For well over 30 years, the International Community Health Services (ICHS) – popularly known as “ID clinic” – helped patients with little proficiency in English get medical care that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. And for over 30 years, it had continued to grow thanks to the compassion of many medical professionals, interpreters, and supporters.

On Saturday May 15, ICHS once again gave thanks to its supporters for their continuing support at its annual gala – titled “Bloom” this year. Although the gala proceeded in a pleasant atmosphere among many generous donors and affluent supporters, Teresita Batayola, CEO of ICHS, reminded everyone it is a continued struggle for ICHS’ culturally sensitive services.

For well over 30 years, the International Community Health Services (ICHS) – popularly known as “ID clinic” – helped patients with little proficiency in English get medical care that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. And for over 30 years, it had continued to grow thanks to the compassion of many medical professionals, interpreters, and supporters.

On Saturday May 15, ICHS once again gave thanks to its supporters for their continuing support at its annual gala – titled “Bloom” this year. Although the gala proceeded in a pleasant atmosphere among many generous donors and affluent supporters, Teresita Batayola, CEO of ICHS, reminded everyone it is a continued struggle for ICHS’ culturally sensitive services.

The operation of ICHS is largely dependent on state and federal grants. According to their 2009 fiscal report, only roughly 6% of their revenue came from contributions, private grants, and in-kind donations. Amidst all the spending cuts, ICHS had lost over one million in revenue. On that note, Batayola thanked its employees and volunteers for their dedication especially through the furlough days and layoffs.

   

After the message from the community health care leader’s CEO, the event presented the 2010 recipients of the inaugural ICHS Bamboo Award for Health. The award was established by the Boards of ICHS and ICHS Foundation to recognize individuals and agencies whose achievement has resulted in advancement of healthcare for the local API communities. The first recipient introduced was the Healthy Washington Coalition, a grassroots organization with visible results of their efforts to lobby for those who are uninsured and underinsured. Bob Santos, “Uncle Bob”, was recognized for his achievements with the same award. Santos had long been a community activist, known for his works in preservation of Chinatown/International District as early as the 1970’s. He still frequents the ID clinic that he helped established and contributes to many of its fundraising efforts.

   

The festivities included the Seattle Chinese Community Girls Drill Team, several rounds of silent auction and a live auction, performance by jazz pianist Tony Mamon, “Uncle Bob Dance” fundraiser, and the famous break dancing group Massive Monkees.

ICHS continues to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate support for the ethnic communities, serving over 17,000 patients each year. Of the 17,000 patients, 97% belong to communities of color, 79% prefer to speak languages other than English, and 73% have low-income. ICHS provides over $1.5 million of charity care each year, which is becoming more difficult through the harsh economy and budget cuts. ICHS and its supporters are well-deserving of their thanks from the communities of Chinatown/International District.

   

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