Renton clinic offers healthcare and social services to underserved communities

POCAAN aims to offer preventative healthcare, mental health services and at-risk support all at once

A first of its kind health clinic has opened up in Renton to provide disadvantaged and underserved groups with comprehensive health and social services.

POCAAN, which stands for People Of Color Against AIDS Network, has opened a new clinic and service center at 901 Rainier Ave. N. in Renton.

The clinic focuses on the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities that are often underserved or may have a distrust of the health care system in general.

African Americans represent 7% of the population in Seattle and King County, but constitute 20% of those living with HIV infection. The Latinx community represents 8% of the population living in Seattle and 9% of the population in King County, but represents 14% of those living with HIV infection, according to POCAAN.

Christopher Porter, a clinic spokesperson, said the location for this clinic was chosen after surveys and studies found South King County and the region around Renton have the highest need for their services — especially as increasing housing costs in the Seattle area cause the displacement of families and individuals into South King County.

The clinic provides preventative care through checkup evaluation, lab testing for sexually transmissible diseases and needle-borne infections, and can even get prescriptions for patients before they leave the clinic.

They also utilize a telehealth conference web camera that can virtually connect patients with a physician.

The location also includes a team of social service providers that work on a case-by-case basis to divert families and individuals away from or out of homelessness.

Tracy Brown, Reese Abram and JaJuan Couch work as part of the Best Starts for Kids program, which allows them to provide tutoring, mentorship, case management and even mediation with landlords to negotiate rent payment plans to do everything in their power to support struggling families and youth.

The clinic’s lobby even has desktop computer resources so people without access can use them for career development and other resources.

Abram said as a team they “meet [clients] wherever they are,” and approach each individual’s situation in the best way for them and their families. She said often the work is difficult, but seeing people succeed is extremely rewarding for the team.

Thanks to funding from a levy, POCAAN was able to procure a large van for their Senior Mobile Medical program in which social service and healthcare providers can directly go to senior centers and provide their services.