Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) is a Seattle Children’s community clinic with multiple locations including one recently opened in Rainier Valley (OBCC Othello). OBCC has a rich heritage of serving a diverse community with a team that reflects the communities served. Going beyond medical, dental and mental health care, OBCC provides coordinated, whole-person care that addresses root causes of illness — social, economic and environmental.
The newest clinic location (OBCC Othello), which opened March 2022 near the Othello Link light rail station, is closer to the 75% of families served by OBCC who have moved to South Seattle and south King County for more affordable housing. The clinic is located within Othello Square, an urban community concept on 3.2 acres that offers complementary services, partners and residences. These include an economic opportunity center, computer lab, charter school, early learning center and mixed-income housing. The opening was promoted through social media, advertising and direct mail to families in the Othello area to ensure families are aware their children can be seen in the new clinic.
OBCC has been creative in identifying opportunities to hire diverse staff, such as meeting community needs and providing flexibility through remote work and telehealth. Seattle Children’s is also working across the organization to ensure that members of the workforce reflect the diversity of the patients and families we serve.
Seattle Children’s is not immune to the labor shortage facing employers throughout the country, particularly in healthcare. It is worth celebrating, however, that over a 60-day period this quarter, OBCC hired 30 people. These new workforce members will provide clinical services (medical assistants, registered nurses, dental assistants, therapists), social work support, community care coordination and registration, and are moving the clinic toward meeting its newly established integrated healthcare delivery service model for patients and families.
There is more work to do and it is also important to appreciate the progress made in the journey toward sustainable, anti-racist change — progress like the significant shift the OBCC team has seen in team members who are most willing to recommend Seattle Children’s as a place to work. Between June 2021 and April 2022, workforce members willing to promote Seattle Children’s as a good place to work grew from 12% to 40%. The overall change in score went from -40 to +4 (from a possible range of -100 to +100).
Seattle Children’s commitment to support OBCC is essential to the community and to the clinic’s ability to provide equitable pediatric care. While there is still work to do to rebuild trust with the OBCC community, Seattle Children’s is committed to doing so.
Since opening Othello we have been able to serve more families, provide additional transportation options, and create innovative ways to meet the needs of patients. Our ability to provide care in one place is a new and unique way of delivering services without having to move patients from place to place. Having physical, occupational and speech therapy in one location is life-changing for some patients — I have seen kids go from being on long waiting lists to being seen within the next week.—Dr. Shaquita Bell, senior medical director, Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic
Below is an update on the progress made on the actions that Seattle Children’s committed to take in support of OBCC.
A critical quality measure, OBCC has seen the greatest improvement in reducing missed appointments for Black and African-American patients across Seattle Children’s. Surpassing the goal only halfway through the fiscal year, the approaches were directly informed by OBCC families, with the Center for Diversity and Health Equity hosting a community forum and community work group to gather feedback. The team is recruiting for a new care coordinator position that will help identify and address barriers that contribute to missed appointments.
Create a structure of transparency, accountability and autonomy that supports OBCC to lead its clinical care and operations. This structure should empower faculty and administrative leadership to grow, thrive and manage their unique service model. Seattle Children’s will also clarify roles and responsibilities and publish the OBCC leadership structure.
Evaluate and define OBCC operational budget independent of donor funding, with consideration for additional needed services (e.g., Sickle Cell Disease Clinic).
Create better connections with OBCC workforce to increase support, collaboration and restore trust with OBCC including rounding and connecting by senior leaders, staff and community Town Halls and forums.
Seattle Children’s committed to continuously seek ways to hear from the community. OBCC has built relationships with community organizations that facilitate conversations and partnerships to meet specific community needs. Working with community health boards brings the health board cultural expertise and the OBCC medical expertise together in ways that benefit diverse communities. OBCC continues to partner with community health boards like the Seattle Indian Board and the Somali Health Board to engage community, prioritize community needs and promote healthcare initiatives including COVID-19 testing and vaccines.