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Wishing You the Best in 2019

Some Final Thoughts for 2018...

It has been almost a year since my dad passed, and it's been ten years since I lost my mom. Both feel like yesterday. Family means more to me than I can say– family born of the same blood, but also the family we choose to add to our lives. My parents taught us so much, but there are two things I carry with me every day. My mom taught us to not be afraid to wear our hearts on our sleeves, and she was with me when I found the pin that I wear every day in her memory. My dad taught us to find something to laugh out loud about every day, and if you ever asked him how he was, right up to his final days, he would reply, "life is good." Born during the Depression, having gone through multiple wars and served in WWII, they knew about sacrifice, and that things take a long time to come to fruition. And they tried to teach us that. They created a home where everyone felt they belonged, no matter our differences or what was going on in our lives. I'd like to think we can do something similar here in the North Sound region.

For those who had a wonderful year, we wish for that to continue for you in 2019. For those who struggled, we wish you a reprieve and a peaceful path forward. The team at North Sound ACH sends our best wishes to you, your families, and those you love.


Gratitude to our Board of Directors

We have much to consider and be thankful for as this year ends and another begins. The North Sound ACH has an amazing Board (pictured below) that works tirelessly to set the strategic direction leading to healthier communities across the region. If you know any of the folks in this photo, please stop and thank them for their time, passion, and commitment to truly transform how we approach care and services. Leaving the Board this year (seated in the photo) are Joe Valentine, Greg Winter, and Allan Fisher, all of whom have been on this journey with the ACH for more than 4 years. We are grateful for their leadership and continued involvement on our Board committees. On the far right, Conner Darlington was elected to the Board December 14, and will chair the Community Leadership Council. Not pictured, Caitlin Safford, was also elected to the Board on December 14.

North Sound ACH Board Seat Open for BH Provider!

The North Sound ACH is looking for a new Behavioral Health Provider sector representative to serve on the Board of Directors.  Joe Valentine, the CEO for the North Sound BHO, has held this seat since the inception of the North Sound ACH, and we are so grateful for his leadership and voice.  As we seek to fill this very important Board seat, we are looking for nominees that:

  • Add a voice from an underrepresented community (i.e., communities of color, indigenous, disabilities, LGBTQ+)
  • Are younger than age 45
  • Have a funds development and/or financial background
The Board has identified these attributes and skills as areas where the Board has gaps in our current membership.

If you are a Behavioral Health provider and are interested in applying, please use the link below to apply.  Someone from our Governance Committee will respond with a request for a formal conversation.  We will be seeking interested individuals through the middle of January. You can find the application packet at this link (or cut and paste
Please share this message with others in the Behavioral Health provider community to help us reach someone who would be an amazing fit for the ACH Board. 

Remembering David Kincheloe

The photo on the screen above the Board of Directors shows David Kincheloe and his dog Buddy. David passed away earlier this month after a battle with cancer, still teaching his caregivers better ways to approach care right up to the end. He was a passionate advocate for patients and clients, and served as a founding member of the Governing Body of the North Sound ACH until 2017. David's family is planning a celebration of his life sometime this Spring, and we hope to post details our website when we learn more.  His voice is surely missed. 

Staffing Transitions and New Positions Getting Posted!

It is always hard to see staff move on to new adventures, but we hope you will join us in wishing two team members the best as they transition.

Candice Wilson, our Tribal and Community Liaison, has taken a position with the Lhaq'temish Foundation whose mission on their website is "Nilh Xwenang Tse Schelangen Este Nexw Xwlemi (this is our way of life in Lummi) - a healthy, giving, and prosperous community to strengthen our people through cultural, social, and economic abundance." We are excited for Candice in this leadership role and wish her the best.

Ross Howell is also taking on a new role. Ross has been one of our Project Managers working in oral health, bidirectional integration and transitional care, and earlier this year moved to Vancouver, BC. Starting in January he will be a Senior Consultant for Innovation, Planning and Transformation for Fraser Health in Surrey, BC. We will miss both of these amazing team members, but are excited for them as they move into new roles. 

We have also added some new staff to our team, so please join us in welcoming:
Starleen Maharaj-Lewis, joining our team as the Community HUB Manager. Starleen's experience working with marginalized populations in diverse settings across the nation, and in developing a framework for health equity infrastructure, makes our team even stronger. Starleen holds a BA from the University of British Columbia, and attended graduate studies in Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Tulane University. 
Khushdip (Khush) Brar, joining as Finance and Administrative Associate.  Khush comes from a diverse cultural background and brings forth her rich knowledge in business administration to our finance team. She has a loving daughter, caring mother and supportive husband who complete her world. Khush always strives to become a better person and hopes to bring that to our organization.

At the December Board meeting, several new positions were approved for 2019. With the two staff departures, we are currently recruiting for a Tribal Liaison, and several Project Manager positions. We also have Project Coordinator positions available to support project implementation and communications. If you are looking for a position, have a commitment to equity, and would bring diverse experience to our team, we are looking for you! You can see our current postings at this link. In addition to these positions we anticipate a few more in the first quarter of 2019, so please stay connected!

Olympic Community of Health Leadership Change 

We don't often post what is going on at other ACHs, but since so many of you have a relationship to Elya we thought we would take the opportunity to share her update. 

Elya Prystowsky (formerly Elya Moore) is leaving the Olympic Community of Health in early March. Elya played a critical role in the formation of the North Sound ACH; her contributions include the proposal that led to North Sound and CPAA being named as the first two pilot ACHs in the state. 

Elya is heading on a new adventure, starting with a trip to Italy, so join us in wishing her well. (You can reach her at for the next two months) . Pictured is Liz Baxter, Dan Vizzini (Center for Evidence Based Policy) and Elya Prystowsky.

Resources to Check Out

  • Are you interested in food security? The Reinvestment Fund has just released an RFP focused on its Healthy Food Financing Initiative, triggered by passage of the Farm Bill in Congress. We know there are many in the North Sound region who live without access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food. The Healthy Food Financing Initiative aims to improve access to healthy food in underserved areas, to create and preserve quality jobs, and to revitalize low-income communities. There will be a webinar to describe the application process on January 8, 2019 at 12 p.m. EST. You can register here.
  • Healthier Washington hosts quarterly webinars to share updates on the Medicaid Transformation Project. The next webinar is February 14th at noon, and you can register at this link. 
  • A new report has been issued by the Washington Health Alliance called "First Do No Harm: Calculating Health Care Waste in Washington State." You can find the report at this link
  • Help test the state's newest health care data tool. This summer, the state launched, a website with data fed by the Washington All-Payer Claims Database (WA-APCD). This website gives the public access to accurate cost predictions for a selection of health care procedures by combining the actual costs from more than 55 health insurance companies (covering about 80% of the state’s residents). In addition to providing average costs, the website also provides quality scores for health care providers. A cost calculator allows customers to estimate what they might pay for a procedure or medical service, based on their actual insurance coverage.  Please take a minute to check it out—your use of the website will help developers identify opportunities for improvement. If you want to go a step further and email comments, you can send them to the following address:  For more information about the WA-APCD, visit
First Board Meeting of 2019: Friday, February 22

Never too early to put something on next year's calendar!
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Swinomish-area location to TBD

More details will be added to our website in January.  You can find Board meetings and materials here.

And last, but not safe as weather changes


From our partners at Whidbey Health:

Yes, it is unnaturally warm outside for December, but the next storm front could be right around the corner! Watch how you walk and stay safe.



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