Numerica CEO Carla Cicero Joins HSSA Board

The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced that Carla Cicero, Numerica Credit Union Chief Executive Officer, has been appointed to the HSSA Board of Directors by Washington Governor Jay Inslee.

“We are very pleased to have a board member of Carla’s executive leadership experience and integrity join our board,” said Jason Thackston, HSSA Board Chair and Senior Vice President, Avista Energy Resources.

Cicero will serve the remaining term of former Board Chair Nancy Isserlis, effective June 15, 2021, through Oct. 14, 202after which she may be appointed for a full four-year term..

“I am honored to be appointed by Gov. Inslee to join the HSSA board,” Cicero said. “Working in partnership with local research, medical, and community leaders, we will further groundbreaking life and health sciences research in Spokane.”

Cicero is president and CEO of Numerica Credit Union, a financial institution with $3.2 billion in assets serving over 160,000 members. In addition to her role at Numerica, Cicero serves on the Greater Spokane Incorporated executive committee and Rosauers Supermarkets board of directors. She also is a board member for the World Council of Credit Unions.

Cicero joins HSSA Board Chair Thackston and other Board members Mike Wilson, Grants Chair, Allison Glasunow, Finance Chair, Daryll DeWald, Ph.D., Kevin Oldenburg, Ph.D., Darryl Potyk, M.D., David Vachon, Ph,D. and Francisco Velasquez, M.D.

​HSSA Announces Awards for its 2021 “Access to Care” Grant

Just in time for Christmas, HSSA's Board announces its 2021 Access to Care grant recipients. They are Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington ($19,250), Partners with Families and Children ($42,500), Spokane Prescription Assistant Network ($30,000), Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition ($29,250), and YWCA Spokane ($29,000).

The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced the organizations who will receive $150,000 in total grants in 2020 for the important access to health care work they do. HSSA said it received well over $780,000 in grant requests for its annual Access to Care grant, the highest amount ever requested.

HSSA also contributed $240,000 in March of this year for Covid-19 Relief grants to assist immediate needs related to the pandemic.

Following are the recipients of HSSA Access to Care grants for 2021:

Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington will receive a grant of $19,250 to for its Integrated Health Screening in Supportive Housing program. (Rob McCann, CEO, 509.358.4272).

Partners with Families and Children will receive $42,500 in 2021 to help it continue to meet the growing needs of our community’s most vulnerable population, children who are victims of physical and/or sexual abuse. (Carol Plischke, Executive Director, 509.473.4832).

Spokane Prescription Assistance Network will receive $30,000. It is one of the most cost-effective programs HSSA funds with a 18:1 return on investment. (Kelly Armstrong, MSW, 509.981.6420)

Spokane Regional Domestic Violence Coalition will receive $29,250 to support effort to coalesce educational outreach and marketing on the subject of domestic violence. (Annie Murphey, 509.481.3522).

YWCA Spokane will receive from HSSA $29,000 of bridge funding for one year to maintain tele-heath infrastructure for electronic medical record and billing services, and to sustain a HIPAA-compliant Zoom platform, and purchase four laptops. (Jeanette Hauck, CEO, 509.789.9302).

“HSSA’s mission includes increasing access to care through innovative and collaborative health care delivery that serves Spokane County citizens, in addition to funding scientific research and infrastructure to grow the life sciences industry in Spokane,” said Nancy L. Isserlis, 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. Funds amounting to $240,000 were provided early this year for immediate Covid-19 relief.

“HSSA provides resources to those organizations in our County who do the important work with people who might otherwise not receive health care services,” Isserlis said. “HSSA’s Access to Care grant program also helps fund solutions to particularly difficult complex health problems,” Isserlis 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 research grants are open year-round for proposals at any time, and HSSA has invested over $5 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, Isserlis 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.

HSSA Sponsors LSWI Fall Grant Writing Boot Camps

The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) invests more than $32 billion annually in medical research to enhance life and to reduce illness and disability. NIH-funded research has led to breakthroughs and new treatments, helping people live longer, healthier lives, and building the research foundation that drives discovery.

BBC Entrepreneurial Training Center’s live Virtual Classroom has a full-day overview of the NIH SBIR/STTR grant program. In addition to up-to-date information on the SBIR/STTR programs, we’ll take a deep dive into the The Nuts and Bolts of the NIH, How to Prepare a Budget for SBIR/STTR Proposals, and the Essentials of Commercialization. This Virtual Classroom features activities and regular interaction between speakers and participants. Get your questions ready!

Visit the Life Science Washington Institute site for more information.

HSSA Announces Special Board Meeting Oct. 1

The HSSA Board is holding a Special Board Meeting on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 9:30 AM. The subject of the meeting is one item, a proposal by Life Science Washington Institute (LSWI) to fund two upcoming SBIR/STTR training workshops. If you are interested in attending by Zoom, contact HSSA at

HSSA Announces $150,000 “Access to Care” Grant Competition

The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced its annual “Access to Care” grant competition for $150,000 for non-profit and other organizations is open for 2021 grants.

This is in addition to $240,000 in COVID-19 relief grants made by HSSA earlier this year, for $390,000 in total grants in 2020.

The HSSA Access to Care Grant Competition will award up to $150,000 in 2021 for one or more grants that increase the efficiency and efficacy of health delivery in Spokane County that measurably increases access to care for certain populations.

“HSSA’s mission is to invest in life and health sciences research and infrastructure, and to promote economic development and growth,” said Nancy L. Isserlis, Board Chair. “HSSA also invests in Access to Care grants to promote public health, which is this annual grant competition, and it also provided $240,000 in early 2020 to assist with COVID-19 needs in our community,” she said, “for a total of $390,000 in 2020 grants.”

Here are key dates related to HSSA’s 2021 Access to Care grants:

RFP posted at: September 23, 2020

Letter of Intent (LOI) due by 12 noon October 16, 2020

Final Proposal due by 4PM: November 16, 2020

Awards Announced: December 21, 2020

Applicants should submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) on the HSSA website at 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 an applicant’s LOI is selected, a Final Proposal would be due by November 16, 2020. In this Final Proposal, Applicants who have previously been funded by HSSA should list positive major outcomes from previous grants.

The Access to Care grant should not be confused with HSSA research grants in human capacity and infrastructure, small business SBIR/STTR matching grants, or innovative health care delivery grants. HSSA research grants are open year-round for application, and information about these grants also may be found on HSSA’s website.,

Allele Diagnostics, Photon Biosciences Receive $765,092 in HSSA Grants

Allele Diagnostics, Photon Biosciences Receive $765,092 in HSSA Grants

Allele Diagnostics is the first local research company that has gone full circle within the Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County’s granting processes. It just received an HSSA SBIR Phase II matching grant of $500,000 last week related to Allele’s gene-centric rapid diagnostics assay. Prior to this grant, Allele had received a matching SBIR Phase I HSSA grant of $221,840 and started with a $5,000 grant-writing award.

“Allele Diagnostics is pleased to be partnered with the HSSA on this opportunity,” said Marcelo Morales, Allele Diagnostics’ Founder and CEO. “Allele Dx is committed to growing our presence in Spokane with the addition of exceptional talent that can further our vision of developing novel and innovative genetic diagnostics assays.

“HSSA is a key partner of the Spokane life sciences community and Allele Dx is thrilled to work together in advancing Spokane’s health care ecosystem,” Morales said. With the matching HSSA grant Allele Dx will have a final assay design, including probe design, software tools and implementation of laboratory methods to improve efficiency.

HSSA also granted a matching SBIR Phase I grant to Photon Biosciences LLC of $265,092 for its “Ultra-Sensitive Rapid Test for Detecting Bacterial Contamination in Platelets”. Photon also received earlier stage funding of $135,000 from HSSA.

“We believe that PBS technology will be a game-changer in the area of fluorescent probes for imaging and detection of analytes with an accuracy not possible with alternate methods,” said Chandima Bandaranayaka, Photon Biosciences CEO.

“The funding from HSSA will help us introduce our technology to solve other problems in the health care industry.” The outcome of the HSSA grant is that it allows Photon to hire and grow the company in Spokane, fully develop its PBS Microarray platform using PBS technology, apply for an SBIR Phase 11 grant and create a Phase II commercialization plan.

“Our HSSA Board’s unanimous passage of these two grants clearly meets our mission to fund scientific research and infrastructure to assist the growth of the life sciences industry in Spokane County and create economic development,” said Nancy L. Isserlis, HSSA Board Chair. “In both cases, these two start-up companies will be adding personnel.

“HSSA also holds an annual grant competition to help create access to health care through innovative and collaborative health care solutions in the County which will be announced in the late summer.”

HSSA has granted about $8 million in both research and Access to Care grants, and 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

About Our Board:

Nancy Isserlis, Attorney, Winston & Cashatt and HSSA Board Chair; Michael Wilson, Consultant and HSSA Grants Committee Chair; Jason Thackston, Senior Vice President of Energy Resources, Avista Corp. and HSSA Finance Committee Chair; Ph.D.; Daryll DeWald, Ph.D, Vice President, Health Sciences and Chancellor, WSU Spokane; Allison Glasunow, Ph.D, Perkins Coie LLP; Kevin Oldenburg, Ph.D., 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, and Dr. Francisco Velàzquez, MD.


HSSA Funds $240,000 in Immediate Grants to Help Combat COVID-19 Impacts

The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County announced on March 19th it would provide funding to applicant organizations serving the immediate needs and challenges of citizens and students impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Our Board saw the imminent need for financial support for organizations on the frontline of protecting our community and its citizens from the impacts,” said HSSA Board Chair Nancy Isserlis, “and on this Friday – a week later -- checks were in the mail.”

The grants are intended for those organizations that have immediate needs in serving Spokane

County citizens must be spent within the County. The grantees are as follows:

  • The Guardians Foundation Mission House --- $12,000
  • Pioneer Human Services -- $18,000
  • The Salvation Army – $30,000
  • Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners (SNAP) - $40,000
  • Catholic Charities - $40,000
  • 2nd Harvest - $50,000
  • Innovia Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund - $50,000

“Our belief is that some of these funded organizations have much broader reach than HSSA alone in meeting needs,” Isserlis said, “but the choice was difficult given that we had 37 responses. There remain many deserving needs to be met, and we hope that other organizations will step up, “she said.

Given the nature of the coronavirus pandemic, there will likely be more waves of health impacts and the community will need to continue to help.

For more information about HSSA visit If you have further questions, contact Susan Ashe, Executive Director at HSSA at 509.474.0798 or by cell at 509.995.8356.

HSSA Board Calls Special Board Meeting

The HSSA Board has called a Special Board Meeting for Thursday, March 26th, to meet on the subject of funds related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its local impact. The 2 PM meeting will be held by conference call due to recent government directives.. If you wish to join the call, please contact the Executive Director at 509.995.8356 for details.

Spokane Regional Health District's Latest Update on COVID-19

Good morning –

Please accept our apologies for all the confusion yesterday; information changed very quickly. We will schedule our conference call updates for Tuesdays and Fridays at 4:00 pm going forward.

This morning, there is a press conference scheduled for 11 a.m. in SRHD’s auditorium. Dr. Bob Lutz will address the media on new recommended guidance for events and gatherings as well as for schools. It will be live-streamed on our Facebook site:

The community action most useful for slowing the COVID-19 bell curve is “social distancing” in schools, workplaces, events, meetings, and places where people gather. By increasing distance to at least six feet between people when possible, you reduce the person-to-person spread of infection. Social distancing can also be accomplished by discontinuing large gatherings and events.

Dr. Lutz will recommend the following guidance, starting today at 5 p.m.:

  • The cancelling or postponing of large community events and gatherings in excess of 250 people for at least 30 days. This includes sporting events, concerts, festivals, conferences, places of worship, and other settings where people gather.
  • Additionally, we recommend cancelling any gathering
    • where indoor social distancing is not possible
    • Regional events where attendees come from multiple locations from outside of the area
    • Where vulnerable populations would be the majority of attendees
  • Similarly for schools. We are not recommending the closing of schools, but we are recommending, starting Monday, the cancelling or postponement of large gatherings such as assemblies, field trips, sporting and performance events, and club activities for at least 30 days.
  • In addition, we advise schools to distance students from one another as much as possible. Incorporate regular hand washing into their daily activities. Encourage them to cough and sneeze into a tissue or their sleeve. Communicate with parents the importance to keep their children home if they are sick – especially if they have symptoms similar to those of COVID-19
  • And, encourage staff and faculty to stay home if they are sick as well.
  • Consistent with Governor Inslee’s guidance yesterday, we advise schools to enhance social distancing of students from one another as much as possible. Schools should also be looking at how to modify how they provide meals to their students, remembering that for many in our community, school serves as their primary source of nutrition. And superintendents and administrators should consider providing no cost childcare to families, and to support students experiencing homelessness.
    • Incorporate regular hand washing into their daily activities. Encourage them to cough and sneeze into a tissue or their sleeve. Communicate with parents the importance to keep their children home if they are sick – especially if they have symptoms similar to those of COVID-19
    • And, encourage staff and faculty to stay home if they are sick as well.
  • This is an evolving situation. We will discuss daily what further actions need to be taken as the virus progresses in our community.
  • For individuals, continue to follow the guidance we have shared through the media and that is available at
  • Stay home when you are sick. Staying home when ill prevents the spread of infections to others.
  • Use good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene in all community settings, including homes, childcare facilities, schools, workplaces and other places where people gather. Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and put the used tissue in a waste basket. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60-95% alcohol) if you can’t wash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth: Germs often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Practice other good health habits: Clean and disinfectfrequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
  • Have a plan in place for the event of school closures. Talk with your employer about working from home if you can.
  • Prepare yourself and for family for the possibility of contracting COVID-19. Read the guidance on that addresses the questions:

These recommendations will change as the situation with COVID-19 becomes more prevalent in Spokane County. We should expect for these recommendations to evolve into strict requirements. We are working with community partners to assess Spokane County’s status with the COVID-19 pandemic daily. We will monitor conditions and update guidance accordingly.

Disease Prevention & Response | Spokane Regional Health District

509-324-1442 phone | 509-324-3623 fax |

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message and any attachments are for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain proprietary, confidential or privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited and may be a violation of law. If you are not the intended recipient or a person responsible for delivering this message to an intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message. Please note that any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the agency.