6 May 2024
Open Letter to DSHS

To whom it will concern,

We, local medical professionals from the Seattle area, are writing this open letter to demand the immediate support and rapid, effective disbursement of funds for asylum seekers currently displaced in Powell Barnett Park and other settlements in the city. Since the establishment of encampments due to the evictions and forced displacement of asylum seekers from Venezuela, the Congo, and Angola, local health professionals have stepped up to fill the gaps in services, referrals, case management, transport, and other areas of care that fall under the scope of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

Over the past several days, ad hoc groups of medical professionals have lent their skills, services, and professional network to get people the medical care that they need and are entitled to. Despite our best efforts, there are still people who need the wraparound care from DSHS.

Most of the residents of the Powell Barnett camp do not have access to public transport. This has left patients dependent on rides from strangers, which is a calculated risk that people are forced to take because of the failure of state services. This has led to fragmented care for pregnant patients and those with chronic conditions as they are forced to move around and seek care at whatever the closest location is. This also leads to duplicated medical care which puts an avoidable strain on our medical system.

Patients enrolled in Medicaid have better access to streamlined services, continuity of care, and all around better health access than those who are undocumented, uninsured, and dependent on charity care and volunteer services.

Lack of safe housing poses a multitude of health risks for patients of all ages and backgrounds. The affected communities have been clear in their demands for housing, work permits, education opportunities, and access to transport. Cycles of displacement to hotels and city parks is not an acceptable or sustainable solution for anyone. It exacerbates the challenges that the affected community is already facing.


Concerned Health Professionals from the Seattle Area

20 verified
  1. Madison Williamson, RN, Registered Nurse, In-Sight Collaborative, Bainbridge Island
  2. Cameron Hilburn, CNA, Certifed Nursing Assistant, Seattle Children’s Hopsital, Seattle
  3. Sarah Hemphill, MD MPH, Resident physician, Swedish First Hill, Seattle
  4. Bernie Creaven, RN, Seattle Roots Community Health, Seattle
  5. Sam Rennebohm, Clinical Psychologist, Swedish Family Medicine, Seattle
  6. Anne Mulligan, nurse, M, Poulsbo
  7. Leena Yin, MD, Resident physician, Swedish Cherry Hill, Seattle
  8. Jen Flament MD, Physician, Seattle
  9. Andrea Pilotta Gois, Resident Physician, Seattle
  10. Justin Ramos, Resident Physician, Seattle, WA
  11. Mary Puttmann-Kostecka, Family Medicine Physician, Seattle
  12. Katie Schmidt, MD MPH, Resident Physician, Swedish First Hill, Seattle
  13. Viola Medina, Family Nurse Practitioner, KIAC, Kingston
  14. Alexandra Zaballa, MD, Seattle
  15. Karishma Dara, MD, Physician, Seattle
  16. AL Ogawa, MD, Resident Physician, Swedish Cherry Hill/Seattle Roots, Seattle
  17. Tara Ahmadi, MD, MPH, Resident Physician, Swedish First Hill, Seattle
  18. Diana Sahagún Andrews, MD, Resident Physician, Seattle
  19. Danica Capili, RN, Seattle
  20. Maddy Kane, Family Medicine Resident Physician, Seattle
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