Providence partners with Tulalip Tribes to offer support to tribal members during medical care

Article by Monica Brown, photos by Brandi N. Montreuil

Tulalip Community RoomTULALIP, Wash.- Recently Providence Medical Center and Tulalip Tribes have been strengthening their relationship so that both may benefit; staff at Providence will have more knowledge about what tribal member’s needs are in times of crisis and tribal members will feel more at ease while in the their care.

The old surgery waiting room has been remolded and is designed to accommodate traditional practices when tribal members are hospitalized.   The new room called the Tulalip Community Room has been set-aside for tribal members to use and features a variety of sitting areas, a TV, phone, a small kitchenette, a computer with Internet access. The room also features elegantly carved art pieces by James Madison and Joe Gobin that decorate the walls,Tulalip Community Room and a large timeline of Tulalip Tribes history welcomes visitors as they walk in.

Tulalip Community Room is designed to provide comfort and privacy for family members and space to accommodate large gatherings.

“Especially in crisis time, all of our friends and family want to be there to give them [each other] a handshake, a hug. That’s how we are during crisis,” stated Don about the larger and quieter rooms.

Tribal member Dale Jones reads the Tulalip Tribes Past & Present timeline piece.
Tribal member Dale Jones reads the Tulalip Tribes Past & Present timeline piece.

Providence and Tulalip plan to meet every six months in order to address any underlying issues that may occur while tribal members are hospitalized.

“You’re an important and special part of our community,” said CEO of Providence Medical Center David Brooks. “I appreciate meeting here today and having open communications.”


Monica Brown: 360-716-4189;

Flu on the rise throughout Snohomish County

$30 to flu-proof an adult; $15 for a child – book a time at Snohomish Health District clinics 

Press Release, Snohomish Health District

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – The state Department of Health reports three flu-related deaths early in the flu season. Snohomish County hospitals also report an increase in flu admissions, up from 3 people hospitalized in November to 23 hospitalized during the month of December as of December 27.

“This is fair warning to everyone in the county that influenza is circulating in our community,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Health Officer and Director of the Snohomish Health District. “We have vaccine to help protect against the flu – and I advise you to take advantage of it by getting a shot.”

Washing hands and covering your coughs are effective ways to reduce spreading and getting diseases, and stay home if you are sick – but the best way to prevent flu is vaccination. All persons 6 months of age and older need an annual flu shot.

The vaccine is especially recommended for people who

  • are 6 months old — up to their 19th birthday
  • Note: Children age 6 months to 9 years receive two flu shots the first year they are vaccinated
  • are 50 years and older
  • are age 6 months and older with certain chronic health conditions
  • are pregnant and in any trimester
  • live in long-term care facilities
  • live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu
  • are health care personnel
  • are household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of infants age 0-6 months (who are too young to receive vaccine)

The Snohomish Health District is stocked with vaccine to protect you against the flu. The Vaccine For Children program has vaccine for children age 6 months through age 18 years. FluMist nasal spray is available for children age 2 years through 18 who are healthy and not pregnant. Vaccine also is widely available at private providers’ offices, pharmacies and other community locations listed at and

The cost for an adult flu shot at the Snohomish Health District is $30. A flu shot for a child costs $15. The Health District accepts payment by cash, check, VISA, MasterCard, Provider One (coupons), and Medicare for clients whose primary insurance is not with an HMO. Clients may apply for a reduced fee, based on income and household size.  Please call for an appointment.

Snohomish Health District clinic hours:

SHD Everett Immunization Clinic, 3020 Rucker Ave, Suite 108, Everett, WA 98201  425.339.5220 for an appointment: 8 a.m.- 4 p.m., Mon-Wed-Fri; closed on weekends & holidays

SHD Lynnwood Immunization Clinic, 6101 200th Ave SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036  425.775.3522 for an appointment: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tue-Thu; closed on weekends & holidays

Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. Find more information about the Health District at

FDA set to approve Genetically Engineered Salmon

Article by Monica Brown

The Food and Drug Administration has given their approval, pending a 60 day public debate, of the AquAdvantage Salmon developed by the Massachusetts based company Aquabouty Technology. The salmon was developed out of need from the growing human population which outweighs the current salmon population.

The AquAdvantage Salmon have been genetically engineered from Atlantic Chinook to grow at a faster rate on small amounts of food and are made specifically to be sterile females to help prevent reproducing with wild salmon. The idea behind the genetically engineered salmon (GES) to be female is a precaution to prevent escaped salmon from mingling with the wild salmon, had they been sterile males they would cause a disturbance in the spawning grounds by fighting over territory with male wild salmon. Although, Aquabounty has stated there is a slight chance that a small percentage of females may be fertile, but state the chance of them escaping to the wild are very slim.

According to FDA regulations, upon approval, the GES will be required to be grown in a physically contained system to prevent escape and at approved facilities only. When placed at the marketplace the GES will not be required to have any special labels or markings due to the fact that they are genetically the same as wild salmon and pose no threat for human consumption.

The imposition the GES will make on the environment and human diet is still dependent on the future consumption of the salmon.  As well as the impact it will make on the economy in the lives of Atlantic Fishermen. Since it is not clear yet how far the GES will be shipped, and we won’t be able to tell by labels or on restaurant menus, it prefer wild salmon to either fish for it yourself or get it from someone you know.

If you would like to comment on the Aquadvantage Salmon, the comment section for the 60 day public debate can be accessed here. Comments will be accepted until February 25, 2013!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0899-0003

Comments by others may be viewed here!docketDetail;D=FDA-2011-N-0899

EPA Awards $65,000 to the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma to Improve and Protect Its Water Quality

Release Date: 12/21/2012
Contact Information: Jennah Durant or Austin Vela, 214-665-2200 or

(DALLAS – December 21, 2012) The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma $65,000 to provide continued support for the tribe’s water pollution control program. The funds will be used to take samples to assess surface water quality on tribal lands, compile data which may show changes over time and determine if a more thorough watershed management program is needed. Sampling data will determine whether water quality standards are being met, note any changes in the quality or condition of the tribe’s water, and provide planning tools to improve the function and health of stream ecosystems.

The mission of the EPA is to protect public health and the environment. The EPA supports efforts to improve the quality of tribal land watersheds. This cooperative spirit supports work to protect water quality that ensures the health of watersheds that cross state and tribal boundaries.

Additional Information on EPA grants is available at

More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at

Winning the fight against tobacco and drugs, one step at a time


Tulalip Tribal members, William McLean III, Tisha McLean, and Angela Davis show their support at the Walk Against Tobacco and Drugs.

Article and photos by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington –  Tulalip Tribal members and community members joined together on December 19th for a walk to honor loved ones lost to tobacco and drug-related illness and to support the many efforts taking place to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, and raise awareness of the health impacts of using drugs.

The first annual “Walk Against Tobacco and Drugs, ” organized by Tulalip Tribal member Tisha McLean and friends, began at the Tulalip Longhouse and spanned almost 2 miles, finishing at the Northwest Indian College Tulalip site. Despite the cold and rain, people showed their support, sending the message that they care about each other and share in the common goal of saying no to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

“I am walking, in part, for my son who is an addict. He has the same problem as a lot of tribal members. I am a spiritual person and our ancestors are walking with us and they’re thankful that somebody’s paying attention to the problem we have. It doesn’t have to be leaders; it has to be our community, our kids that are here today. Tobacco is the leading killer, it tops alcohol and drugs,” said Tulalip Tribal Board Member, Marlin Fryberg.

“It’s truly an epidemic. We all care so much for everybody in our community and want to help everyone,” echoed Tulalip Tribal Board Member, Mark Hatch.

Halfway through the walk, community members where greeted by the Tulalip Police Department, who rallied together to show their support, offering warm beverages.

Wrapping up the event at Northwest Indian College, participants took in a visual display, created by Tulalip police officers, outlining the dangers of addiction. Community members also enjoyed a light lunch, while sharing stories of family members and friends who are addicted to drugs, and the affects this has on their loved ones.

“I have dealt with it my entire life. My parents were addicts, my dad got better, but my mom is still an addict. And I have siblings that followed in their footsteps,” said Tisha, who went on to say that tribal members need to take the first step in wanting help and that people such as herself want to help them embrace a healthy lifestyle and say “no” to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188;

Tulalip event encourages men to take better care of their health

Mel Sheldon, Chairman of Tulalip Tribes participated at the 4th Men’s Health Fair and gets his blood drawn to check  blood sugar levels with a Glucose Test
Tulalip Tribal Chairman Mel Sheldon gets his blood drawn, at the health fair,  to check blood sugar levels

Article and photos by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington – Men are much less likely than women to look after their health and see physicians. They’re 25 percent less likely to have visited a health-care provider in the past year, and almost 40 percent more likely to have skipped recommended cholesterol screenings, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

In an effort to lower these statistics at Tulalip and encourage men to seek preventative care, staff at the Karen I. Fryberg Tulalip Health Clinic coordinates a yearly event for men in the community to educate and promote health awareness and importance of regular check-ups. The Annual Men’s Health Fair pulled in a large crowd of tribal members, community members, and tribal employees on December 14th.

“This is the fourth year for our men’s health fair. We really wanted to touch base with our men to get them to take care of their health; it is so hard to get them in here for their annual visits. We provide prostate screenings, cholesterol screenings, diabetes checks, blood pressure checks, and dental screens,” said Jennie Fryberg, Health Informatics Manager for the clinic.

This fair is an excellent place for men to ask providers questions or concerns they may have to ensure wellness and general good health. The Tulalip clinic is working to get the word out that early intervention can make a huge difference when it comes to health and to stress. Some, like Tulalip Tribal Chairman, Mel Sheldon, Jr. have found the fair to be beneficial for early detection of cancer.

“I am so grateful that we are having this wellness fair for men. I encourage all our tribal men to participate in this annual health fair. It was but a few years ago that I came to one myself.  I took a blood test and my PSA was high.  I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and if it hadn’t been for the health fair, and the fact that we were able to catch it early enough, who knows what would have happened. What I learned from that experience was to come to the health fairs and take the tests they offer, because if you catch anything early enough, it’s usually treatable,” said Mel.

A number of informative booths at the fair, providing resources on topics that impact men’s health, such as nutrition, mental wellness, fitness, and flu shots were well received by community members.

“I am visiting to get information about nutrition. I’m thinking about changing my eating habits and getting back in shape,” said Tulalip Tribal member, Joseph Williams.

“What is so special about this health fair is that the men are the role models; they are the examples for the family. The more they learn about health, the more they can teach their children and can encourage their wives. They show leadership by taking care of their health,” said Veronica Leahy, Diabetes Prevention Coordinator.

Included in this successful day of men taking charge of their own health, is the raffle. Attendees that visited a minimum of 17 informational booths were entered into the raffle. Prizes like ab weights and even a chainsaw were up for grabs.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188;

Men’s Health Fair





By Monica Brown, Tulalip Tribes Communications Department

“It’s ideal,” said Tribal employee David Henson, “All men over 40 should come and get checked out.” Tulalip Health Clinic is hosting the Men’s Health Fair from 9am-3pm, today, Friday December 14th at the Tulalip Health Clinic. This year’s fair includes flu shots, information about keeping a healthy diets, tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and sustaining eye/dental health.

Snacks and refreshments are offered along with health screenings from Everest College to take blood pressure, height and weight while the Tulalip Health Clinic is offering free screenings for Diabetes, Prostate and Cholesterol.

The clinic will be closed during Health fair hours to patients seeking flu shots, Labs, X-rays and nurse visits but is open to patients with acute care.

Wellbriety Rocks!

Celebration of healthy living

Article and photos by Jeannie Briones

The Orca Ballroom at the Tulalip Resort Casino was filled with the sounds of music from the 50’s and 60’s, setting the tone to twist the night away and kick off the annual Wellbriety Rocks celebration on September 7th.

The evening was about celebrating sobriety, as family and friends listened to the success stories of boot camp and talking circle graduates.

“I went through boot camp in January, 2011; I was addicted to heroine and meth. I got one year and ninety three days, today, clean and sober,” said Tribal member Cyrina Williams. “If I can do it, I think anybody else who wants help can do it.”

“The healing [talking] circle, if they didn’t have that, I wouldn’t be here as far as I am now,” said Toniena Adams, Tribal member. Toniena says that the talking circle has also helped her granddaughter to realize her abilities through recovery.

Also on the evening’s agenda, Tulalip Behavioral Health introduced the new Aftercare Wraparound Recovery Extension Program (AWARE) program, while also bidding farewell to the Alternative Resource Management (ARM) boot camp program.

AWARE is replacing the ARM program, and offers after care services to help tribal members and their families maintain a healthy and drug-free life.

“The AWARE program is an extension of services for after care, so that we can begin to help our people learn how to live sober and clean; learn how to have fun and laugh and start connecting with each other so they are not alone,” said Helen Gobin-Henson, Aware Program Manager.

“We are going to do a new workshop called the ‘Real Workshop’ that will continue to teach our people about recovery tools, enabling, co-dependency, hard facts of drugs and alcohol, and how it’s killing our people,” continued Helen.

The evening was packed with exciting events that included hula hoop, twist dance, karaoke, and bubble gum blowing contests, along with a comedian and guest speakers. Tulalip Tribes General Manager, Sheryl Fryberg, won first place with her cool dance moves in the twist contest, and tribal member Pauline Jones placed first in the hula hoop contest. Cool prizes were given away throughout the event.

For more information on the AWARE Program or the Talking Circle, contact program manager Helen Gobin-Henson at 360-716-4022.

Health Clinic blessing in honor of Karen Fryberg

Karen Fryberg is presented with her certificate










Article and Photos by Sarah Miller

The sun was shining beautifully over Tulalip Bay as a crowd gathered outside of the health clinic to honor Karen Fryberg for her many years of hard work and dedication. The moment Karen arrives, you can feel the love in the room for her, as everyone applauds. She is humble and proud of all that she has accomplished and all those whom she’s helped.

A ceremony was held on August 30th to thank and recognize Karen for her many years of service to the health clinic as well as to officially rename the clinic the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic. Karen was commended for all the hard work she put into making the health clinic what it is today.

Karen started working for the health clinic 32 years ago in 1980. She started out in a small building and was able to build the health clinic into what it is today. Back then, the health clinic had four or five employees and now, it has over eighty. Karen has spent most of her life not only making sure that people had a place to go for their health, but keeping people healthy as well. Her friends and family came together to make it known that her work has been greatly appreciated.

“This is a great honor for my family,” said Jennie Fryberg, daughter of Karen. “It means a lot to us. My mom has worked hard to provide a beautiful place for this community.”

During the ceremony, amid the sound of drumming, Karen was presented with a certificate thanking her for her many years of service.

“She is a phenomenal woman,” Jennie continued. “She’s helped the community members out. She totally dedicated her life to health. I’m thankful for this opportunity to get this retirement dinner and blessing ready for my mother. I planned everything for her and I’m thankful that they put it in my hands to make it a great day for my mother.”

Once the drumming had finished, people took turns talking about how Karen has helped them and what she represent to them. Tearful, Karen smiles through it all.

It was in 1998 that plans were being made for the health clinic. Karen got to be a big part of the planning, as this was her vision. In 2003, the staff moved into their current location, which overlooks the bay. It has taken a lot to get this started but Karen was persistent. It was not only for her benefit, but the benefit of her family and her tribe.

“A lot of people will remember this place,” Chairman Mel Sheldon comments. “I know that at times, it may have seemed easy to get this going, and sometimes it seemed too far away. I thank Karen for all the men’s wellness days, because if it hadn’t been for that, I wouldn’t have found out I had prostate cancer. I was able to catch it early. She helped a lot of people. This is not the end of a journey; it’s the beginning of another. She has affected so many people, she has brought so many people together.”

Karen retired in May 2012 from her position as Community Health Director. Nowadays, she plans on doing some traveling with her husband and being with her kid and grandkids.

“When we first started, we had one nurse practitioner, an outreach nurse, receptionist and one alcohol counselor,” Karen fondly remembers. “At the time, I was overseeing Family Services and the health clinic. We had one exam room and a tiny waiting room. We wanted to provide health care because people were not getting health care. A lot of people weren’t getting immunizations or prenatal care. There were a lot of things that happened to try to change things and provide services here. Our main mission was to provide the best services we could, something they could call their own and be proud of. I feel like I have achieved my goal.”

Karen states that making the move to a bigger and better equipped health care center was her biggest achievement.

“It was my proudest moment, moving in here,” she continued. “I was so excited that we did it. I miss being a part of the clinic. That’s been really hard for me to let go with my job. I miss my second family. I feel blessed that I had a big part in this. I feel that if I didn’t stick with it, we wouldn’t have this. I think the whole clinic staff helped with this. It wasn’t just me that did the planning, we included everyone.”

Once the blessing ceremony concluded, everyone headed to the Tulalip Resort for a retirement dinner to celebrate Karen’s many years of service to the tribe. A big thank you to Karen Fryberg for all her endeavors in getting proper health care to her tribal community.

Let Move! in Indian Country

By Sarah Miller
Nowadays, it is hard to instill healthy choices in our children. Why cook a nutritious meal when fast food is so readily available? Why go outside and play with your children when it’s easier to set them in front of the television with a video game? We live in a fast paced world where people have a desire for quick and easy. While it makes life simpler, it can cause problems in the long run. By not encouraging your child to eat the right foods and exercise regularly, the child can start to put on too much weight. While no parent wants to deny their child what they want, they end up contributing accidentally to their child’s obesity. No one is perfect, but there is a way to start making mindful decisions about how much exercise your child gets and what they put in their body. The Let’s Move in Indian Country program is here to help!
Created by First Lady Michelle Obama, the Let’s Move program began in February 2010, with the intent to tackle the obesity problem in children in the United States. Over the past three decades, obesity rates have tripled. A majority of the increase in childhood obesity since 2004 has occurred in Native American and Alaska Native children. This prompted the First Lady to take measures to get these numbers down and to reduce risks such as diabetes and asthma in native children. In May of 2011, Let’s Move! In Indian Country, a program aimed specifically for combating the obesity problem in Native American children, began.
One in three children are overweight by the age of five in Indian Country, according to the Let’s Move website. This program is an initiative to solve the obesity problem within a generation. It will help children grow up healthier and teaches them to make wiser choices when it comes to what they eat and how they exercise.
The program looks to tribal communities and leaders to help set examples of proper diet and exercise for children. By doing this, Native children will grow, thrive and meet their potential. In addition, it reduces many health risks. Healthy eating, combined with proper exercise, can reduce health risks such as heart disease, cancer and strokes.
Let’s Move works by utilizing four main goals specifically designed for this program. The goals are creating a healthy start on life, developing healthy learning communities, increasing physical activities, and increasing access to affordable, healthy and traditional foods. For those interested, the Let’s Move! in Indian Country website has a variety of tools for parents and community members that help them make better lifestyle choices not only for their kids, but themselves as well.
At the Let’s Move! in Indian Country website,, parents are offered a way to look at how they can change the diet of their children. There are tips for setting up meal plans for your kids and it even offers traditional healthy recipes. While on the website you can also sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) challenge. PALA is not just for kids but adults too. This program requires you to maintain a healthy diet and exercise for six weeks. Adults are required to get thirty minutes of daily exercise for five days a week while kids are required to get sixty minutes of exercise a day. The challenge also helps you set up healthy eating goals. Visit the website to get signed up and to get more information on the challenge.
It may seem difficult to make these kinds of lifestyle changes, but there is help to be found at Tulalip. Sara Pattison, Dietician at the Karen Fryberg Health Clinic, offers insight on what kinds of foods to eat or shop for and how to plan meals. Her number is 360-716-5626. Also at the health clinic is Patrece Gates, Fitness Trainer. She can assist you with an exercise plan. And you can visit her fitness room to do a little exercising to see where you are physically and how much you can handle. Her number is 360-716-5643.
But that’s not it. Tulalip Youth Services has open gym at the Don Hatch Gym Greg Williams Court. With school starting, you can encourage your child to get into school sports. And don’t forget that all Tulalip tribal members have a free membership to the Marysville YMCA, where you can use the exercise equipment, take a yoga or zumba class, or even just swim around in the pool.
It’s a big lifestyle change that can seem scary and intimidating when it comes to a child, but it will benefit them in the long run. Just take it one step at a time and join in with their healthy lifestyle change.