Seattle Children’s will be opening a new Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC) adjacent to the Othello Link light rail station in the Rainier Valley. OBCC is a community clinic that provides medical, dental, mental health and nutrition services to all families, regardless of their ability to pay. OBCC has been committed to delivering equitable health and wellness care to lower-income and ethnically diverse children for nearly half a century. The clinic will be approximately 35,000 square feet to meet the wellness needs of the growing pediatric population in south Seattle and south King County.

With surging rents and rising housing prices leading to gentrification around Seattle’s urban core, the second location will be closer to the 75 percent of OBCC patient families who have moved from the Central District to south Seattle and south King County for more affordable housing.

The original OBCC, located in the Central District, will be renovated to upgrade its clinical facilities and maintain its cultural heritage in the community. The clinic will continue to serve families in the Central District and adjacent neighborhoods, as well as communities to the north and west.

“We heard the community when they told us it was too hard for them to get to our Yesler clinic. We’ve listened, and now we’re responding by meeting our families where they are,” said Dr. Benjamin Danielson, senior medical director of OBCC. “It’s not enough to patch a problem – treat a cold, give a vaccine, write a prescription. At OBCC, we believe in addressing the challenges that keep families awake at night – challenges that would bring most of us to our knees. One such problem is gentrification, which pushes lower-income families out of Seattle’s Central District, and away from the services that they need.”

Services at the Othello location will include pediatric medical care, mental health, dental services, nutrition, sports medicine, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. The clinic will also be part of a unique urban community concept called “Othello Square,” a 3.2 acre site that will provide families with convenient access to services, such as a charter high school, an economic opportunity center, a computer lab, an early learning center, affordable retail and commercial spaces for rent, community meeting spaces, and mixed-income housing for rent and ownership. Othello Square is designed to strengthen the local neighborhood – predominately composed of ethnically diverse families, immigrant and refugee communities and lower-income families.

“We’re dedicated to ensuring every child lives the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible,” said Dr. Jeff Sperring, Seattle Children’s chief executive officer. “The new clinic will allow us to provide a medical home for families in their community, where they can also access many other necessary services that will help address some of the greatest health challenges facing families today.”

Health outcomes for children living in poverty have not improved for decades. Rates of asthma, dental disease, obesity, and mental and behavioral health issues among lower-income children are rising as public funds for healthcare are dwindling. Seattle Children’s is designing a new one-of-a-kind research and innovation hub at OBCC where clinicians and researchers, and families in the community work together to develop strategies to address the early seeds of illness and counteract the challenges of living in poverty.

Families like Octaiviea Renee excitedly await the opening of the new clinic. She’s called OBCC her “medical home” for more than 36 years. As a child, it’s where her family took her for well-child visits and dental appointments. OBCC holds a special place in her heart.

“I truly believe OBCC chose me,” said Renee. “Who wouldn’t keep coming back to a space where healthcare professionals treat you like you are an extension of their family tree!”

Both of her daughters received care at OBCC as well. Just like Renee, they have been coming to the clinic since they were babies.

“Those of us who were fortunate enough to be able to be patients and then become the parents of patients, we see Odessa Brown as a sacred space,” said Renee. “It is the epicenter for learning how to care for and nurture happy, healthy children.”

For Renee, the new clinic means her nieces, who live in south Seattle, will have better access to care. It gives her peace of mind knowing they’ll receive care at a place that was built with their needs in mind.

The clinic is projected to break ground in 2019. Seattle Children’s will collaborate with Spectrum Development Solutions, their architects Weber Thompson, and OBCC’s architect NBBJ to develop and build the second site. The funds for the clinic will be raised as part of It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s – the largest campaign in Seattle Children’s 111-year history with a bold vision to transform children’s health.