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Gallery of Health Heroes

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Amber Jokinen

Amber Jokinen

Health Hero

Amber Jokinen
Amber Jokinen

Health Hero

Amber works as a peer counselor at CHI Franciscan WIC. She has been a peer for 5 years and is committed to supporting moms. She is also a photographer and gives photo shoots for families at the clinic.

Ana Lopez

Ana Lopez

Health Hero

Ana Lopez
Ana Lopez

Health Hero

In her spare time, Ana Lopez has knit and crocheted hundreds of baby hats and jackets for the babies of moms cared for by Community Health Care’s Maternity Services -- for no reason but the kindness of her heart.

Andie Gernon

Andie Gernon

Health Hero

Andie Gernon
Andie Gernon

Health Hero

Andie Gernon has lived and worked in and for Lakewood since moving there when her husband was stationed at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis.

An integral part of the committee that worked to incorporate the City of Lakewood, she has been laughingly referred to as “The Mother of Lakewood,” a title she bears with good humor. She has spent countless hours over the years volunteering at local schools, tutoring children in reading as well as serving as a basketball coach. She was the first female chair of the Lakewood Community Council and participates in many community coalitions and boards to support health care, education and community building. Andie served on the St. Francis Cabrini Parish Council, the Bellarmine Prep Board of Directors, and co-founded Communities in Schools.

Experience on boards and community building has led Andie to fund development. She helped to raise funds for Bellarmine Prep, YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, and has co-chaired The Development and Advisory Council of Community Health Care since 2003, raising funds to renovate three major health centers.

Arivva

Arivva

Health Hero

Arivva
Arivva

Health Hero

Arivva provides visual arts programs and high school youth and post-secondary career training for local workers in a demographic where people are not likely to pursue educational opportunities beyond high school. Arivva offers career training only for occupations that have strong demand in the local market and that allow workers to achieve financial self-sufficiency through a living wage upon entry and a clear pathway for advancement.

Audria Cordova-Kennedy

Audria Cordova-Kennedy

Health Hero

Audria Cordova-Kennedy
Audria Cordova-Kennedy

Health Hero

No one does more than Audria to serve Community Health Care patients and employees. Audria embodies the mission of Community Health Care and expands on it every day. She is always working hard to meet the needs of our community and gets things done. These “things” she does improve the lives of people by breaking down roadblocks and capitalizing on the opportunities at hand.

Carrie Jenner

Carrie Jenner, MD

Health Hero

Carrie Jenner
Carrie Jenner, MD

Health Hero

Carrie Jenner, MD, one of Washington state's leading pediatricians and vaccination experts, has spent her entire career tirelessly focused on improving the health and wellness of children and families across Washington state.

Dr. Jenner is passionate about protecting Pierce County residents from vaccine-preventable diseases. she volunteers  as co-hair and board president for the Pierce County Immunization Coalition (PCIC), where she has been a member for over a decade. Under Dr. Jenner's leadership, PCIC is able to advance its mission to promote timely immunizations and creating awareness of vaccine preventable diseases. Dr. Jenner promotes education and provides resources for healthcare providers and the community to increase vaccine acceptance and usage, and advocating for pro-vaccine policies. PCIC has a rich partnership with local pediatricians and family medicine physicians, as well as community pharmacies, local health departments, local schools, and large medical organizations.

Cheri Coleman

Cheri Denise Coleman

Health Hero

Cheri Coleman
Cheri Denise Coleman

Health Hero

Cheri is the founder of PartnerCafe-Bridging the Gap across Sectors. A consortium of City, State, and Federal agency decision-makers joining nonprofit organizations and Community Leaders & Activists- working interdependently to collectively impact social issues.

Cheri currently works as a Community Engagement and Resource and Service Provider, contracted by DSHS. She sits on the Board of Directors for a number of service organizations, volunteers for endless councils, committees and boards, going above and beyond to make sure that everyone is heard. She always says “You are the most important person in the room,” and even in a crowd of one hundred she means it. She doesn’t just advocate for her clients but for everyone, save herself. She makes sure that she is the last one in line so as not to take from anyone that may be suffering. She doesn’t cry for her clients but with them as she helps them navigate this chaotic healthcare system.

She helps people connect with resources and facilitates healing by walking with her clients rather than behind them.

Christine Stevens

Christine Stevens, RN, PhD

Health Hero

Christine Stevens
Christine Stevens, RN, PhD

Health Hero

Dr. Christine Stevens is working hard to address the issue of food insecurity and homelessness in post-secondary students and the community in Pierce County. Dr. Stevens continues to be part of the UWT Food Pantry team that delivers food to UWT students within a 50-mile radius of school. She applied to Washington State for paid year-long paid fellowships for three students to work with her in the cultural food project at UWT and in the community. These three students will develop leadership skills to become leaders in sustainable systems to address food insecurity in their communities. Christine is an amazing header in the healthcare field and cares about the community.

City of Lakewood

City of Lakewood

Health Hero

City of Lakewood
City of Lakewood

Health Hero

The record of the City in improving the community’s physical infrastructure makes for a positive impact on community health and wellbeing. It uniquely dedicates 1% of General Fund revenues to providing funding to partner agencies which deliver human services to its 60,000 residents, particularly those who live in low-income neighborhoods.

The City also has a Youth Council to advise the City Council. Beginning with a single youth advisor twenty years ago, it now has in excess of 20 members representing all four high schools to present the voice of youth in City affairs.

To enhance neighborhood and individual safety and well-being, Lakewood implemented a ResidentialSafety Inspection Program for Rental Properties as well as a Behavioral Health Contact Team in partnership with Greater Lakes Mental Health to assist those in crisis. Lakewood has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to house low-income people in Lakewood.

Lakewood has developed numerous new parks and refurbished many others, to include the new Springbrook Park, and has created many free or low cost activities to residents to enhance their quality of life and enjoyment of the city.

Claudia Thomas

Claudia Thomas

Health Hero

Claudia Thomas
Claudia Thomas

Health Hero

Claudia was one of those people who had a finger on the pulse of what was needed in her community. For over 50 years, she worked as a teacher, school principal, assistant superintendent. After retirement, she was appointed as deputy mayor of Lakewood, her primary focus being the service to the children… by securing funding for prevention services, helping to found the Lakewood Youth Council, working with the America’s Promise movement. Due in part to her hard work, Lakewood was cited 6x as one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People in America.

Communities in Schools

Communities in Schools

Health Hero

Communities in Schools
Communities in Schools

Health Hero

Across the country, approximately 1 in 6 children under 18 live in poverty. These are disproportionately children of color who already struggle with issues of access and equity. Without community support, they are more at risk for missing school, dropping out and failing to earn a high school diploma. Our school-based staff partner with teachers to identify challenges students face in class or at home and coordinate with community partners to bring outside resources inside schools. From immediate needs like food or clothing to more complex ones like counseling or emotional support, we do whatever it takes to help students succeed.

Salishan Community Health Advocates

Community Health Advocates at Salishan

Health Hero

Salishan Community Health Advocates
Community Health Advocates at Salishan

Health Hero

Community Health Advocates at Salishan are all residents of Salishan that have been focused on improving the health of their neighbors since 2007. Their reach encompasses all the determinants of health: economic stability, physical environment, education, nutrition, social context, and healthcare. Many of the CHAs start their volunteer service in high school then go on to attend college. The CHAs interact with a community representing over 40 cultures, all languages, and age groups.

Community Health Workers

Community Health Workers

Health Hero

Community Health Workers
Community Health Workers

Health Hero

These are the folks in the trenches, day in and day out. They often ignore their own barriers to help others because they can either relate or are so immersed in our community, they refuse to turn away from those in need of help.

Coretta Harwood

Coretta Harwood

Health hero

Coretta Harwood
Coretta Harwood

Health hero

When the paid organizer of the Hilltop Street Fair dropped out 6 weeks before the event, Coretta stepped up (without pay and while running her family business), grabbed the ball and ran with it. Without her organizational skill and determination, we would not have had a street fair.

Debbie Saint

Debbie Saint

Health Hero

Debbie Saint
Debbie Saint

Health Hero

Debbie Saint is the coordinator for the Congregational Health Ministries Program at CHI Franciscan in Tacoma. The purpose of the Program is to help congregations care for one another by attaining, maintaining and/or regaining the best possible whole person health-wellness of body, mind and spirit that can be experienced. This is done with help from health professionals and other interested lay members. Debbie supports the health ministry programs of 64 participating congregations, in the south Puget Sound region of which 32 congregations are in Pierce County. This includes supporting 67 faith community nurses and 52 health ministers. Debbie has decades of experience, which includes leadership of maternal support community services at CHI Franciscan and now as the coordinator for Congregational Health Ministries. She is incredibly well respected across the community and has made a significant impact on the lives of hundreds of areas residents.

Diane Formoso

Diane Formoso

Health Hero

Diane Formoso
Diane Formoso

Health Hero

For over 40 years, Diane has mobilized the Lakewood community to provide clothing, school supplies, food, and books to children in the Clover Park School District. She established and leads “Caring for Kids,” 100% supported by volunteers. Diane raises money, picks up supplies, and distributes resources to those in need.

Dr. George Tanbara

Dr. George Tanbara, MD

Health Hero

Dr. George Tanbara
Dr. George Tanbara, MD

Health Hero

Dr. George Tanbara was a humble man who lived through much to become the person he was – founder of Community Health Care and Pediatrics Northwest, and an inspiration to those who want to use their time and talents to serve the community where they live.

George was a 2nd generation Japanese American born in Portland Oregon in 1922, member of the USC tennis team, and graduate of the Pharmacy program at the University of Idaho. His family was sent to an internment camp during WWII when resentment against the Japanese ran high. There he met his wife, Kimi, who had been relocated to the camp from Tacoma. Dr. Tanbara joined the army, serving as a combat medic. After his stint in the military, he completed medical school at the University of Minnesota. He and Kimi were married and moved to her hometown of Tacoma where he opened a solo pediatric practice.

In 1969, the Public Health Hospital was closed. George worried about what would become of those patients who had so few resources and relied on the Public Health Hospital for health care? He began talking with community leaders who were also concerned, they would incorporate as the Urban Coalition with Jim Walton (later Tacoma City Manager) as its Executive Director. Dr. Tanbara was the medical lead and together they opened two free clinics. One was on the Hilltop in the basement of the Nurses Quarters at St. Joseph’s Hospital, the other in Lister Elementary School in Salishan on the east side.

The two free clinics they established were the humble beginning of what is today, Community Health Care (CHC) serving 46,000 patients. CHC owns five Health Centers offering medical, dental, pharmacy, behavioral health, maternity support, and substance abuse, along with an Urgent Care at the Hilltop location and prompt care at the other four. From its inception, and until his passing in July 2017, Dr. Tanbara was not only on the Community Health Care Board of Directors and active in influencing the growth of the organization, but his singular mantra of, “Put the Patient First” has been this organization’s soul and focus. He believed that access to healthcare was a basic human need and right.

George’s impact on Pierce County Health is now responsible for the health and well-being of nearly 100,000 patients a year all around Puget Sound. It is an incredible feat, and one which we should honor, cherish and memorialize. Honoring Dr. Tanbara is especially apropos this year, our 50th anniversary of serving Pierce County patients.

Doug Swanberg

Doug Swanberg

Health Hero

Doug Swanberg
Doug Swanberg

Health Hero

Doug worked with high risk, high need populations between 1985 –2014, 30 years. His work includes time at the Metropolitan Development Council, a community-based agency located in Tacoma. The council provides overall management and supervision of support and outreach services for homeless and at-risk youth, counseling and case management services for the elderly, energy and emergency assistance, and educational opportunity and resource services. Family and children services are provided as well as food projects, chemical dependency treatment programs, and home weatherization services.

Doug has also worked at a Comprehensive Mental Health Center and for the Juvenile Court. He has provided key stewardship and stability as a Board Member at Community Health Care for the last 25 years. This has included multiple terms as an officer and chairing various committees.

Ebony Nurses of Tacoma

Ebony Nurses of Tacoma

Health Hero

Ebony Nurses of Tacoma
Ebony Nurses of Tacoma

Health Hero

Ebony Nurses of Tacoma is an amazing group doing life changing work in our community. Their principle purpose is to influence change in existing conditions in the Black Community related to patient care and to promote scholarship, recruitment and support to members of the Black Community wanting to advance their careers in nursing.

Ed Wolfer and Virginia Gaub

Ed Wolfer and Virginia Gaub

Health Hero

Ed Wolfer and Virginia Gaub
Ed Wolfer and Virginia Gaub

Health Hero

These two persons have been diligent and faithful leaders, workers, organizers, facilitators of volunteers, and patient servants of those seeking food. They serve through the Jackson Street Food Bank, a joint venture of St. Andrew’s episcopal church and Tempe Beth El, part of the FISH food bank network. They are heroic in their humble and generous service to our community, engaging our clients to serve with us that together we may help one another and modem the sense of community that our society desperately needs today.

Ellie Wilson

Ellie Wilson

Health Hero

Ellie Wilson
Ellie Wilson

Health Hero

For over 25 years Ellie has been a tireless champion for community, kids and families in Lakewood, chairing and serving on numerous committees, always volunteering for and leading community causes.

Early on she chaired successful bond and levy campaigns for Clover Park School District, worked on Lakewood Incorporation, helped found Communities in Schools of Lakewood and now chairs the Lakewood’s Promise Advisory Board to the City. Recently she hosted a Chinese student at Pierce College in her home for two years, giving life changing support to this young woman who has now graduated with honors and transferred to the University of Michigan to continue her studies. A former teacher, widow of a US Army officer, Ellie helps make the whole community a healthy place for all.

Florence Reeves

Florence Reeves

Health Hero

Florence Reeves
Florence Reeves

Health Hero

As a nurse and military wife, Florence cared for patients in four states before coming to Tacoma. In 1980, the three Community Health Care Delivery System clinics were brought under the auspices of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. The primary administrator job was posted and Florence, a public health nurse/team manager with the Health Department, applied, knowing there would be a huge learning curve, along with more than 100 other applicants. Florence was hired and would begin the tough job of managing this complex organization for nearly 15 years. She was responsible for hiring the first paid medical staff and overseeing a tremendous amount of change and growth.

Through Florence’s hard work and diligence, Community Health Care had the only HIV care program in Pierce County. She started the first comprehensive maternity care unit for mothers-to-be who could not otherwise afford care. Florence learned to write and administer grants, enabling her to increase Community Health Care’s grant income by 3000% in 3 years.

After leaving Community Health Care, Florence worked for the state in several capacities, including Manager of DSHS - Women’s Treatment Services, Chemical Dependency and the Mental Health Administrator for McNeil Island. She also won the Nathan Davis Award for outstanding government service.

Grace Sullivan

Grace Sullivan

Health Hero

Grace Sullivan
Grace Sullivan

Health Hero

Grace has been an instrumental volunteer and now employee of 350 Tacoma, the newest branch of the global organization working toward a cleaner environment for everyone. From public grassroots organizing to publicly speaking out, Grace has been advocating for change in how our local region works with renewable energy.

HopeSparks

Hope Sparks

Health Hero

HopeSparks
Hope Sparks

Health Hero

Joe Le Roy of HopeSparks is a hero for children and their rights to quality health care regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances. What makes him so exceptional is that he doesn’t just talk about it, he applies his passion and knowledge to change things. Joe is President and CEO of HopeSparks Family Services, which is currently partnering with Pediatrics NW at Mary Bridge to integrate medical and mental health care in the primary care setting for Children. This is a huge undertaking that requires advocation with local government as well as blending beliefs and cultures of two organizations that are doing great work in the community. Under Joe’s leadership, HopeSparks has grown from a small, $1million community mental health clinic for children into a $7million clinical enterprise. His leadership has allowed for much needed growth to meet the need in the community for children and their families.

Rudy and Phyllis Horst

Rudy and Phyllis Horst

Health Heroes

Rudy and Phyllis Horst
Rudy and Phyllis Horst

Health Heroes

Rudy and Phyllis are a tremendous and positive force, impacting many people in many areas. Phyllis, a disabled woman of 80, still works in the community. She has coped with Cerebral Palsy her entire life but did not let that stop her. She has been a mother, teacher, and community volunteer. Rudy served 23 years in the Navy Submarine Service and once retired, led a wood carving class at the Lakewood Senior Center.

Jamilia Sherls-Jones

Jamilia Sherls-Jones

Health Hero

Jamilia Sherls-Jones
Jamilia Sherls-Jones

Health Hero

Jamilia is deeply committed to serving the community in the most equitable ways. She is a valuable community partner and truly connects the community to MultiCare in meaningful ways. She has helped bring young girls to the medical camps for 5 summers to expose these young women to healthcare careers. She has stated that it is her goal to ensure that MultiCare is a welcoming, inclusive organization for our diverse community and that their staff has the right tools to provide care that is culturally sensitive and respectful to all.

Janne Hutchins

Janne Hutchins

Health Hero

Janne Hutchins
Janne Hutchins

Health Hero

For over 20 years, Janne has served as the executive director of LASA, which stand for “Living Access Support Alliance.” LASA is a small organization that does great work within our community to prevent homelessness and recurring homelessness. It is through Janne’s vision, guidance, and oversight that this organization is able to support so many individuals and families in need.

Kathleen Fidgetakis

Kathleen Figetakis

Health Hero

Kathleen Fidgetakis
Kathleen Figetakis

Health Hero

Kathleen is a non-stop worker as a volunteer to support young people in schools who have not had a chance to develop their literacy skills. She created a contest for the local Ocean Fest providing middle and high school youth mentors and trainers to learn how to write a poem, make a graph or prepare a film on a theme within the issues of the world’s oceans. She is the literacy chair of the Tacoma Sunrise Rotary. We didn’t have a literacy chair until Kathleen joined the Club. She took over immediately and has scored high marks each year throughout the Rotary District.

Kathleen has touched the hearts of Tacoma City Council members, tribal members, teachers and
parents. She contacts every person or group that has a stake in this important skill for our kids to
succeed in the future.

Kelly Blucher

Kelly Blucher

Health Hero

Kelly Blucher
Kelly Blucher

Health Hero

Kelly is a co-chair of the workforce development committee for the Pierce county Coalition to end Homelessness. This committee is responsible for the create of Pierce Country’s quarterly hiring event, Hire253. This event specifically targets employers willing to hire individuals experiencing homelessness and there has been none other of its kind. In addition to her role for the coalition, Kelly has been a staunch advocate for reducing the high cost of childcare for low-income families.

Korbett Mosesly

Korbett Mosesly

Health Hero

Korbett Mosesly
Korbett Mosesly

Health Hero

Korbett (Corey) has immersed himself in an array of paid and volunteer positions in Pierce County. Whether it is serving on city committees for envisioning 2025 living, working with families to make homes stable, writing newsletters for the Hilltop Action Coalition and others, serving on the Black Collective, working with the elder giants of civil and human rights in Tacoma and Pierce County, or volunteering for myriad assignments and with smaller groups, Korbett has distinguished himself as a person who can accomplish much and help lift up the people he helps along the way. We are a much better community because of Korbett.

Larry Dugger

Larry Dugger

Health Hero

Larry Dugger
Larry Dugger

Health Hero

Larry is a giver to everyone with whom he comes in contact. He is busy in the community. An elder at Greater Christ Temple Church in Tacoma and a retired gunnery sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, he also leads free financial and retirement seminars for those that need them. He is active in the Marine Corps League Pierce County Det 504, AMVETS and Tacoma Ministerial Alliance.

Leah Ford

Leah Ford

Health Hero

Leah Ford
Leah Ford

Health Hero

Leah has put the needs of mothers and babies at the forefront of her focus, particularly mothers and infants of color. Noticing that very few in the lactation support community represents the communities most in need of lactation services, Leah completely a Breastfeed Peer Counselor Training Program and worked as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor with her local Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) Supplementary Nutrition Program. In this role, Leah served as a vital supporter and advocate for some of Pierce County’s most vulnerable. She is guided by a commitment to social justice and recognizes the irreplaceable role of optimal early nutrition in the lifelong health trajectory of our children.

Liesl Santkuyl

Liesl Santkuyl

Health Hero

Liesl Santkuyl
Liesl Santkuyl

Health Hero

Liesl Santkuyl is a long-term Tacoma community advocate, public health educator and social justice activist. Currently she is Coalition Coordinator for Leaders in Women’s Health, an initiative of the Northwest Leadership Foundation. Liesl holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Wisconsin, specializing in Community Health Education, and has worked as a health educator in migrant health centers, public health, and hospitals in Wisconsin and Washington. Born in Venezuela and a proud Latina and immigrant, she lived in Mexico and Guatemala during her childhood and early twenties and thoroughly enjoys working with our multicultural Tacoma community to ensure that all voices are heard and valued.

Lois Bernstein

Lois Bernstein

Health Hero

Lois Bernstein
Lois Bernstein

Health Hero

While Lois is employed by a healthcare system, the impactful work she has done in the community has been in a number of areas. One of Lois’ great skills is in coalition building to serve the needs of our community. Lois is a respected leader, who others trust to have the best interest of the community at heart.

Fifteen years ago, Lois was instrumental in starting the first Nurse Camp (a free summer camp) in the state as a way for high school students to explore their interest in nursing and other health professions. The MultiCare Nurse Camp was honored by the Washington State Hospital Association. Other healthcare systems followed MultiCare’s lead and developed similar programs.

Lois also had the idea to start the first health care careers curriculum for high school students in Tacoma. In honor of Lois’ work, the Healthcare Careers Collaborative named a fund after her, The Lois Bernstein Fund for the Healthcare Careers Academy that supports the school. She was also instrumental in implementing the first school based health clinic in the Tacoma Public Schools District. The clinic opened in April 2018, and has been welcome by students, families and leadership.

Mark Rake-Marona

Mark Rake-Marona

Health Hero

Mark Rake-Marona
Mark Rake-Marona

Health Hero

Mark Rake-Marona served as Executive Director for Hospice and Palliative Care at CHI Franciscan since 1991. For nearly 3 decades, Mark ran CHI Franciscan’s in-patient and in-home hospice service and other programs that benefit those nearing the end of their lives. Mark led efforts in the community to raise awareness among the ethnic and cultural minority groups about end-of-life care options that are available to everyone, with the goal of helping individuals overcome language and cultural hurdles that may prevent them from seeking appropriate services for the terminally ill.

Mary Dodsworth

Mary Dodsworth

Health Hero

Mary Dodsworth
Mary Dodsworth

Health Hero

Since the earliest days of the City of Lakewood, Mary has overseen and been the driving force behind the creation and maintenance of Lakewood’s now wonderful system pf parks and public spaces.  Starting from a very limited group of parks and facilities, Mary has successfully championed that goal of having a park or public recreational space within a mile of every resident. More recently, the Lakewood Promise Collaboration has been added to Mary’s portfolio. She brings her enthusiasm for kids, families, and building a healthy community to this work as well.

Michelle Douglas

Michelle Douglas

Health Hero

Michelle Douglas
Michelle Douglas

Health Hero

As CEO of the Emergency Food Network, Michelle does a tremendous job of leveraging resources, purchasing food, recruiting volunteers, and assuring effective distribution of food to those in our community who need it the most. Michelle has an ability to foster relationships that enable her to mobilize the community and provide effective use of resources for the benefit of Pierce County. She also gives people a tangible way to get involved and provide services that will help feed the hungry.

Multicultural Child Family Hope Center

Multicultural Child Family Hope Center

Health Hero

Multicultural Child Family Hope Center
Multicultural Child Family Hope Center

Health Hero

Through their culturally responsive childcare, preschool and family support services, Multicultural Child Family Hope Center and their entire teacher and staff team create nurturing relationships with young children and their families. Their goal is to connect those families to educational opportunities and positive environments and experiences, promoting health development and social networks.

Norm Dicks

Norm Dicks

Health Hero

Norm Dicks
Norm Dicks

Health Hero

Norm Dicks is the former United States Representative for Washington’s 6th congressional district, serving between 1977 and 2013. He was born and raised in Bremerton. As a student at the University of Washington, he played linebacker on the football team, while earning his B.A. and Juris Doctor Degrees. After graduating, he worked as a legislative and administration assistant for former Washington Senator, Warren G. Magnuson.

Running for a seat on the House of Representatives for the first time in 1976, he won and was awarded a seat on the House Appropriations Committee during this first term. He also served 8 years on the House Intelligence Committee. He served his constituency in the House for 36 years before retiring from Congress in 2013.

Congressman Dicks has a long history supporting health care and Community Health Care in particular. In 1980, the Urban Health Initiative (UHI), a federal funding source, would spur new growth for the fledgling clinic network. Tom Hilyard, Program Development Specialist in Tacoma’s Human Development Department and a member of the Pierce County Health Council, was instrumental in writing the first UHI grant request. When the proposal became stalled in Washington, D.C., Norm Dicks ushered it through what was then called the Health, Education & Welfare Committee.

In 1990, a Health Care for the Homeless Program opened under sub-contract with Tacoma’s Metropolitan Development Council, and Community Health Care Delivery System, (CHCDS) received federal support for HIV/AIDS care through the Ryan White Title III HIV Early Intervention Program. A new Children’s Clinic was dedicated in the Hilltop neighborhood in August of 1991, with Representative Norm Dicks, continuing his faithful support for the clinics, in attendance.

We are honoring Congressman Dicks for being a Health Hero, due to recognition that health care is a right and not a privilege and his work towards affordable and accessible health care for all.

Norma Casillas

Norma Casillas

Health Hero

Norma Casillas
Norma Casillas

Health Hero

One of Community Health Care’s own, has shown her passion to help patients. She is dedicated to their success by empowering them to make their way in the world. She is committed, has compassions, kindness, and always finds an answer for her patients’ needs.

Norman Brickhouse

Norman Brickhouse

Health Hero

Norman Brickhouse
Norman Brickhouse

Health Hero

Norman has truly been an asset to many people in Pierce County below poverty level in many aspects of creating financial stability. As the Manager of the Goodwill Center for Strong Families, Norman has brought his 25+ years of experience in the for-profit mortgage industry to his passion in nonprofit and those needing financial stability and self-sufficiency. In just over three years he has brought many programs and partnerships to not just Goodwill but to the community completing nearly 900 free taxes this year to people making less than 54K yearly, partnered with Valeo Vocation, specifically providing employment and financial education to those experiencing homelessness, beginning home ownership classes for those who had only dreamed of owning a home, Norman has a special gift of making dreams attainable. He truly has changed the way we think of employment and training services and truly integrated financial literacy, goal setting and increasing confidence, thus achieving amazing outcomes. This is just a small piece of the hope he is providing for those in poverty in Pierce County. He has been instrumental in the implementation of Hire 253, helping those experiencing and or facing homelessness into employment attracting more than 700 job seekers with a success of 32% employment last event. Through his work in Center for Strong Families, he continues to lift families out of poverty. His collaborative mind set is contagious and has no end in sight. He is a champion for this community!

Palmer Scholars

Palmer Scholars

Health Hero

Palmer Scholars
Palmer Scholars

Health Hero

The power of this small organization to create strong mentorship experiences for youth of color, first generation college students – as well as provide scholarships and wraparound support of all young scholars – makes this organization a standout in our community. With the additional group of Palmer Pathways, a scholar-based modem program for out-of-school youth, the impact of their work will spread farther and wider than ever before.

Partha Gonavaram

Partha Gonavaram, MD

Health Hero

Partha Gonavaram
Partha Gonavaram, MD

Health Hero

Dr. Gonavaram is a primary care doctor at Community Health Care. He is a kind and caring with a wealth of knowledge as a primary care doctor. Through his integrity and honest caring for his patients, he emulates the spirit and vision that Dr. George Tanbara held at the conception of Community health Care. I am so fortunate to have found my way to him and his consistent care.

Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps

Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps

Health Hero

Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps
Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps

Health Hero

Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) started in 2006, when a doctor from Tacoma volunteered during the disaster aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He asked the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department to start an MRC unit, which the federal government began after the 9/11 event. Today, our local MRC has over 500 members, dedicated to serving vulnerable populations across our country. They have helped when the City of Tacoma declared homelessness an emergency. They help administer 3,000 flu shots to school children every year. They have first aid stations and wellness clinics at public events. They promote emergency preparedness, utilizing the skills of community health workers. When disaster strikes, the MRC aims to help their neighbors in need.

Prentis Johnson

Prentis Johnson

Health Hero

Prentis Johnson
Prentis Johnson

Health Hero

As the pastor of Greater Christ Temple Church, Suffragan Bishop Prentis Johnson helped to launch three new churches from ministers who were members of Greater Christ Temple Church. Strategic plans for future land development of low-income housing complexes, senior citizens facilities, and an educational building were initiated and pursued. Prentis is very active in his community and served in the Tacoma Ministerial Alliance organization as a Director and currently as the Secretary. He is a member of the Tacoma NAACP, the A. Philip Randolph organization, the Political Destiny organization, the Tacoma Urban League, and several other community organizations. He served as a volunteer coach for the Todd Beamer High School track team from 2003 to 2006. He founded several mentoring and tutoring programs in Tacoma for the youth, including Youth for Christ, Black Achievers Program and Aprentis Learning Program. He is also a certified arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.

Reach Ministries

Reach Ministries

Health Hero

Reach Ministries
Reach Ministries

Health Hero

Children, teens, families, and young adults affected by HIV live in a perpetual “state of rejection,” causing depression, anxiety, despair, loneliness, shame and feelings for worthlessness. REACH fosters a safe community, strengthening them in hope against persistent stigma. REACH’s vision is that those affected by HIV flourish with dignity and self-worth in the face of rejection and isolation.

Rick Talbert

Rick Talbert

Health Hero

Rick Talbert
Rick Talbert

Health Hero

Rick served for 16 years as member of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Board, and 3-5 years as its chair. During his tenure he took the lead in authorizing the Health Director to initiate a county-wide policy to create and mandate smoke free workplaces. Rick was a consistent supporter of the Point Defiance needle exchange program seeing it as one of the premier accomplishments in the public health arena. He also led in the creation and implementation of the prescription drug buyback program now in effect throughout Pierce County.

While on the City Council, he took the lead and secured the funds for the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center. The center deals with the issue of domestic abuse in a comprehensive and inclusive manner. It is a leader in the nation. Rick also took a keen interest and supported providing preventive dental care for low income people--particularly children.

While serving as chair of the board, Rick led the effort to recruit Dr. Anthony Chen as Health Director. He also secured major City of Tacoma funding for the successful capital campaign in support of the Eastside-Tanbara Family Medical Center. Rick has simply been the leader in public health policies as a Tacoma and Pierce County Council Member.

Rosa Johnson

Rosa Johnson

Health Hero

Rosa Johnson
Rosa Johnson

Health Hero

Rosa Johnson works diligently to find resources needed to help Community Health Care’s patients, no matter how long it takes to get the best care. She assists patients in filling out all the paperwork required to apply for financial assistance and she always does it with a smile.

Sharon Chamber-Gordon

Sharon Chambers-Gordon

Health Hero

Sharon Chamber-Gordon
Sharon Chambers-Gordon

Health Hero

Sharon Chambers-Gordon, a Co-Founder and CEO of Raising Girls. It was founded in 2017 with a mission to provide South Sound girls with bags of personal items that testify to the joys of "girlhood" and show the care and respect their community feels for them. Raising Girls is committed to empowering young girls to recognize their own potential by building and encouraging self-respect.  In 2015, Chambers-Gordon was nominated and selected as Girls Scouts of Western Washington Woman of Distinction. She is also a trained Washington State Housing Finance Commission Homebuyer Education Instructor. She is committed to working and training on equity, diversity, social justice, and cultural competency. She has opportunities to engage in conversations on these topics in the real estate world as well as in the wider community.

Shirley Carstens

Shirley Carstens

Health Hero

Shirley Carstens
Shirley Carstens

Health Hero

Ms. Carstens, RN, MSN is the Planning Section Chief of Pierce County Medical Reserve Corps (PC MRC). She is responsible for the planning of all activities requiring the activation of PC MRC volunteers. This includes such diverse engagements as organizing public flu clinics starting with the H1N1 epidemic of 2009, quarterly Pierce County Project Homeless Connect health clinics since October 2012, and mobilizing the PC MRC to assist in the measles outbreak in Clark County in early 2019.

When she retired as a school nurse, she still had the passion to exercise her chosen profession, and signed up with the PC MRC. She volunteered in a leadership capacity, placing herself front and center of a new organization with all the demands of growing a professional affiliation. Ever the nurse and teacher, she has mentored several students as they fulfilled internships at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. As the caring nurse, she has filled in last minute requests for help at a local free clinic when other nurses became indisposed. She is equally at ease with a single client experiencing homelessness at the Tacoma Stability Site as she is giving a presentation to a group of professionals at Jackson Hall at Tacoma General.

Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Health Hero

Sisters of St Francis of Philadelphia
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Health Hero

The Saint Ann Convent of the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia is ostensibly a retirement center for the sisters; however, their “retirement” does not stop their ministry. They serve in many different forms: education, healthcare, and social services, supporting the needs of their community.

Sue Potter

Sue Potter

Health Hero

Sue Potter
Sue Potter

Health Hero

Over the past year, Sue has worked with the community and technical colleges in Pierce County to bring a mobile food bank to each of their campuses one day a month to serve the students and community members in the area. As institutions that serve a large percentage of low-income students, the opportunity to make this service so convenient is monumental.

Tacoma Runners

Tacoma Runners

Health Hero

Tacoma Runners
Tacoma Runners

Health Hero

Tacoma Runners is about to celebrate its tenth anniversary. Founded by Rob Huff and Derek Young, it stages two running activities each week. One is a Thursday evening 3+mile run from a local Tacoma-Pierce County food and beverage venue Starting with a handful of runners, it now attracts 70 to 100 runners of a variety of fitness levels and ages from young adults to senior citizens. Tacoma Runners has built a community around its events, with many friendships and relationships. Often Tacoma Runners is the first place people engage when they come to the community or stick their toes in running. For those able to run, the activity is very beneficial in terms of mental health, happiness and fitness. It can be social. And it can be quite inexpensive.

Tacoma Boat Builders

Tacoma Boat Builders

Health Heroes

Tacoma Boat Builders
Tacoma Boat Builders

Health Heroes

Tacoma Boat builders (TBB) is a small, non-profit organization that is dedicated to creating transformational opportunities for marginalized and underserved youth through boat building and positive mentorship. TBB provides a space where genuine relationships are formed through one-to-one mentoring between a youth who is involved in the Pierce County Juvenile Courts and a Boat Shop Mentor. TBB provides the resources for those kids to become resilient to their adverse experiences while building pro-social opportunities, self-advocacy, and empathetic relationship building.

Ted Baer, DDS

Dr. Ted Baer

Health Hero

Ted Baer, DDS
Dr. Ted Baer

Health Hero

Dr. Theodore (Ted) Baer, DDS, is worthy of recognition as a Healthy Community Hero.

After a nearly 30-year dental career, Dr. Baer recognizes the inherent injustice in poor quality healthcare for those without stable housing, employment, or health literacy. He addresses this through his work with Community Health Care and chooses to be present for his patients each day, in each procedure. His philosophy towards his profession is one of service and dedication to those most in need.

Dr. Baer is careful to keep his identity as a person - a father, husband, son, brother, and a community leader in balance with his identity as a dentist, acknowledging that all of these aspects power him to serve his patients at the height of his potential as a provider. It is this grounded sense of self that guides his decisions to preform those procedures which are medically necessary, rather than motivated by competing incentives.

Born and raised in pierce county, Dr. Baer has made an intentional commitment to the community that formed him, taking an active role in the well-being of those who need reliable, consistent care most of all. He further expands upon this by sharing his time, talents, and experiences with others in the dental field, serving as a mentor to newer members of the profession.

Outside of the dentist's chair, Dr. Baer is active is supporting those overcoming the challenging struggles of addiction, shares his musical talents, and has spent years cultivating appreciation of the natural world with Pierce County youth and adults alike. Pierce County and her citizens are healthier for Dr. Baer's heroism.

Terri Card

Terri Card

Health Hero

Terri Card
Terri Card

Health Hero

Terri is the president and CEO of Greater Lakes Mental Health. Terri works tirelessly to create and build treatments for the mentally ill members of our community. Studies show most people who are mentally ill – without the right support and care - end up impoverished and socially isolated with a pattern of cycling in and out of jail and/or mental institutions. Terri works to end that cycle but instituting programs like PORCH (Permanent Options for Recovery Centered Housing), moving clients away from crippling disability so they can function independently in a meaningful way

Titan Food Pantry

Titan Food Pantry

Health Hero

Titan Food Pantry
Titan Food Pantry

Health Hero

Two Tacoma Community College students realized that too many of their fellow students were victims of food insecurity. Together they created a business plan and started the Titan Food Pantry. Thanks to Ashley Ngo and MayLonnai Solie (the students), Key Bank Foundation, Tina Hagedorn, Ben McClain, and Max and Margo Harned, more than 2,000 TCC students have been served by Titan Food Pantry in it’s first year of operation on the campus of TCC.

Todd Silver

Todd Silver

Health Hero

Todd Silver
Todd Silver

Health Hero

Todd, along with his brother Scott, owns the JL Darling LLC, that produces Rite in the Rain, waterproof writing tools used by loggers, firefighters, and anyone else who needs to write while it’s raining. He is a local, graduating from Puget sound University in 1975. After college, he worked in Australia running the Darwin branch of Wycliffe Bible Translators, helping to translate the Bible into aboriginal languages. After returning to the states. he and his brother joined their father in the running of JL Darling.

In addition to his busy life running his company, Todd serves the Tacoma/Pierce County YMCA on their Board, serves on the Forest Foundation board, and has been leading the efforts to establish Waterway Park on the Foss for over 20 years. He also has led volunteers for the Young Life food stand at the Fair for many years. He even staffs a checkpoint for the Iditarod Sled Dog race.

Vicki Grimes

Vicki Grimes, ARNP

Health Hero

Vicki Grimes
Vicki Grimes, ARNP

Health Hero

This provider is always willing to answer questions or, if she doesn’t immediately know the answer, will send her patients to the right resource to get the help they need. Also, she is always aware of a patient’s financial state when prescribing care so she can get them the help or tests they need that will fit the patient’s financial status but provide the most thorough care. This woman has shown so much compassion that I (the nominator) strive to do the same for my patients at Community Health Care.

William Roberts

William Roberts

Health Hero

William Roberts
William Roberts

Health Hero

William Roberts is known as a “giver” by all he encounters. He considers himself “on-call” for anyone that needs him, 7/24. He is on the board of directors for Oasis of Hope. Oasis of Hope is an organization firmly committed to serving the community with integrity, building a Christian foundation that fosters individual growth, and nurturing relationships using faith based principles that develop the mind, body, soul, and spirit.

Winifred Williams

Winifred Williams

Health Hero

Winifred Williams
Winifred Williams

Health Hero

Winifred has a great love for helping others and she never meets a stranger. She is a single mother of two who balances her gifts of love, giving, and caring for the community with a smile on her face and compassion in her heart.