RN Anne Imbert shows the Avellino family a piece of equipment used to check the inner ear at the 8th Annual Seatlle Children's Hospital Health Fair in 2010. The idea for the upcoming health fair grew out of issues prioritized by The Next 50. Susan Fried photo
More than 30 health, human service and civic organizations from across the State of Washington are joining together to produce a giant free health clinic, Oct. 23 – 26, in Key Arena at Seattle Center.
In partnership with Remote Area Medical, organizers say the four-day, volunteer-driven clinic will offer a full range of free dental, vision and medical care to underserved and vulnerable populations in the region.
The inspiration for the Seattle/King County Clinic with RAM emerged from The Next 50, which recognized the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair. The six-month celebration addressed issues of importance to the region, including one month of events and activities focused on Global Health that prompted organizers to consider what could be done to support local healthcare needs.
“Despite implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there are still tens of thousands of people across Washington without access to healthcare services,” said Christine Lindquist M.P.H, Executive Director with the Washington Healthcare Access Alliance. “This four-day free clinic is an opportunity not only to address acute health problems, such as an infected tooth or the need for glasses, but to provide medical screenings and connect patients with local resources to help them stay healthy.”
Participating organization include: AARP; American Red Cross; Group Health; InDemand Interpreting; King County; King County Nurses Association; Medical Teams International; Optometric Physicians of Washington; Public Health – Seattle & King County; Seattle Cancer Care Alliance; Seattle-King County Dental Society; Swedish; UW School of Dentistry; Washington Association of Naturopathic Physicians; Washington State Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and many more.
With professional volunteers and language interpreters, organizers hope to deliver free services to as many as 1,000 patients per day. This will require broad participation from the health community across Washington. Over upcoming months, the Host Community will seek qualified volunteers and interpreters for the clinic.
“Organizing and implementing an event on this scale requires months of planning, hundreds of volunteers and dozens of actively engaged partners. It represents the serious dedication of a caring community to address healthcare issues at the local level, to make a difference for the most vulnerable among us. By meeting immediate healthcare needs and providing referrals for ongoing care, it is hoped that this event will positively impact the health of the region and raise awareness of the scale of those left out of the current healthcare system,” said Lindquist.
In addition to the clinic, a resource event called HealthFest will be held Oct. 25 – 26 in Seattle Center Armory. HealthFest will offer members of the public information and services to stay healthy including real solutions ranging from health insurance navigation and enrollment to demonstrations of nutritional and fitness ideas, screenings and educational discussions. The two-day event also provides an opportunity to connect with local health, human and social service providers.
More information on the Seattle/King County Clinic at KeyArena, as well as Health Fest in Seattle Center Armory, is available at www.seattlecenter.org or by calling 206 684-7200.