With possible boost from the ‘Big Blue Wall,’ Country Doctor digs in on new Capitol Hill facility

The “Big Blue Wall” formed across the West Coast on Election Night should help Country Doctor build its new expanded home on 19th Ave E.

The nonprofit provider of low-income health care announced the start of construction this month on their new four-story building on the site of its 19th Ave E offices:

In November 2017, Country Doctor Community Health Centers (CDCHC) initiated construction on a new dental clinic at their site on 512 – 19th Ave E. CDCHC finalized plans to demolish its worn out administrative building and replace it with a new dental clinic, clearing the way for CDCHC’s long held dream of providing dental care for their patients. Accessing dental care for CDCHC’s clients is often difficult, even if they have Medicaid. The new facility will change thousands of lives by making dental services available on a sliding scale to people who currently have no access to dental care. The demand for affordable dental services is so great other Seattle health centers are forced to limit dental appointments, leaving CDCHC patients without any dental access.

The new $6.5 million facility is being funded by a capital campaign, grants, and a $1.2 million grant from the city to support the clinic’s new dental services. Gridlock in Olympia has been an issue. But Shelley Lawson, grants manager with Country Doctor Community Health Centers, tells CHS that Tuesday night’s strong showing by West Coast Democrats including Manka Dhingra in the “pivotal” 45th District State Senate race should help.

“Now that the WA legislature is controlled by Democrats (after last night’s elections),” Lawson writes, “we hope they will finally approve the capital budget which includes funding for the dental clinic.”

“In this political climate funding is fluid,” she said. “We have many community partners who are helping us overcome several obstacles to make this dental clinic a reality.”

The clinic also announced is has hired a new executive director. Raleigh Watts replaces Linda McVeigh who retired in September 2017 — “the first leadership change at the community based health center in 41 years.” Raleigh joins Country Doctor after most recently working as a public health management consultant with clients including UNICEF, WHO, the CDC, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

CDCHC said it expects the building to be ready and dental services to begin in early 2019.

What you should do about anti-choice abortion protesters bringing their campaign to Broadway

A counter message against anti-choice pickets in Seattle (Image: Brady Hall via Shout Your Abortion)

Anti-choice picketers weren’t very successful finding takers for their LGBTQ-mimicking rainbow-colored flyers on Broadway over the weekend. But their presence was disturbing enough.

“We’ve seen an uptick across the country since Trump’s election,” Michelle Farber, organizer and organizer for Seattle Clinic Defense tells CHS about the seemingly incongruous presence of anti-abortion protesters in the midst of Capitol Hill nightlife over the weekend. Continue reading

Ollie Quinn bringing Canadian eyewear fashion to the Pike/Pine ‘neighbourhood’

Coming soon: Ollie Quinn (Image: CHS)

Some 60,000 eyeballs — 30,000 attendees with approximately two eyeballs per person — will roll through E Pike for the 2017 Capitol Hill Block Party this July. There will be a bit of side-eye — and plenty of near and farsightedness.

Ollie Quinn, the Canadian-born provider of eyewear fashion, will join the increasingly crowded field of shops hoping to serve those many, many eyes with its new Capitol Hill boutique planned to open by the end of this month in a long-empty retail space with a clear view of the Block Party’s main stage at Pike and Broadway.

“We want it to be a space that people feel drawn to and are comfortable lingering in, which is why we have a community working space built within where community members can come to study, create or chat,” a company spokesperson tells CHS. Continue reading

Capitol Hill tattoo artist’s restorative work helps breast cancer survivors mark end to battle

IMG_1049For most of his 27-year career, Dark Age Tattoo artist Eric Eye has specialized in realistic portraiture and textural work.

“It’s something that’s come naturally to me,” Eye said about his focus.

About a year before Eye met his girlfriend, she had had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery in her battle with breast cancer. To get a well done restorative nipple tattoo, she had to travel to the east coast.

“Her story, it really kind of spoke to me. I understood it on a very personal level how much of a transformation it had made for her,” he told CHS.

Not safe for some people’s work warning: A couple nipples below.

Continue reading

‘Infancy’ — Officials still gathering data to determine where safe consumption sites can be located

An Insite "supervised injection site" in Vancouver, B.C. (Image: Seattle.gov)

An Insite “supervised injection site” in Vancouver, B.C. (Image: Seattle.gov)

At the end of January, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced they were moving forward with all of the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force recommendations to battle the heroin epidemic at a local level, including launching two safe consumption sites.

Officials are currently gathering data and information and meeting with communities to determine where the two sites, one slated for Seattle and one for greater King County, should be located.

Brad Finegood, assistant division director at King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division, told CHS the process is in its “infancy.”

“There are so many things to undertake in an effort like this where A) there’s none in the U.S. and B) there’s so many community groups to discuss it with,” Finegood said. Continue reading

After 71 years, Group Health marks Kaiser Permanente change at Capitol Hill campus

An experiment in health care born out of the labor and social movements of the pre-World War II Pacific Northwest transitioned to a larger, better-resourced future Monday morning at the site on Capitol Hill of its first hospital. Bathed in the blue light of thousands of LED lights, the new signs and a new system of health care were introduced this morning at the 15th Ave campus where Group Health first put the old St. Luke’s Hospital to use before creating its own Capitol Hill facility.

“We are honored to care for even more Washingtonians and their families,” Susan Mullaney, president of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington said. “Beginning today, Washingtonians can access Kaiser Permanente’s high-quality care and coverage across the state.” Continue reading

2016 Orlando nightclub attack, FDA rules spur ‘Bad Blood’ talk at Gay City

On June 12, 2016, a gunman attacked Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and wounding at least 53. The LGBTQ community rallied to donate blood to the survivors, but blood centers turned away gay and bisexual men because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans some of them from donating. The FDA first enacted a lifetime ban in 1985 to reduce the risk of HIV transmission. The restrictions were recently changed so that men who haven’t had sexual contact with another man in the past 12 months can donate blood.

The nightclub attack and FDA’s rules on blood donations are at the center of a public conversation at Capitol Hill’s Gay City on Thursday.

Bad Blood? A Conversation about the FDA Ban on Gay Blood

Dr. James P. AuBuchon, president and CEO of Bloodworks Northwest, will participate in a panel discussion about blood donation by gay and bisexual men called “Bad Blood? A Conversation about the FDA Ban on Gay Blood Donation.” Continue reading

Seattle, county move forward in fight against heroin deaths

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine are moving forward with all eight of the Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force’s recommendations to battle the region’s deadly epidemic.

“Opioid addiction is killing people in our community, sparing no age, race, sexual identity, income level or neighborhood,” Constantine said last week. “The experts we brought together have provided us with the battle plan we need to defeat this epidemic — a plan to save lives, to make it easier for people to get the help they need, to prevent the devastating harm that addiction causes. Unless we are willing to let this suffering continue, we have an obligation to turn their plan into action.”

The nearly 40 experts from public health, criminal justice, hospitals, schools and treatment providers and researchers convened in March 2016 and released a report and recommendations in September. Continue reading

County health officials sign off on safe consumption sites — now, where to put them?

A mock safe consumption site came to Cal Anderson in 2016 (Image: CHS)

A mock safe consumption site came to Cal Anderson in 2016 (Image: CHS)

The locations are far from final and another round of official approval lies ahead but the creation of a safe consumption site pilot in King County — possibly the first such program in the nation — moved ahead Thursday as the Board of Health unanimously approved recommendations from a task force assembled to stem the tide of opioid addiction and deaths.

Thursday’s 12-0 vote paves the way for the creation of two safe injection sites somewhere in King County. Officials are quick to add that no candidate sites have yet been made public. That important and crucial detail will fall to the executive branch in King County and Seattle as Dow Constantine and Mayor Ed Murray are now on the clock to present plans to make the sites reality. Continue reading

Why you might want to sign up for health care during Capitol Hill Art Walk

With Donald Trump and the Republicans calling for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, some might be wondering if the time is now to sign up for health insurance. The simple answer is, yes, sign up tonight, according to Tracy Anderson, of WithinReach, a nonprofit that works to connect people and families to services and organizations to help them be healthy. It’s probably not the first avenue you might think of for getting started but Thursday night’s Capitol Hill Art Walk can help.

“We can’t predict what’s going to happen,” Anderson said about potential changes, but those enrolled for 2017 will be on a contract with their insurance providers for the year. Continue reading