Urban Indian Initiative

The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) is committed to improving the health outcomes of Urban American Indian and Alaska Native communities in Washington State. DOH's Urban Indian Initiative is the only one within the department focused on the health equity of Urban Indian Washingtonians. The initiative assists in building community capacity for long-term COVID-19 recovery and resilience to better position Washington's Urban Indian communities for future public health emergencies.

Under the Urban Indian Initiative, DOH has invested $4 million using a braided funding approach with five Urban Indian-serving organizations throughout the state. These organizations have projects aimed at reducing COVID-19-related health disparities. DOH has also partnered with the Seattle Indian Health Board to pilot a data equity project that promotes Indigenous health and data sovereignty.

Below is more information about our Urban Indian Initiative community partner organizations.

Attendees of the urban indian initiative listening session.

Pictured above is a photo from the Urban Indian Initiative Listening Session that occurred on June 7, 2024. Urban Indian Initiative partners convened to discuss their respective projects, community insights, and share recommendations to Executive DOH Leadership including Dr. Shah, Elizabeth Perez, and Kristopher Holiday.

Partner organizations 

Seattle Indian Health Board

Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) is developing a pilot project titled 'Data Equity for Indigenous Health' to improve the collection, reporting, and dissemination of COVID-19 surveillance data and other population health data using cloud technology. The objective of this data modernization project is to create a comprehensive informatics system that will bridge individual and population-level COVID-19 data to situate medical care within the broader social determinants of health, while also improving surveillance data available at the local level and building the data infrastructure for monitoring other chronic and infectious diseases in the future. 

Chief Seattle Club

Chief Seattle Club is a 501(c)(3) registered organization dedicated to physically and spiritually supporting American Indian and Alaska Native people. At its  Day Center in the Pioneer Square district of downtown Seattle, they provide food, primary health care, housing assistance, legal services, a Native art job training program, and opportunities for members to engage in cultural community-building.

Northwest Washington Indian Health Board — Bellingham

The Northwest Washington Indian Health Board (NWWIHB) is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation, incorporated in the State of Washington to offer public health support services to Native American communities in Northwest Washington State. The Indian Health Board’s mission is to provide public health service and health advocacy through health education, health assessment, and community health control and evaluation.

American Indian Community Center — Spokane

The American Indian Community Center (AICC) is a non-profit founded in 1967 as a social gathering place for American Indians and has since evolved into a multi-use service organization. The AICC’s mission is to provide comprehensive social and economic development services for all racial groups in our community encouraging individual and family self-sufficiency while protecting and preserving the cultures and traditions of Indian people.

American Indian Health Commission — Statewide

The American Indian Health Commission is a tribally-driven non-profit organization working on behalf of the 29 federally-recognized Indian tribes and two Urban Indian Health Organizations in the state of Washington. Its mission is to support and protect tribal sovereignty, and improve the health and cultural well-being of American Indians and Alaska Natives through convening, advocacy, public education, and technical assistance.


See also

DOH's Initiative to Address Health Disparities Across Washington State – Communities of Focus

Community Partner Page Resources – In partnership with over 200 community-rooted organizations, the Washington State Department of Health and Desautel Hege have compiled a bank of COVID-19 and public health resources, campaign materials and partner assets for use in community-driven public health outreach efforts.

Building Community Capacity for Equitable COVID-19 Recovery

COVID-19 Community-Driven Outreach program


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Julia Wilson-Peltier