Integrative Care Outreach, formerly Alternative Health Care Access Campaign, was initially formed in August 1999 by a small group of students and homeless advocates, who were concerned that the benefits of alternative health care were becoming exclusively available to the wealthier segments of society. Previously, the Sound Clinic provided full-service alternative and conventional health care to the downtown Seattle community until its closure in 1997, which created a void in accessible alternative health care for people experiencing homelessness and low income.
In 2016 it was estimated that nearly 10,000 people were homeless in the Seattle area, according to the one night count of Seattle King County Coalition for the Homeless. Studies show that people in stressful circumstances (such as homelessness and unemployment) are more likely to also suffer from ill health.
As alternative health care’s focus is on disease prevention and restoring the body’s natural balance, it is a strong tool for re-establishing and maintaining health in this population. One of Integrative Care Outreach’s primary goals is to establish onsite clinical services at social service centers for people experiencing homelessness and low income to help address this need.
Since the start of providing services in October 2000 through June 2010, Integrative Care Outreach has delivered 5,500 treatments to 1633 clients.
Transitioning to “Integrative Care Outreach”
In 2015, Alternative Health care Access Campaign celebrated its 15th year providing service to people experiencing homelessness in the Seattle area. In that time, we’ve served more than 3,000 clients, while also watching the nation’s health care model change.
Once known as “alternative,” the health care services we offer — including naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, and massage — are now better described as “integrative.”
Because of that major shift in the industry along with other internal changes within Alternative Health care Access Campaign, we are keeping the model of our nonprofit alive while changing its name to Integrative Care Outreach.
Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health is the most shocking and the most inhumane.
Martin Luther King Jr.
PO Box 31977, Seattle, Wa 98103