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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 6, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 36
Seattle/King County Clinic to return for sixth year
Section One
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Seattle/King County Clinic to return for sixth year

Volunteers sought as 4-day free health clinic finds temporary home during Seattle Center Arena construction

As Seattle/King County Clinic prepares to open its doors for a sixth year at Seattle Center, Feb. 13-16, 2020, organizers have an ambitious goal of recruiting 1,000 volunteers for each of the four days of this immense undertaking. Their hope is to provide over $2.5 million in dental, vision and medical services free of charge to people in need. KeyArena was home to the Clinic in its first five years of operation. Although construction at the Arena put the fate of the Clinic in doubt, the community rallied to make it happen.

'When the new Arena at Seattle Center was announced, people were elated. That was immediately followed by calls asking what that meant for the Clinic and pleas to keep it going,' said Seattle/King County Clinic Director Julia Colson. 'Finding a temporary home for something of this scale and complexity is challenging. We explored numerous options and were about to give up when we discovered one week of potential availability in five Seattle Center facilities. By a stroke of luck, all of the healthcare equipment was also available. So, thanks to the tenacity, flexibility and efforts of many, we are holding a sixth Clinic.'

Still, Colson is tempering her excitement as she considers new challenges ahead. She said, 'Volunteer and patient recruitment is paramount given the different time of year and temporary location. We can't assume people are aware the Clinic is still operating. Plus, the number of volunteers we have will determine how many patients we can serve. We have to get the word out!'

The Clinic needs healthcare professionals and general support volunteers to fill a broad range of functions and shifts. It also seeks volunteers for the days before and after the four-day event to help with preparation and wrap-up. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. Individuals may register at seattlecenter.org/volunteers.

Seattle/King County Clinic is the largest event of its kind in the state of Washington. Produced in partnership with more than 100 healthcare organizations, civic agencies, nonprofits and private businesses, the Clinic brings together thousands of volunteers and the organizing and event expertise of Seattle Center to address acute health issues among people who routinely face barriers getting the care they need.

Since the Clinic's inception in 2014, more than 17,900 volunteers have participated. Clinic outcomes speak to the accomplishments of this immense effort in responding to a profound need in our community for accessible and affordable healthcare. Patients can receive a variety of services ranging from dental fillings and extractions, eye examinations, physicals, behavioral healthcare and social work to prescription eyeglasses, immunizations, laboratory tests, mammograms, ultrasounds and x-rays.

'At a time when so many in our region struggle to meet basic needs, Seattle/King County Clinic is a beacon of caring and generosity,' said Christine Lindquist, Executive Director of Washington Healthcare Access Alliance. 'Seattle/King County Clinic provides immediate dental, vision and medical care and connects patients to resources beyond the clinic walls. It also demonstrates the good we can accomplish when we work together as diverse partners to serve others and effect change.'

In its first five years, the Clinic provided $17 million in direct services to 20,000 patients who came from over 260 unique zip codes and spoke more than 50 primary languages. Clinic patients are parents, children, elders, veterans, immigrants, refugees, people living homeless and, in large part, wage-earners who struggle with the high cost of living.

As one volunteer described, 'I was truly surprised to see that people seeking services were just like me, my family, my co-workers and neighbors. That was the biggest realization for me; folks who desperately need these services aren't 'them,' they're 'us.'

The commitment to produce an event of this magnitude represents the serious dedication of a caring community to address healthcare issues at the local level, to make a difference for those who struggle to access and afford care, and to raise awareness about who is left out of the current healthcare system.

Find out more about Seattle/King County Clinic by visiting seattlecenter.org/skcclinic or by calling 206-684-7200.

ABOUT CLINIC PARTNERS

These are just some of the organizations that collaborate to produce Seattle/King County Clinic and contribute needed resources and expertise:

141 Eyewear, America's Dentists Care Foundation, Arcora Foundation, Auston James Photography, The Ballmer Group, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Burkhart Dental Supply, City of Seattle, Cornish College of the Arts, Crane Fund for Widows and Children, DCG ONE, Delta Dental of WA, Essilor Vision Foundation, Group Health Foundation, HealthPoint, Hepatitis Education Project, HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response, Jorgenson-Peninsula Optical Supply, Kaiser Permanente, King County Metro, King County Nurses Association, Laney Dental, Mary Mahoney Professional Nurses Organization, Medical Teams International, Mediterranean Inn, Microsoft, Mid-Gulf Instruments, Moccasin Lake Foundation, Opticians Association of WA, Optometric Physicians of WA, Pacific Office Automation, Patterson Dental, Philips Healthcare, Physical Therapy Association of WA, Project Access Northwest, Public Health - Seattle & King County, Seattle Animal Shelter, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle Center, Seattle Center Foundation, Seattle Fire Department, Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle Information Technology, Seattle Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs, Seattle Opera, Seattle Police Department, Shofu Dental Corporation, Space Needle, SPARK, Spectra, Swedish, UW Medicine, UW School of Dentistry, UW School of Public Health, Virginia Mason, VOSH Northwest, WA Academy of Eye Physicians & Surgeons, WA Academy of General Dentistry, WA Dental Hygienists' Association, WA Healthcare Access Alliance, WA State Chiropractic Association, WA State Dental Association, WA State Department of Health, WA State Nurses Association, WA State Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Zeiss.

Courtesy of Seattle Center and Seattle/King County Clinic

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