Free health care clinic for islanders

Submitted by Joyce L. Sobel Family Resource Center.

A record 77 people received free care during the first mobile preventative care clinic coordinated by San Juan County’s new Latinx Healthcare Advisory Committee.

The clinic, hosted December 2 at the Mullis Community Center by the Joyce L. Sobel Family Resource Center (FRC), Sea Mar Community Health Center and PeaceHealth, was created in response to findings from the Committee’s recent health survey targeting islanders who may not have health insurance or may have difficulty visiting a healthcare provider for a variety of reasons.

Community health workers and clinical staff from Sea Mar provided health screening stations, COVID and influenza vaccinations and preventative health education on cancer screening and diabetes. Many families also brought children who received their first COVID vaccination. Sea Mar’s multilingual care team provided all the supplies and services at no cost to the community, including free rapid COVID tests for people to take home. The Town of Friday Harbor also contributed funds toward the clinic efforts.

The Latinx Healthcare Advisory Committee, comprised of local volunteer Latinx residents and facilitated by the FRC and PeaceHealth, was formed in 2020 to discuss ways to improve health and healthcare access for the Latinx community. The first goal was to conduct a health needs survey among 41 local Latinx community households in Spring 2021. Results showed the following:

Only 1 in 5 people had regular access to a doctor or healthcare provider on San Juan Island.

3 out of 4 surveyed stated they were NOT able to access regular medical screening or wellness exams.

50% of Latinx families said it was very challenging to make appointments, fill out forms and understand bills due to language and literacy barriers.

More events will be scheduled in the New Year. Financial support for the Committee and future mobile clinic activities will be provided by the PeaceHealth Community Benefit Fund, the Town of Friday Harbor and North Sound Accountable Community of Health. For more information, or if you’d like to contribute to future events, please reach out to Yubi Schollmeyer at the Joyce L. Sobel FRC or Beth Williams-Gieger at Peace Island Medical Center.