Colleen DAmico, clinical pharmacist at SIHB. (Photo courtesy of the SIHB)
When the pandemic was still in its early days, the Seattle Indian Health Board asked for PPE. Instead, they received boxes of body bags. The incident made national headlines.
The mistake stood out not just because PPE was in short supply and desperately needed. But the fact that an organization dedicated to serving the Urban Indian population was given supplies used to deal with dead bodies struck a chord that reflected hundreds of years of efforts to erase their community.
Despite the early setback, Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) has gone on to prove itself as a model for how to respond to a pandemic. How they did it was a combination of several things, but at its heart was a community-based approach.
Esther Lucero, the CEO of SIHB, explained that when it came to vaccine distribution, this meant prioritizing not just health care workers and elders, but those providing services that were essential to the community.
SIHB was able to execute this community-based approach thanks to the state’s tribes fighting for urban Indian health programs' inclusion in the state’s commitment to upholding tribal sovereignty, Lucero explained.
Read the full story on our website and register for our virtual event TOMORROW featuring Michelle Merriweather, President and CEO at Urban League, Michael Itti, Executive Director at CISC, and Abigail Echo-Hawk, MA, Executive Vice President at Seattle Indian Health Board and Director of Urban Indian Health Institute.
Sponsored by Civic Commons at The Seattle Foundation