Patient Portal

SIHB History and Timeline


The Seattle Indian Health Board incorporates as a nonprofit. With an all-volunteer staff, SIHB begins to provide health services three evenings a week in donated space at the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Hospital on north Beacon Hill. 


The PHS Hospital offers use of its dental facility during evening hours. The American Jewish Committee recruits volunteer dentists, and SIHB's dental clinic begins operation. Funding from the Washington State Office of Economic Opportunity enables SIHB to hire a director, planner and a secretary. Bernie Whitebear becomes the agency's first Executive Director. 


A physician, nurse and dentist are hired. In September, an outpatient alcoholism treatment program is created by Indians in recovery. 


Medical services and substance abuse counseling are available five days per week. SIHB employs 39 staff members. Family planning outreach services expand. Additional clinic space is made available by the PHS Hospital to accommodate a growing number of patients. 


Staff increases to 86 and registered patients number more than 12,000. A 24-hour on-call service is implemented. Well-child screenings begin, and WIC services (Women, Infants, and Children’s food supplement/nutritional program) begin operation. Thunderbird Fellowship House, a 15-bed residential alcoholism treatment program, opens. SIHB establishes a training program for Indian mid-level practitioners and adopts a sliding scale fee-payment system for patients. Third-party billing is implemented. 


The annual budget exceeds $1 million. 


Thunderbird Fellowship House relocates to a larger facility, increasing size to 46 residential treatment beds. King County opens Cedar Hills, an intensive, inpatient alcoholism treatment program. A 44-bed wing for Indian patients is named after SIHB Alcoholism Director, Ernie Turner. SIHB begins a mental health counseling program. The perinatal service, including hospital deliveries, is established. 


Nursing outreach services for the elderly begin. Training of Indian health professionals expands with the Indian Mental Health Practitioner Training Program. 


SIHB implements the Indian Health Career Opportunity Program. 


Youth alcoholism prevention services are developed, including a summer alcohol-education and camping experience for Indian youths. An optometry clinic opens in cooperation with Pacific Lutheran University College of Optometry. A demonstration project, the Community Food and Nutritional Program, teaches the gathering and preparation of traditional Northwest Indian foods. The ORCA Cookbook is published and distributed. 


SIHB implements the Indian Health Career Opportunity Program. 


Federal policy changes threaten funding for urban Indian clinics nationally. Locally, severe funding cutbacks cause the loss of nearly half the agency's operations. Closure of the U.S. PHS Hospital threatens to eliminate a primary source of inpatient and specialty care for SIHB patients. 


The "Coalition to Save SIHB" advocates continued health services for the urban Indian population. Seattle leads the way to save health care for urban Indians nationally. SIHB's funding sources remain, though at significantly reduced levels. SIHB inpatient and specialty referrals continue at Pacific Medical Center (previously the U.S. PHS). 


Mental health services expand with the addition of a culturally relevant minority services program. Efforts begin to find a single facility to house all SIHB outpatient operations, which are scattered in four different locations. 


SIHB implements a Hepatitis B Screening Program for Alaska Natives in the Seattle area. Inpatient treatment for alcoholism incorporate "intensive" services and Thunderbird House opens a satellite medical clinic. With Seattle University, SIHB hosts the 1st Annual Indian Alcohol seminar and the slogan, "Breaking the Cycle of Addiction." SIHB conducts the 1st Annual Sobriety Powwow. 


SIHB is the first urban Indian organization in the U.S. to be accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). A needs assessment finds that SIHB serves 80% of the King County Indian population. 


SIHB leases a residential facility and relocates Thunderbird Treatment Center, increasing the facility’s capacity to 96 beds. Thunderbird now provides adolescent alcohol/drug treatment for up to 10 teens. 


SIHB consolidates all outpatient services at Leschi Center, a newly constructed complex for the Indian community. SIHB begins an AIDS education, prevention and outreach campaign. SIHB kicks off the capital campaign to purchase the Thunderbird Treatment Center. 


SIHB is the first urban Indian site to receive an IHS dentist placement. 


GAINS, Giving American Indians No Smoking Strategies, is brought to SIHB and Seattle by the American Indian Health Care Association. The SIHB lab becomes state-licensed and certified. 


SIHB reorganizes, creating Physical Health, Behavioral Health and Community Health. Intensive, domestic-violence case management services added to mental health program. 


Agency hires Traditional Health Liaison. IHB and United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (UIATF) collaborate to pursue a grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) on alcohol/substance abuse prevention (Healthy Nations). RWJF awards Healthy Nations grants to 15 Indian organizations, including SIHB. 


Family Practice Residency Program begins, in cooperation with Providence Medical Center. Administration and fiscal services move to Pearl Warren Building. SIHB's 25th Anniversary committee is formed and plans events throughout the year. 


SIHB implements the Healthy Nations program and organizes the 1st Annual SpiritWalk, mobilizing volunteers and 500 walkers. SIHB is designated as a priority site for state loan repayment program for health professionals. 


SIHB establishes a Teen Health Clinic at American Indian Heritage School. Human Resources department expands and adds employee support systems. 


SIHB's first two Family Practice Residents graduate and are honored June 20, 1997, at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center in Discovery Park. SIHB's site director of the Family Practice Residency program is named Physician of the Year by the Association of American Indian Physicians.

SIHB's Medical Director receives 1st Annual Peter A. Talbot Award for Excellence in Teaching from SIHB residents. SIHB opens the Technology Access Center in the Pearl Warren Building. SIHB and Microsoft Corp. host the 1st Annual Microsoft Powwow in Redmond to honor Healthy Nations participants in the Microsoft Mentoring Program.

Offices and clinics are renovated to improve patient care and ease of access and staff accommodations. Managed care network contracts expand. SIHB remains the only fee-for-service provider in the Community Health Plan. 


SIHB renovates clinic, divides service into urgent-care and appointed-care program. SIHB fetes its first executive, Bernie Whitebear, and commissions art work in his honor. 


SIHB Board of Directors considers long range goals and objectives. 5th Annual SpiritWalk held in June at Seattle Center. 


The SIHB created the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI).


Seattle Indian Health Board Celebrates it's 30th Anniversary with 3 major activities.


SIHB renovates clinic and installs an elevator in Leschi. NIH Program - Journey of the Circle begins.


SIHB established the Elder Care Program. Adolescent program changed to Out-Patient Program.


SIHB authorizes accreditation review to be changed from JACHO to Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). AAAHC recognition signifies that the health care services we provide meet or exceed national standards. SIHB adopts 5-year Strategic Plan.


Remodeling of Pharmacy begins.