Unprecedented Collaboration Focuses on Utilizing Global Strategies to Improve Community Health Among Underserved Populations in South King County, Wash.
Washington Global Health Alliance, Public Health - Seattle & King County, HealthPoint and Swedish Partner on "Pilot" Project with Potential to Serve as National Community Health Model
Swedish Pledges $1 Million in Financial Support to Project
SEATTLE, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Washington Global Health Alliance, Public Health - Seattle & King County, HealthPoint and Swedish today announced a formal partnership and commitment to work together to address disparities in local healthcare through a groundbreaking initiative: Global to Local, a new approach in applying global solutions to local healthcare challenges in underserved populations.
As part of the initiative, Global to Local is collaborating with neighboring cities in Tukwila, Wash. and SeaTac, Wash. (located just south of downtown Seattle, Wash.), to provide innovative, holistic and community-driven solutions to providing healthcare 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.
Numerous organizations within the Washington Global Health Alliance are working to improve lives 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 in our county, state and country.
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 our state and country that have similar health disparities. The initiative's leaders hope to create a program that can be replicated throughout our state and across the country.
"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 a new community-based healthcare 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. Senator 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.
About Washington Global Health Alliance
The Washington Global Health Alliance exists to engage in and advocate for Washington State as a center for global health innovation. WGHA facilitates collaboration to create activities and partnerships that wouldn't otherwise exist by seeking creative public-private partnership opportunities and promoting global health understanding through outreach and awareness. Executive members include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, GAPPS, an initiative of Seattle Children's, Infectious Disease Research Institute, Institute for Systems Biology, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, PATH, Public Health, Seattle-King County, Seattle BioMed, Washington State University and the University of Washington. We also have many sponsoring and supporting members working to improve lives worldwide.
About Public Health - Seattle & King County
Public Health - Seattle & King County works to protect and improve the health and well-being of all people in King County. As one of the largest metropolitan health departments in the United States, Public Health serves 1.9 million residents of King County in a diverse and dynamic environment, where over 50 languages are spoken and 30 million people visit every year. Addressing the leading health challenges of the 21st century, Public Health is working to reduce chronic diseases, like heart disease, diabetes and cancer by creating healthy environments for communities and making the healthy choice the easy choice for individuals. Public Health also works to make sure that all people who live in King County have the opportunity to live long, healthy lives, regardless of where they live or the color of their skin.
HealthPoint, a Community Health Center with 40 years of experience serving those in need in King County, has 12 clinics that deliver comprehensive medical and dental care to over 62,000 patients annually. HealthPoint's work addresses health disparities and inequitable access amongst low-income, uninsured, minority, immigrant, refugee and homeless families and individuals in suburban King County, primarily South King County.
Established in 1910, Swedish has grown over the last 100 years to become the largest, most comprehensive non-profit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of three hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard – a freestanding emergency department and ambulatory care center in Issaquah, Swedish Visiting Nurse Services, and the Swedish Physician Division – a network of more than 40 primary-care and specialty clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area. In fall 2009, Swedish broke ground on a new medical office building and hospital in the Issaquah Highlands, as well as an emergency department and medical office building in Ballard. More recently, Swedish announced plans to open freestanding emergency department and ambulatory care center facilities in Mill Creek and Redmond. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatric specialties, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org and www.swedish100.org.
SOURCE Global to Local