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Leaders and Innovators at the Adeline Garcia Community Service Awards

Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB), an Association member since 1970, has long been a leader in providing innovative healthcare. Since 1970, their clinics have offered accessible services operated by Native people, for Native people, rooted in Indigenous knowledge. SIHB honored its powerful history and commitment to ongoing innovation at the recent Adeline Garcia Community Service Awards. The Association appreciated the opportunity to attend the event, and we congratulate the 2023 Awardees and the Seattle Indian Health Board for their work supporting urban Native well-being.

“Our ancestors are here in this room… and they’re the fun ones!”

-Abigail Echo-Hawk (Pawnee, Executive Vice President and Director, Urban Indian Health Institute)

The 2023 Adeline Garcia Community Service Awards highlighted the work of Chairwoman Teri Gobin (Tulalip), Brad Finegood, MA, LMHC, and Rep. Chris Stearns (Navajo). Gorbin’s commitment to serving urban Native people is evident in her work to open the Quil Ceda Creek Counseling Company and plans to open two 16-bed treatment centers. Finegood was noted as a “true ally,” leading the way in ensuring that Native people are recognized in data collection and behavioral health service administration. Stearns has fought hard to advocate for Native people, Tribal issues, and equity issues that is evident in the number of bills he is sponsoring this session.

“This Health Board… is about helping [urban Native people] heal,”

-Esther Lucero (Diné), President and CEO, Seattle Indian Health Board)

The legacy of Adeline Garcia (Haida, Double Fin Killer Whale Clan) was brought to life through the stories of her family and friends. Staff at the Association were honored to be present through an awards ceremony which placed Ceremony in the forefront by sharing music and storytelling. Speakers all shared their experiences of resilience as they lifted the work that SIHB is doing. This innovation continues today as SIHB prepares to open Thunderbird Treatment Center, which will host 92 in-patient beds while integrating medical, dental, mental health, pharmacy and Traditional Indian Medicine services with specialized services for pregnant and parenting adults.

What We Learned at the Celebration

Four staff members from the Association attended the event: Jackie Madhava, Yasmine Cruz, Connor Wolfe, and Kittanya Azrael (Nisqually/Cherokee). They reflected during and after the event on the powerful legacy of Indigenous-centered community service efforts and Native-led healthcare present in the work of the awardees and SIHB.

It was both a joy and honor to attend The Adeline Garcia Community Service awards. The awards were a celebration and acknowledgement of the accomplishments of Seattle Indian Health Board and their allies in providing healthcare to all, and the impact it is having. As well, it was informative to be able to learn about the work that is still left to be done and what role I can take in helping SIHB to achieve their goals.

- Connor Wolfe, Student Support Coordinator, Washington Association for Community Health

A particularly illuminating aspect of the ceremony for me was the Native anthem and how the work of the awardees came full circle. Chairwoman Teri Gobin was a mentee of the late Adeline Garcia. She was inspired by the late Adeline Garcia’s work, receiving the award was a heartwarming moment and honored of the legacy of Adeline’s work. I also learned of the groundbreaking projects the Seattle Indian Health Board is involved with, such as the integration of Traditional Indian Medicine services. Traditional medicine is now for the first time a part of the billing codes. This preserves Native practices and encompasses healing practices based on the vast knowledge of Native people. I had a wonderful time at this event and would love to attend or volunteer next year.

-Jackie Madhava, Executive Leadership Team Assistant, Washington Association for Community Health

SIHB is one of three members of the Association focused on Native health – the other two are Lake Roosevelt Community Health Center and The NATIVE Project. The services and partnership we offer our members takes many different forms, including training and technical assistance, learning networks, policy and advocacy work, group purchasing, and workforce development programs. As we recognize the work of SIHB, we invite you to learn more about all our Community Health Center members, who are leaders and innovators in integrated care.

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