Dr. Allen Muramoto, a key figure in the founding of International Community Health Services (ICHS), will be honored along with Country Doctor Community Health Centers, a longtime collaborator and supporter of ICHS, at the annual Bloom Gala on Saturday, May 6 at the downtown Sheraton Seattle Hotel.
Each year, ICHS honors one individual and one organization whose service has improved the lives of ICHS target populations of disadvantaged and underserved residents at the Bloom Gala. The event brings together approximately 450 of the agency’s closest supporters to raise money to cover the costs of uncompensated care. Last year, ICHS provided $1.3 million in charity care to low-income patients who could not afford to pay for services.
“We take special pride in presenting the Bamboo Award for Health to Dr. Muramoto and Country Doctor this year,” ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola said. “Health care reform faces a huge turmoil. It is crucial that we continue to remember our driving mission to care for those who most need care. Allen Muramoto and Country Doc embody that driving mission. We honor them to ensure that we never forget who we serve.”
As a student at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Dr. Muramoto joined with other student activists in the spring of 1971 to form “Young Asians for Action” to provide free health services for Asian elderly who lacked access to affordable care. As a result of these efforts, ICHS opened its first clinic in 1973. In his retirement, Muramoto has returned to volunteer monthly at the ICHS International District clinic, providing pulmonary disease care to patients.
Country Doctor has been a close collaborator and avid supporter of ICHS for many years, providing vital clinical and administrative consultation, especially during ICHS’s formative years. Both agencies were part of a consortium of community clinics that sprang up in the early 1970s, founded on a shared vision of affordable health care as a basic human right. That vision led to the formation of the Community Health Plan of Washington in 1992, the first non-profit managed care plan in the state. “Country Doc took the lead in arranging for specialty and hospital care access for both our clients,” former ICHS Executive Director Dorothy Wong recalled. “They are an unsung hero in the history of ICHS.”
The Bloom Gala will take place on May 6 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and the program starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the 2017 Bloom Gala are available at www.ichs.com/bloom. For more information contact [email protected] or call (206) 788-3672.
For more information about ICHS, please visit: www.ichs.com.