David Escame relocated with his family from Texas to Washington last year to take on the role of Amerigroup Washington Director of Marketing. Escame is a very proud Filipino American with strong Seattle roots. He is half Filipino and half Mexican. The International Examiner spoke with Escame about reestablishing a connection with the community.
International Examiner: Please describe your role working with Seattle’s diverse Asian Pacific Islander (API) community?
David Escame: With Medicaid expansion in full swing, my team has been working toward educating the API community on the eligibility requirements and benefits of Medicaid, relaying information that is both culturally and linguistically relevant. Amerigroup Washington employees are active in the state engaging both in educational and philanthropic endeavors, and fully committed to creating healthy happy communities.
IE: It’s quite a move to be coming back to the Northwest from Texas. Is there a distinct approach to your work in the communities here in Seattle specifically?
Escame: Washington and Texas are very unique, as both regions are made up of diverse multi-generational families. In Seattle, the API community makes up a huge fabric of the community at large. There are families that have been here for decades who are now prominent politicians, business owners, educators and philanthropists, just to name a few. The community relations field, independent of the geographic location, has one primary goal: to be able to relate to the population in which you serve. It is essential to be interactive in the local community and listen to members and their families, so that you may serve each to the best of your ability.
IE: The Amerigroup offices keep you close to the International District on a daily basis. What have you learned about the neighborhood since moving back to Seattle?
Escame: I spent a lot of time in the International District growing up. Our family would go to King Café (now the location of Wing Luke Museum) for dim sum every other weekend—a tradition my siblings and I have passed on to our children. I remember taking my Lolo and Lola to Tai Tung for birthday dinners, and buying rice candy at Uwaijamaya. Although it seems like so many neighborhoods in Seattle have changed, the International District has kept its soul. Change is inevitable, but the character and history of the International District live on.
IE: You are an avid outdoorsman. How have you and your family adapted to the move from Texas?
Escame:I love to be outdoors, and there is no better place than the Northwest for enjoying outdoor activities. My wife often describes the mountains, water, and natural beauty we’re surrounded by as truly epic. We have been island hopping to Kingston, Whidbey, and Vashon, playing soccer, spending a lot of time on the beach, and running through woods at Lincoln Park. We plan on heading up to the mountains very soon—and this spring, I hope to blow the dust of the ol’ bicycle.
IE: Is there anything else you’d like to let our readers know?
Escame: My family has roots here. My mom attended West Seattle High School and my dad attended Garfield. My parents will read this feature and I want them both to know that they are a huge reason we came back. We wanted our children to know their grandparents and I’m blessed to have such amazing parents. Pio and Aurora Escame, you are amazing and I love you!
Go RB Vikings! Go Sounders! Go Hawks!
Editor’s note (2/10/2014 at 9:28 a.m.): An edit was made to include all of Escame’s heritage.