Enhancing Community Collaboration & Coalition

Access to quality care

As of April 2016, Washington State’s population increased by 1.73% over the past year totaling the state population to 7,170,351 with King County at 2,117,125 [1]. Population forecasts estimate Washington State’s total population to reach 7,299,857 by 2017 and surpass the 8 million landmark by 2025[2]. As the county that houses the largest percentage of the state’s population, King County’s population is estimated to total 2,127,580 by 2017 and over 2.3 million by 2025 [3]. Structural and social determinants of health inequities such as race, income, or housing largely influence intermediary determinants such as access to healthy food or overall living conditions. These contributory factors heavily impact health equity across all populations, putting individuals in disadvantaged populations at risk for incurring negative health outcomes[4].

Access to preventative services plays a large role in preventing or prolonging illness as well as improving overall quality of life. But structural barriers such as lack of access to health insurance may make receiving preventative care difficult for up to 18% of Washingtonians and 15% of King County’s uninsured residents [5]. On a mission to service thousands of King County and Seattle residents facing barriers to basic health care services, the Seattle/King County Clinic (SKCC) was launched with the vision of increasing access and quality of care for at risk communities via delivery of comprehensive care through a diverse core of providers.


For the third consecutive year, the SKCC consolidated health care organizations, volunteers, civic agencies, and countless others to provide free preventative medical, visionary, and dental services in KeyArena at Seattle Center to underserved and vulnerable individuals in the Seattle area. Over the course of four days—with aid from the King County and Seattle MRC Unit, Public Health Reserve Corps—almost 4,000 individual volunteers, numerous comfort dogs, and over 115 organizations worked thousands of hours to help increase access to care for a racially diverse and economically disadvantaged patient population in the Seattle and King County area [6].

It was a joy and privilege to participate, I plan to return next year and to bring other dental professionals along!

—Linda S., Volunteer

Above is John's experience during his visit to the 2016 SKCC.

Since the first Clinic in 2014 the SKCC has seen an increase in both volunteers and patients. Between October 2014 and 2016 there was an increase of at least 40 partnered organizations, $1.5 million in services provided, 2,447 individual volunteers, and 1,092 individuals serviced. Using the 2015-2016 NACCHO Challenge Award, the MRC unit aided the SKCC to service a total of 4,492 patients from varying backgrounds, identities, zip codes, spoken languages, health, housing, employment, and military statuses. During the 48 hours of clinical services provided over four days: 1,371 patients received vision care estimated at $642,000, 2,485 sought an estimate $2.06 million in dental services, and 2,830 received $1.24 million in preventative medical care, including distribution of shoes to all patients as part of a campaign for better foot care.

I cannot express my gratitude over the experience, it was the most logical health oriented event of my adult life.

—Cassidy K., Patient

Additional services included: social workers that helped 473 individuals connect with the follow-up care they needed, Health Insurance Navigators that assisted 400 individuals with health insurance related issues and registering for reduced public transportation fare, as well as The Seattle Stand Down and Compass Housing Alliance that helped 40 veterans and 65 individuals and families find housing assistance. A  total of 3,947 individual volunteers—262 of which were MRC volunteers that contributed more than 7,000 hours of service—across 50 professions and volunteer classifications provided up to 56 thousand hours of service and anywhere between 1.6 to 3 million in donated time. In 2016, a previous patient from the 2015 SKCC event even came back as a volunteer. Within the year of seeking aid in SKCC he was able to get a job. He expressed how he wanted to come back to the place that had given him help when he needed it.


Although the MRC unit acted as an auxiliary support system, the SKCC used the Challenge Award to service a record number of patients and provide additional resources with the potential to have positive long term effects. Participating through the SKCC the Public Health Reserve Corps was able to reach their goal of enhancing their community collaboration and coalition through increased diversity and access to care. Through the annual SKCC, the MRC unit was able to activate their Health and Medical area command and utilize their medical professionals as incident commanders. With increasing need and popularity the SKCC is already preparing for their next clinic for October 26-29, 2017.

Author: Mahlet Moges, NACCHO MRC Intern

                [1] United States Census Bureau. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016." 2017. <http://bit.ly/2hGmt3H>.

[2] State of Washington. State of Washington Forecast of the State Population: November 2016 Forecast. Forecast and Resaerch Division. Olympia, 2017. <http://bit.ly/2sshICP>.

[3] —. Washington State County Population Projections for Growth Management by Age and Sex: 2000-2025. Olympia, 2002. <http://bit.ly/2rvD8Kn>.

[4] Fouad, Mona N., et al. "Advancing the Science of Health Disparities Through Research on the Social Determinants of Health." American Journal of Prevenative Medicine 52.1S1 (2017): S1-S4. <http://bit.ly/2rhbotY>.

[5] Seattle and King County Public Health. "King County City Health Profile Seattle." 2016. <http://bit.ly/2tlYv28>.

[6] Seattle Center Foundation. "2016 Final Report." Seattle/King County Clinic, 2016. <http://bit.ly/2jaZEsn>.

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