Some of the professional and volunteer who participated in the program earlier. Photo by Auston James.
Runta News-Seattle, June 2018
Seattle/King County Clinic celebrates its fifth year in KeyArena at Seattle Center, Sept. 20 – 23. Organizers have ambitious goals of recruiting 1,000 volunteers per day to provide over $3.5 million in free dental, vision and medical services to people in need.
Seattle/King County Clinic is the largest event of its kind in the State of Washington. Produced in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, the City of Seattle, Philips Healthcare, Public Health – Seattle & King County and 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 vulnerable and underserved populations.
“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,” says 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 affect change.”
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 www.seattlecenter.org/volunteers
A volunteer and a patient talking about the process. Photo by Auston James.
Since the inception of Seattle/King County Clinic in 2014, more than 13,800 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. Seattle/King County Clinic includes over 100 dental operatories, 58 medical treatment rooms and 10 vision lanes. 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.
In its first four years, the Clinic provided $14 million in direct services to 16,300 patients who came from 262 unique zip codes and spoke 51 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. Or 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.’”
Producing 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 the most vulnerable among us, and to raise awareness about who is left out of the current healthcare system.