Category: CurrentNews

Open Enrollment for Health Insurance is Here and We Can Help

Woman signing up and joining the Affordable Care Act open enrollment before deadline.

The Marketplace Open Enrollment at HealthCare.gov runs from November 1, 2022 to January 15, 2023. Consumers who enroll by midnight on December 15 can get full year coverage that starts January 1.

Coverage is Affordable! This year, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, more people qualify for help purchasing quality health coverage. If you have looked for health coverage before, it is worth a second look:
• 4 out of 5 customers will be able to find a plan for $10/month or less after
subsidies.
• With the new law, millions of people will continue to qualify for tax credits that
lower their premiums.

Quality Plans! These are quality, comprehensive health plans that offer doctor visits, emergency care, behavioral health care, preventive care, hospital care, and prescription drugs.

Help is Available! Unity Care NW’s certified Insurance Navigators can help you for free. Call (360) 788-2669

Indoor Masking Still Required in Medical Facilities

With declining case rates and hospitalizations across the west, California, Oregon and Washington are moving together to update their masking guidance. As of March 12th, the west coast will be adopting new indoor mask policies. Masks will still be required in certain settings including health care, corrections facilities, and long-term care facilities. The Washington State Department of Health will be issuing new guidance for K-12 schools next week so schools can prepare to implement updated safety protocols. In addition, Unity Care NW is requiring anyone entering our facilities wear a level-3 or higher mask. This is in response to guidance from the CDC on the Omicron variant in order to protect our staff and patients.

 

 

Statement from Gov. Jay Inslee, Washington:
“We’ve continued to monitor data from our state Department of Health, and have determined we are able to adjust the timing of our statewide mask requirement. While this represents another step forward for Washingtonians, we must still be mindful that many within our communities remain vulnerable. Many businesses and families will continue choosing to wear masks, because we’ve learned how effective they are at keeping one another safe. As we transition to this next phase, we will continue to move forward together carefully and cautiously.”

UCNW Prescribes Empathy for Confronting the Crisis of Homelessness

A person holds the hand of someone in a hospital bed.

Son holding father’s hand at the hospital

Homelessness has been on the rise across the country since 2016[1]. In places like Whatcom County, the lack of available housing makes homelessness an even more prevalent and visible issue. Most Washingtonians can relate to the sense that housing opportunities are becoming further and further out of reach. The economics of post-pandemic life and the high cost of living in our region have deepened financial worries for everyone. As inflation and interest rate changes threaten to worsen the housing market and exacerbate challenges for small business owners, economic tensions lead to stress that can result in conflict. Negative interactions between housed and unhoused people are particularly discouraging for anyone hoping we can come together as a community to end homelessness.

Organizations that work to provide services to people experiencing homelessness have unique insight into this public health crisis. Unity Care NW (UCNW), a local non-profit community health center, provides comprehensive health care to people who may otherwise be unable to afford it. Their staff see firsthand, the negative health impacts of homelessness on their patients. Many have symptoms of trauma and are made sicker by their lack of access to basic hygiene facilities. With 15% of UCNW’s patients experiencing homelessness – compared to an average of 8% at other community health centers nationwide — UCNW resolved to demonstrate its conviction that everyone who can do something to combat homelessness must do something.

 

This launched a partnership for UCNW with PeaceHealth, Whatcom County, and Opportunity Council to better serve the health and hygiene needs of people experiencing homelessness in Whatcom County. The result of this collaboration, a new facility called The Way Station, will provide shower, laundry, and restroom facilities, as well as respite beds for people experiencing a medical event who have nowhere to recuperate. The Way Station will also connect clients to Unity Care NW’s mental health and substance use disorder treatment and Opportunity Council’s housing support services.

 

The facility will be housed in the County-owned building at 1500 N State Street. Renovations are scheduled to begin in early 2023, with hopes of opening in fall of 2023.

 

Empathy is the Answer

While researching successful hygiene center models, The Way Station partners visited Urban Rest Stop in Seattle. A common theme in conversations with experts on the issue of homelessness has been the power of dignity to restore hope and create pathways out of homelessness. “The Urban Rest Stop has allowed me to clean up in order to help me get employment,” one client said in a testimonial. “They have treated me fairly and with dignity. Without these services, it would have been infinitely more difficult to improve my situation.” The Way Station will model the empathetic, trauma-informed approach that Unity Care NW has been using to effectively engage with patients and neighbors including those experiencing homelessness.

 

UCNW recently brought Ryan Dowd, the Executive Director of the second largest homeless shelter in America, to train its staff in using empathy-driven approaches to compassionately and effectively de-escalate situations and manage conflict. UCNW also partnered with the City of Bellingham, Bellingham Public Library, and the Mount Baker Theatre to offer this same training to more than 800 staff from local businesses and nonprofits. Empathy doesn’t mean excusing and accepting all of a person’s negative behaviors, it just asks that we approach others with awareness that their unique experience and biology impact their way of moving through the world. This can make all the difference for a person on the journey out of homelessness.

 

A person doesn’t need to be specially trained to help in the fight against homelessness and an organization doesn’t have to be focused on social services to contribute to addressing the housing crisis. Everyone one can do something to move the needle on homelessness. Unity Care NW is excited to deepen its own commitment to disrupting the cycle of homelessness. Partnering on The Way Station, with a trauma-informed and empathetic approach, will work to remove barriers to basic health and hygiene needs and help more people get into permanent housing.

 

To find out more about The Way Station or to get involved, go to unitycarenw.org/health-and-hygiene

ABOUT UNITY CARE NW

 

The mission of Unity Care NW (UCNW) is to increase the years of healthy life in the people and communities we serve. UCNW is a federally-qualified health center with sites in Bellingham and Ferndale. Established in 1982, the non-profit organization provides medical, dental, behavioral health, and pharmacy services to over 22,000 Whatcom County residents who consider Unity Care NW their medical home. Services are available for all people regardless of their ability to pay.

 

[1] Source: The 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. January 2021. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The Way Station


New Facility Announced to Offer a Range of Services for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

 The Way Station: A resting point on the journey.

$4 million was allocated in the state’s capital budget for a new facility where individuals and families experiencing homelessness can find a range of services to assist their transition to sustainable housing and access to social and health services. Unity Care NW, Opportunity Council, PeaceHealth, and the Whatcom County Health Department, have partnered to repurpose Whatcom County’s 1500 N. State Street property as the location for a collaborative project called The Way Station.

The Way Station will serve homeless individuals in need of hygiene, medical and behavioral health services, and/or medical respite.  Medical respite is care for homeless persons who are too ill or frail to recover from a physical illness or injury on the streets but are not ill enough to be in a hospital. Patients experiencing homelessness who are discharged from the hospital but require space where they can recuperate and heal on a temporary basis can do so safely at The Way Station. They can also access wrap around services, including help into long-term housing.

Rep. Sharon Shewmake made the funding request for the collaboration. Of the Way Station, Rep. Shewmake said, “This project hits it all—housing, caring for community, saving money and helping to get people better and in housing.”

The work of health care providers is made more difficult by a lack of community hygiene facilities. Health care providers worry about the spread of disease resulting from inadequate sanitation. Simply providing access to shower and laundry facilities, greatly reduces the risk of infection to the individual and the larger community. The Way Station will make these essential hygiene services more widely available to homeless individuals.

Project Scope & Services:

  • Health care services provided by Unity Care (Medical, Behavioral Health services, & Substance Use Treatment) with expanded access to laboratory testing for illness, vaccine administration, and health monitoring.
  • Hygiene services: restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, and a hot room to treat belongings to prevent illness.
  • Medical respite care staffed 24-7 to provide a quiet environment for recovery from a medical event.
  • Case management services linking visitors and respite residents with social services and healthcare resources.
  • Connections to stable housing from Housing Case Managers from the Opportunity Council who will offer supportive pathways for patients to transition out of homelessness.

This unique collaboration involves many community partners who have been engaged since the start in researching models, touring facilities, and envisioning The Way Station. “We are thrilled our collaboration will be moving forward with this project, which has been a strategic priority for us for over 3 years,” said Chris Kobdish, Director of Planning & Development at Unity Care NW, “15% of our patients experience homelessness and The Way Station will make it possible to better serve them.”

The Whatcom County owned site provides adequate square footage to support the planned services and is close to transportation facilities and other social and health services including the Opportunity Council and Unity Care NW.

“The Way Station will provide a broad array of services – healthcare, hygiene, case management, and more – all at one location, significantly expanding our community’s ability to assist our homeless population,” said County Executive Satpal Sidhu. “Our partners have been instrumental in building momentum to get this project off the ground. I also greatly appreciate our legislators’ efforts in Olympia to secure state funding that, together with local resources, will help us address a gap in services for the unhoused.”

Permit applications have been submitted. The team is working with RMC Architects to finalize the facility’s design. As part of the permitting process, a Way Station Operations Plan was submitted to provide an overview of the facility’s policies, staff roles, guest agreement, emergency protocols.

To receive updates about The Way Station, email Marissa McGrath, Communications & Public Relations Associate at marissa.mcgrath@ucnw.org.

 

 

 

We extend our deepest appreciation for these partners and supporters of the Way Station

Organizations
Chuckanut Health Foundation
Community Health Plan of Washington
First Federal Community Foundation
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Jerry H. Walton Foundation
Molina Healthcare Of WA
Mount Baker Foundation
PeaceHealth
Puget Sound Energy Foundation
The Tax Payers of Washington State
Whatcom County

Individuals
Don and Karen and Berry
Steen Brochner-Nielsen
Brockmann Family in loving memory of Jason Brockmann
Tamera Devoss
Pamela Englett
Jason and Angela Gum
Shanon Hardie
Joanna Jamco
Will and Jodi Joyce
Jan Klineburger
Christina Kobdish
Tami J. Livingston
Jacqueline McCauley
Marissa McGrath
Mary and Buzz Ostlund
Tim R.
Rebecca Spithill  in Memory of Larry Thompson
The Stuit Family
Leslie Sweeney
Mistie and Michael Taylor
Tamara Tregoning and Caleb Sanders
Anonymous (4 donors)

 

COVID Vaccines for Children Under 5

The pandemic’s tide began to turn when vaccines rollouts began worldwide. With vaccine availability for children under age 5 rapidly approaching, Unity Care NW’s Associate Medical Director Kate Wojnicki at Unity Care NW sat down with WhatcomTalk to discuss how vaccines work, common misconceptions associated with the vaccine, and what parents can look forward to with vaccine approval for their youngest children.

 

Grandparents great their infant grandchild between a pain of glass. Text reads: "Why get vaccinated: Getting vaccinated helps keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe."

CEO Jodi Joyce on Needed Hygiene Services for Patients Experiencing Homelessness

A short haired woman with glasses smiles broadly in a professional headshot.

Jodi Joyce, CEO Unity Care NW

What if there was an apartment you really wanted but you didn’t have anywhere to take a shower or clean your clothes before you met the landlord to apply for it? Or, what if you didn’t have regular access to soap and water at all? This is the daily reality for too many unhoused people in our community, and Unity Care NW and its partners have a plan to change that.

Bellingham has become a community where fewer and fewer people can find a place to live, so it’s no surprise more people are finding themselves on the street/homeless/with no options. Homelessness is a Public Health Emergency in Whatcom County with consequences that affect the health of our entire community. Solutions seem impossible, but there is an abundance of both expertise and empathy locally to help individuals in need get healthy and into housing.

The recent Point in Time Census for Homeless Residents showed a modest improvement in our county after years of increasing rates of homelessness. The Way Station will harness this positive momentum and provide a place where people in Bellingham can take a shower, do their laundry, and go to the bathroom. It will also do so much more to help restore dignity and hope for people in need of permanent housing. As CEO of Unity Care NW, a non-profit health center that offers everyone in our community access to high-quality care, I am excited our team is partnering to bring together hygiene as well as medical and mental health services under one roof.

Every year, Unity Care NW serves more than 3,500 people experiencing homelessness. We see many illnesses that could have been avoided if our patients had access to soap and water and a place to rest when they are sick. We see people with injuries and wounds that they can’t keep clean and people recovering from a surgery with nowhere to recuperate safely.  And situations like this are frustrating because they feed into a cycle that keeps people homeless.

Before the pandemic, Unity Care NW began to collaborate with PeaceHealth, the Opportunity Council, and the Whatcom Health Department to address community needs. With these other experts on homelessness, we started to ask: What if we designed a place where laundry, shower, and bathroom facilities were available to the public? What if we connected those same people to medical and mental health care including drug use treatment when they needed it? And respite beds for people referred from the hospital who need a place to recover from an injury or illness? And what if we had staff on site to help people navigate the housing system and get them a permanent place to live?

And that is what we decided to do. With this coalition of health and social service organizations, we have designed a unique facility that brings together models that have been successful in other cities. Thanks to funding support, both private and governmental, we can remodel the Whatcom County-owned location at 1500 N State Street in Bellingham later this year. In order to make these services sustainable, we will need ongoing support and contributions from local individuals and organizations.

If we can come together to support this innovative solution to address the physical and mental health of those in need, The Way Station will help people experiencing homelessness maintain their dignity, improve their health, and get into housing. And these positive effects will ripple out to make a stronger community where everyone can thrive.

 

 

 

We extend our deepest appreciation to partners and supporters of the Way Station

Organizations
Chuckanut Health Foundation
Community Health Plan of Washington
First Federal Community Foundation
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Jerry H. Walton Foundation
Molina Healthcare Of WA
Mount Baker Foundation
PeaceHealth
Puget Sound Energy Foundation
The Tax Payers of Washington State
Whatcom County

Individuals
Don and Karen and Berry
Steen Brochner-Nielsen
Brockmann Family in loving memory of Jason Brockmann
Tamera Devoss
Pamela Englett
Jason and Angela Gum
Shanon Hardie
Joanna Jamco
Will and Jodi Joyce
Jan Klineburger
Christina Kobdish
Tami J. Livingston
Jacqueline McCauley
Marissa McGrath
Mary and Buzz Ostlund
Tim R.
Rebecca Spithill  in Memory of Larry Thompson
The Stuit Family
Leslie Sweeney
Mistie and Michael Taylor
Tamara Tregoning and Caleb Sanders
Anonymous (4 donors)

 

How Cavities Threatened a Patient’s Life-Saving Kidney Transplant

 

Click to Hear Garron’s Story

In the midst of an international pandemic, Unity Care NW was here when Garron needed us most.

I have had the honor of being the Dental Director for Unity Care NW for more than 20 years. The fact that dental health affects all health is often on my mind, and it’s why I appreciate the whole person care model that Unity Care NW provides.  Our team has helped thousands of Whatcom County friends and neighbors access dental care, and one story that will forever be in my heart is Garron’s journey to a life-saving procedure.

After spending 11 years on dialysis, Garron was finally eligible to get on the list for a kidney transplant. His excitement was dampened when he found out that to take the next steps, he needed to be in the best health possible – which meant no dental cavities. His Medicare plan helped cover costs of his kidney failure, but it didn’t cover dental care. Garron had multiple cavities, but he couldn’t afford to care for his teeth. Luckily, a friend suggested that he contact Unity Care NW. He connected with my team and worked out a treatment plan. His spirits were lifted when he found out that he could access our Sliding Fee Discount Program, making his care affordable.

Now, Garron is cavity free and has a new kidney. He shared with my team that he felt relieved and deeply thankful for Unity Care NW’s services made possible by generous donations.

Even during a pandemic, our team continues to make sure that Garron, and thousands of others, receive top-notch medical, dental, pharmacy, and behavioral health services . At Unity Care NW we know that health can’t wait and everyone deserves the opportunity to live their healthiest life. That’s why every donation made to Unity Care NW is so vital to ensuring that the amount of money a person has does not determine how healthy they get to be.

Carrie Shane, DDS
Dental Director
Unity Care NW

 

The Fascinating Global History of Vaccination

Before vaccination, there was inoculation, a process of producing immunity by introducing an infectious agent onto abraded skin or a mucus membrane. Inoculation was used for thousands of years across many cultures to prevent smallpox, a disfiguring and sometimes deadly disease.

 

Asia

Several accounts describe smallpox inoculation as practiced in China and India in the 1500s. It is difficult to pinpoint when the practice began, as some sources claim it dates back as early as 200 BCE.

17th century Chinese Emperor K’ang, survived a case of smallpox, and then wrote about inoculation in a letter to his descendants:

“…I had it used upon you, my sons and daughters, and you all passed through the smallpox in the happiest possible manner…. In the beginning, when I had it tested on one or two people, some old women taxed me with extravagance, and spoke very strongly against inoculation. The courage which I summoned up to insist on its practice has saved the lives and health of millions of men. This is an extremely important thing, of which I am very proud.”

The method used during K’ang’s time involved grinding up smallpox scabs and blowing the dust into a person’s nostril.

 

Africa & America

In 1721, a ship arrived in Boston from the West Indies with smallpox on board, and despite precautions, a full-blown epidemic started that infected roughly half of the town’s 11,000 residents. An African-born enslaved man named Onesimus, shared his experience with Cotton Mather, the town’s problematic leading minister and Onesimus’ legal owner. When Mather asked Onesimus if he’d ever had smallpox, he answered “yes and no,” explaining that he had been inoculated in his home country and was now immune to the disease, “people take juice of smallpox and cut the skin and put in a drop.”

Mather interviewed other African-born men and realized that those who had been inoculated were immune to the epidemic currently raging in Boston. Mather pursued a determined course of action, asking doctors to inoculate their patients and the town’s ministers to support the plan. Boston still suffered dreadfully, but thanks to information about a practice dating back untold generations, from people enslaved by white landowners, the terror linked to smallpox began to recede.

England

Stories of the success of inoculation in New England spread to England and in the 1790s physician Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids in his community generally didn’t become sick with smallpox. He guessed it was because they were often exposed to cowpox, a related disease in cattle that only caused mild illness in humans.

In May of 1796, Jenner inoculated an eight-year-old boy with matter from a cowpox sore on the hand of a milkmaid named Sarah Nelmes. The boy suffered a small rash and felt ill for several days but made a full recovery. In July, Jenner inoculated the boy again, this time with matter taken from a fresh human smallpox sore, to test his immunity. The boy remained healthy.

Jenner published a pamphlet which outlined his success in protecting 23 patients from smallpox infection with material from a cowpox pustule. In fact, the word “vaccine” was coined by Jenner; derived from Variolae vaccinae (Latin for ‘smallpox of the cow’). Even though Jenner used the scratching method to introduce infectious material to his patients, ‘vaccination’ was adopted later as the term for the practice of inoculation by injection with a needle that we use today.

 

Messenger RNA

Fast forwarding to 1960, messenger RNA (mRNA) was discovered as the cell’s means to encode information needed to fight infections. In late 1987, Robert Malone, a graduate student at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, mixed strands of mRNA with droplets of human fat. The human cells absorbed the mRNA and began producing proteins. Realizing that this discovery might have far-reaching potential in medicine, Malone thought it might be possible to “treat RNA as a drug”.

Since 2010, mRNA vaccines have been studied for influenza, Zika, rabies, and other diseases in animals and humans. Recent technological advancements improved mRNA vaccines’ stability and effectiveness enough for scientists and drug manufacturers to recommend their use for the first time outside of the research lab in the fight against COVID-19.

Currently vaccines for COVID-19, are the only approved mRNA vaccines. They use mRNA that directs cells to produce copies of a “spike protein” on the outside of the coronavirus. Once replicated, the immune system detects the spike protein and creates an immune response to prevent the disease. If the immunized person is exposed to COVID-19, they are less likely to become seriously ill or die from the disease. Researchers are studying how mRNA might be used to develop vaccines for additional infectious diseases and continue the life-saving legacy of vaccination.

 

Vaccines to Keep You and Your Community Safe this Winter

Aside from the COVID-19 vaccines now available through the miracle of modern science, there are two other vaccinations we can get to help keep ourselves and our community safe. Flu vaccines protect against the four influenza viruses that research indicates to be most common. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu shot every season with rare exception. A study just this year showed that among adults, flu shots were associated with a 26% lower risk of ICU admission and a 31% lower risk of death from flu compared with the unvaccinated.

Pneumococcal disease is another serious illness that is caused by bacteria called pneumococcus. In adults the disease can cause pneumonia, blood infections, meningitis, and is sometimes deadly. Pneumovax is a vaccine that protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. The CDC recommends annual vaccination for all adults 65 years or older and for adults 19 years or older who smoke or have an immunocompromising condition.

If everyone who has been vaccinated for COVID-19 received flu shots and Pneumovax this year as well, countless hospitalizations and deaths could be avoided. Making vaccination a regular part of your health care can prevent future pandemics and save lives.

 

Sources:

Volume 6 of Science and Civilisation in China by Joseph Needham

The Life and Death of Smallpox by Ian and Jenifer Glynn

“How an African slave helped Boston fight smallpox” from The Boston Globe:

Timeline of vaccination history https://www.historyofvaccines.org/timeline#EVT_59

https://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/

HIV Testing Awareness

There are more than 1 million people in the US with HIV but unfortunately, even now, many of them don’t know it. The only way to know if you’re HIV positive is to get tested. HIV testing and your options for preventing HIV as well as treating HIV are better than ever. Most tests can be performed with a finger prick, mouth swab or blood test and results can be processed in as fast as 20 minutes with confirmatory testing in a few days. You can work with your health care provider to find the right test for you.

I’m going to assume that, if you are sexually active, you’re aware that condoms are the simplest way to keep yourself safe from HIV infection. When used every time, condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV as well as other STI’s.  However, in terms of HIV infection, medical science has come a long way at providing further measures to help protect you.  Other options include Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), PEP (Post exposure Prophylaxis) or Treatment as Prevention (TAP).

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a pill to prevent HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV if taken consistently for people of all genders.  PrEP, “the other blue pill” comes in several forms and is a medication that can help protect you- Talk to your medical provider today to find out which one could be right for you!

PEP Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) means taking medication after potentially being exposed to HIV, to prevent getting it. PEP is for emergency situations and must be started within 72 hours after possible exposure to HIV. If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV, talk to your health care provider or emergency room provider ASAP.

HIV Treatment as Prevention, also often referred to as Undetectable = Untransmittable, is the concept that if someone living with HIV has an undetectable virus level in their blood, they cannot pass along the virus. If you or your partner(s) are living with HIV, encourage them to get and keep an undetectable viral load by getting and staying in care. Being undetectable is the best thing for their overall health, and it means there is no risk of transmitting HIV to you through sex. Being undetectable, does not, prevent other sexually transmitted infections or diseases, so make sure you and your partner(s) are staying up to date on their STI testing.

Do you know your HIV status? Have up-front conversations about the importance of knowing your status so you can make the best decision to keep you and your partner healthy.

  1. Get tested regularly! The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested, so make testing a part of your regular health care routine. Knowing your status empowers you to make the best decisions for your health.
  2. Yes, everyone aged 13-64 should get tested at least once. Some groups at ongoing risk for getting HIV should be tested more often; at least once per year.
  3. Communication is important, so be open and honest. Talk to your partner and your primary care provider about getting tested and figure out which prevention options are best for you.

Visit www.cdc.gov/doingit to find a testing location near you. You can also buy an at-home testing kit online or at most pharmacies.

Need Affordable Health Coverage?

Is lack of insurance keeping you from getting tested? If you need or have lost health care coverage or had a qualifying life like losing your job or getting divorced, you can call our office and speak to one of our health insurance navigators who can help you find a plan that works for you. President Biden recently opened a special enrollment period to help anyone who has lost or needs health benefits to be able to apply for insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Call (360) 788-2669 or go online at bit.ly/3bBx8qs to sign up for health insurance.

For more health information follow @UnityCareNW on Instagram and Facebook.

Content source: Mental Health America, mhanational.org

Kate Wojnicki, ARNP, Unity Care NW
I’m a Family Nurse Practitioner and HIV Specialist at Unity Care NW.  I hold a Bachelor of Science from the University of Washington and a Master of Science in Nursing/ Nurse Practitioner degree from Seattle Pacific University.  After spending 6 years in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at UW and volunteering in Uganda, I completed a Community Health Residency in Tacoma with a focus on caring for persons living with HIV. I joined Unity Care NW in 2014 as an opportunity to serve the community where I spent much of my childhood.  I earned my HIV credential through the American Academy of HIV Medicine in 2016.