Alex M. Jackson, Alison Poulsen Appointed to HSSA Board of Directors



SPOKANE, Wash. – The Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County announced that two new members recently were appointed to its Board.

Alex M. Jackson, Senior Vice President, Inland Northwest Region, MultiCare Health System, and Alison Poulsen, Executive Director, Better Health Together have both been appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to four year terms.

Alex Jackson has worked in the health care industry for 25 years, first in Oregon and now Washington. He has held a variety of leadership roles including as a hospital Chief Executive as well as a medical group President. He now leads the MultiCare Health System Inland Northwest Region that includes Deaconess Medical Center and Valley hospitals, as well as a 300-person medical group, Rockwood Clinic. With an annual revenue of $700 million and 4,000 employees, MultiCare Inland Northwest is celebrating five years of meeting the health care needs in the region. See www.multicare.org.

Allison Poulsen moved from Seattle to Spokane in 2014 to join Better Health Together, established by Empire Health Foundation, to lead a team of problem solvers committed to radically improving the region’s health. Better Health Together is a community-based non-profit organization serving seven counties, including Spokane. BHT advocates for policies centered on accountability, accessibility, and affordability. It disrupts the status quo by facilitating conversations and partnerships that level the playing field for community health throughout its region. Alison has led several non-profits in the northwest including NPower NW, Seattle Works, Volunteer Works and the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce. She currently as a board member of the Washington State School Employee Benefit Board and Washington’s 211 Board. See www.betterhealthtogether.org.

About HSSA’s Board:

HSSA Board members include Jason Thackston, Board Chair, Senior VP, Chief Strategy & Clean Air Officer, Avista Corp.; Daryll DeWald, Ph.D, VP WSU Health Sciences and Chancellor, WSU Spokane; Allison Glasunow, Ph,D & Counsel, Perkins Coie LLP; Alex Jackson, Senior VP & CEO, Northwest Region, MultiCare Health Systems; Kevin Oldenburg, Ph.D. CEO/President, 2nd Sight Bioscience; Alison Poulsen, Executive Director, Better Health Together; Darryl Potyk, M.D., UW/GU Regional Director of Medical Education; David J. Vachon, Ph.D, CEO/Founder, Iasis Molecular Sciences, and Francisco Velazquez, M.D., Director, Spokane Regional Health District.

For More Information: The mission of HSSA is to invest funds to create and support a nationally competitive health sciences research cluster in Spokane County, and to increase access to health care. HSSA works collaboratively with community partners to catalyze higher education research and the health sciences industry to lead to higher wage jobs, long-term sustainability and economic diversification. For more information, visit our website at www.hssaspokane.org, or contact Susan Ashe, Executive Director, at 509.995.8356 or susan@hssaspokane.org.

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Erin Williams Hueter New HSSA Executive Director

The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County announced that it has hired Erin Williams Hueter as its Executive Director, effective January 1, 2023. She replaces Susan Ashe who has served in this role since the organization was created.

“We are extremely pleased that Erin will be joining HSSA and will provide strategic leadership that, with our Board, will lead us into our next phase of operation,” said Jason Thackston, HSSA Board Chair. “Erin has an outstanding reputation in her career as the Inland Northwest Director of Lutheran Community Services Northwest.”

Williams Hueter has been working in human services and violence prevention since the mid-1990s, and has been involved in the innovative training recovery work at Lutheran Commumnity Services Northwest, most recently as its Director. She has a bachelor’s of arts degree from Pacific University, with a major in Social Work. She is a graduate of the Leadership Spokane program, and has received many honors for achievements in her field.

“The HSSA Board also is very grateful for Susan Ashe’s incredible commitment to HSSA since its inception and to our greater Spokane community,” said Thackston. “Her contributions to Spokane are numerous throughout her career in both private and public organizations, and the community has been served well. Susan has set a strong foundation for HSSA and we are confident that Erin will continue that great work.”

During her tenure, HSSA has invested nearly $14 million in research to both private and academic companies and institutions, and supported innovative and affordable health care in Spokane County. HSSA has created hundreds of direct and indirect jobs, assisted bringing over $50 million dollars of extramural funding (new dollars to our local economy), and created over $100 million in total economic activity. In addition, HSSA assists start-up health and life sciences companies with grant-writing funds.

Erin Williams Hueter was hired after a search conducted by both HSSA Board and community members. The Search Committee was led by Attorney Nancy Isserlis, former HSSA Board Chair, David Vachon, CEO/Founder, Iasis Molecular Sciences and Dr. Francisco Velázquez, Spokane Regional Health District Director, both members of the HSSA Board; and, Kim Pearman-Gillman, Senior Vice President, Numerica Credit Union, and Marcelo Morales, CEO/President, Allele Diagnostics and current Chair of Greater Spokane Incorporated, both community leaders.

Questions may be referred to Susan Ashe at susan@hssaspokane.org.

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HSSA BOARD MEMBERS

HSSA Board members include Jason Thackston, Board Chair, Senior VP, Chief Strategy & Clean Energy Officer, Avista Corp.; Daryll DeWald, Ph.D., VP WSU Health Sciences and Chancellor, WSU Spokane; Allison Glasunow, Ph.D. & Counsel, Perkins Coie LLP; Alex Jackson, Senior VP & CEO, Northwest Region, MultiCare Health Systems; Kevin Oldenburg, Ph.D. CEO/President, 2nd Sight Bioscience; Alison Poulsen, Executive Director, Better Health Together; Darryl Potyk, M.D., UW/GU Regional Director of Medical Education; David J. Vachon, Ph.D., CEO/Founder, Iasis Molecular Sciences, and Francisco Velazquez, M.D., Director, Spokane Regional Health District.


HSSA Special Board Meeting called for Oct. 31st at 11 AM

HSSA's Board has announced a Special Board Meeting for Monday, October 31, 2022 at 11 AM via Zoom. The sole purpose of the meeting is to appoint a new Executive Director.

If you wish to attend the call, please contact HSSA at susan@hssaspokane.org or call 509.995.8356.

HSSA Announces $475,000 Annual "Access to Care" Grant Competition

The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced an increase to $475,000 for its 2023 annual “Access to Care” grant competition for non-profit and other organizations. This grant competition seeks applicants who provide innovative and efficient health service delivery that increases access to health care for at-risk populations.

The HSSA 2023 Access to Care Grant Competition will award up to $475,000 for one or more grants that durably increase the efficiency and quality of health delivery in Spokane County that measurably increases access to care for certain populations.

““HSSA has invested just over $4 million in annual Access to Care grants to promote public health in this annual request for proposals, which is part of its mission,” said Jason Thackston, HSSA Board Chair. “HSSA funds have served children suffering abuse, provided prescribed pharmaceuticals to those who could not afford them, helped build dental and medical service capacity, provided Covid-19 relief, and helped fund mental and behavioral health needs, all through organizations who provide the actual service.

Here are key dates related to HSSA’s 2023 Access to Care grants:

RFP posted at: October 3, 2022

Letter of Intent due by noon: October 24, 2022

Final Proposal due by 4PM: November 14 2022

Awards Announced: December 21, 2022

Some past recipients have included a successful program by Catholic Charities’ and the Empire Health Foundation called “Rising Strong”; Partners with Families and Children; Volunteers of America’s “Hot Spotters”; Spokane Prescription Assistance Network; Spokane Neighborhood Action Plan (SPAN); Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition, Priority Spokane; Northeast Community Center’s Medical and Dental operations and youth counseling; Pioneer Human Services; YWCA mental health initiative, CHAS East Central Dental, Providence Dental NE operatories, Providence Charity Clinic, and others.

Applicants should submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) on the HSSA website at www.hssaspokane.org under the Grants tab. HSSA will provide a link to successful Applicants to use to submit a Final Proposal. HSSA will coordinate with Applicants directly, if required. If the LOI is selected, a Final Proposal is due by 4 pm. November 14, 2022. In this Final Proposal, Applicants who have previously been funded by HSSA should list positive major outcomes from previous grants. If questions, contact susan@hssapokane.org, or call 509.474.0798

HSSA Board Meeting Dates Updated

The HSSA Board will meet Thursday, Sept. 29, 2020 at 2 PM in a special board meeting (out of published schedule) to address three potential funding matters: a matching research grant request from Photon Biosciences LLC, to approve a total amount for HSSA's 2023 "Access to Care" Grant, and to consider funding for the Spokane Life Sciences Asset and Landscape Study. No other matters will be considered. The meeting will be on Zoom. If you are interested in participating, please contact susan@hssaspokane.org.

The Board next meets on October 26, 2022 at 3 PM. Details to follow.

Avista Promotes Jason Thackston

HSSA's Board Chair Jason Thackston has been appointed to Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy and Clean Energy Officer, as Avista Corp announced several executive appointments. CEO Dennis Vermillion said, "I could not be more excited to announce these appointments. These individuals are transformative leaders who know Avista and the utility industry inside and out. I have the utmost confidence in their abilities and firmly believe this change will benefit Avista's employees, customers and other stakeholders in numerous ways."

HSSA Executive Director Ashe to Retire

HSSA Executive Director Ashe to Retire

Replacement Search Begins Immediately

Spokane, WA – The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County announced that its long-time Executive Director Susan Ashe will retire this year. A committee has been formed to begin the search for HSSA’s next Executive Director. Former Board Chair Nancy Isserlis will lead the search committee, and more details about the position and process are forthcoming.

“The HSSA board is grateful for Susan’s incredible commitment to our greater Spokane community,” said Jason Thackston, HSSA Board Chair. “Her contributions to Spokane are numerous throughout her career in both private and public local organizations, and the Spokane community has been served well. Susan has set a strong foundation for HSSA as we seek an Executive Director who will continue that great work.”

Ashe, the founder and CEO of Ashe Public Affairs, was hired following a consultancy as an “Acting” Executive Director when the HSSA was created by the state and county and formed in early 2009. She established the organization in the community and created its initial health sciences research programs and process for grants, the first of which were issued in May 2009. In 2012, after a public search, Ashe was hired as Executive Director. Ashe led the reauthorization of the HSSA by the Washington Legislature in 2019 for an additional 15 years beginning in 2023.

During her tenure, HSSA invested over $8 million in research and infrastructure grant investments in Spokane County. Additionally, HSSA has invested nearly $4 million in its annual “Access to Care” grants to promote public health, including public health during early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. HSSA has created hundreds of direct and indirect jobs, assisted bringing to Spokane millions of dollars of extramural grant funding, and created over $100 million in total economic activity. In addition, HSSA assists start-up health and life sciences companies with grant-writing funds.

Susan Ashe served Spokane in major public affairs positions over 45 years, including at Kaiser Aluminum for 24 years as Regional Public Affairs Manager. In addition to government affairs, Ashe provided strategic communications and media activities related to the company’s operations in the region. She successfully led a community team to ensure the EPA’s proposed PM-10 air quality non-attainment proposal recognized the impact of airborne dust from west of the city that saved millions of dollars and improved air quality, northwest energy matters, day-to-day communications/media support to the three major plants in Spokane and Tacoma, and during a two-year labor dispute.

In 2003, Ashe was hired by then Mayor John Powers to serve in his administration in government and public affairs. She served four mayors – Powers, West, Hession and Verner -- over nearly six years. Notable accomplishments include passing a $117 million street bond to address Spokane’s street maintenance needs at that time, and raising nearly $125 million in state and federal grants for many projects in the community, including completing the Monroe and Freya streets bridge repairs, Fish Lake Trail, movement of Trent Avenue through the University District and renaming it Spokane Falls Boulevard, funding the extension of gigapop high-speed broadband from Seattle to Spokane, and design money for the new pedestrian bridge connecting WSU property on the main campus over the railroad to the southside where the Catalyst Building and other valuable projects have developed.

Questions about the HSSA Executive Director position may be referred to Susan Ashe at susan@hssaspokane.org. Additional information from the Search Committee will be forthcoming.

HSSA Board members include Jason Thackston, Board Chair, Senior VP Energy Resources, Avista Corp.; Carla Cicero, President/CEO, Numerica Credit Union; Daryll DeWald, Ph.D, VP WSU Health Sciences and Chancellor, WSU Spokane; Allison Glasunow, Ph,D & Attorney, Director, Patent Counsel, Sana Biotechnology Inc.; Kevin Oldenburg, Ph.D. CEO/President, 2nd Sight Bioscience; Darryl Potyk, M.D., UW/GU Regional Director of Medical Education; David J. Vachon, Ph.D, CEO/Founder, Iasis Molecular Sciences, Francisco Velazquez, M.D., Director, Spokane Regional Health District, and Mike Wilson, Consultant and former Providence Health CEO.

Iasis Molecular Sciences Awarded $1.25 Million for Antimicrobial Catheter

Local company Iasis Molecular Sciences Corporation (ISMC) has been awarded $1.25 Million by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program's Spinal Cord Injury Research Program.

The grant will allow Iasis to manufacture and validate Iasis' novel composite silicone rubber catheter for regulatory submission. The catheter is wholly antimicrobial (tip, balloon, main body) which sets it apart from today's products that rely on antimicrobial coatings, said David Vachon, ISMC CEO.

This funding aligns with and extends the development of IMSC's model materials platform and complements recent awards from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at NIH ($225,000) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ($225,000). HSSA also has provided financial grants to Iasis.

HSSA Awards 7 Local Organizations Nearly $325,000 in Access to Care Grants


The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced the organizations who will receive $324,865 in total grants in 2022 for the important access to health care work they do. HSSA said it received well over $750,000 in grant requests for its annual Access to Care grants.

The Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS) will receive a $50,000 grant from HSSA for its new “Street Medicine” program. campus in a neighborhood where no dentists currently provide services.

Daybreak Services of Spokane will receive $23,000 to help fund its Restorative Receiving Center for sexually exploited youth who are victims of sex trafficking, childhood prostitution and other related crimes.

Partners with Families and Children will receive $85,000 in 2022 to help it continue to meet the growing needs of found at its Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) where our community’s most vulnerable population, children who are victims of physical and/or sexual abuse, receive services.

HSSA will grant Pioneer Human Services $20,000 to address mounting substance abuse in Spokane County at its Pioneer Center East facility in downtown. Spokane County has twice the methamphetamine-involved overdose deaths as King County with five times more populace, Pioneer claims.

Providence Health Care Foundation will receive $86,865 to fund a mid-level primary family nurse for homeless adolescents for one year.

Spokane Prescription Assistance Network will receive $30,000. It is one of the most cost-effective programs HSSA funds with a 27 to 1 return on investment.

Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition was awarded $30,000 to help fund expansion of the SRDVC’s education and services to 13 school districts in the region.

“HSSA’s mission includes increasing access to care through innovative and collaborative health care delivery in Spokane, in addition to funding scientific research and infrastructure to grow the life sciences industry in the County” saidJason Thackston, HSSA Board Chair.

HSSA’s grant competition helps to meet one of its strategic goals to increase access to health services in Spokane County for at risk populations and represents a fund of about 15 percent of annual revenues designated for this purpose.

“To date we have awarded over $2.9 million in this category, providing resources to those organizations in our County who do the important work with people who might otherwise not receive health care services, and HSSA’s Access to Care grant program also helps decrease costs while improving health care services,” Thackston said.

HSSA’s other strategic initiative is to increase local health sciences research and the infrastructure that supports it and designates 75 percent of its revenues for that purpose. In the latter case, the grants are open year-round for proposals at any time, and HSSA has invested over $6 million in health science research and infrastructure grants to date. HSSA was successful in achieving reauthorization for 15 years in the last legislative session, thanks to local legislative leadership and local partners, Thackston said.

Together with its Access to Care grants, the organization estimates that it has created over 500 jobs and over $100 million in total economic activity. This includes well over $35 million in extramural federal grant funding to Spokane. More information about all HSSA grants may be found at www.hssaspokane.org.

HSSA Seeks Consultant Accountant/Bookkeeper

HSSA is seeking a part-time consultant Accountant/Bookkeeper to handle its accounting, payroll and financial reports needs. The HSSA's funds sit in the Spokane County Investment Pool (SCIP) from which HSSA draws its funds for grants payable and operating expenses.

HSSA was established in 2017 for 15 years by the Washington State Legislature and authorized to operate in Spokane County. The Legislature reauthorized HSSA for an additional 15 years beginning next year. Its mission is to invest in health sciences research to promote economic development, and public health.

If you are interested, please send your resume to susan@hssaspokane.org.

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