic development programs.

In addition to Swedish’s institutional support, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies (LHHS) Subcommittee, included funding to boost the Global to Local Health Initiative ($400,000 for supplies and equipment) in the Fiscal Year 2011 LHHS Appropriations bill. Having passed the LHHS Subcommittee, the bill will now to go to the full Senate Appropriations Committee before going to the full Senate for consideration. Public Health – Seattle & King County has also contributed to the initiative by developing a program manager position to oversee the project. The program manager works out of HealthPoint’s SeaTac clinic.

Additional partners within the Tukwila and SeaTac communities are supporting Global to Local to learn and educate the partners about the needs and strengths of the community. These organizations include City Human Services Managers for SeaTac & Tukwila, Community Schools Collaboration, Highline Youth Clinic, Lutheran Community Services, Riverton Park United Methodist Church, New Futures, New Hope Health Clinic and Somali Health Care & Prevention.

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