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 www.hssaspokane.org. 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: https://www.facebook.com/spokanehealth/.

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 SRHD.org.
  • 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 SRHD.org 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 | dpr_web@srhd.org


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DeWald, Glasunow Appointed to HSSA Board

SPOKANE, WA – Nancy Isserlis, Board Chair of the Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced the appointments of Daryll B. DeWald, Ph.D. and Allison M. Glasunow, Ph.D., J.D., who were appointed to its nine-person board.

Daryll DeWald, Ph.D. was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to serve a four-year term. Dr. DeWald is the Vice President of Washington State University (WSU) Health Sciences and Chancellor of WSU Health Sciences Spokane. He leads development of WSU’s rapidly growing, world-class center for health sciences education and research. DeWald joined WSU Health Sciences Spokane in September 2017 as its fourth chancellor and was named vice president for WSU’s statewide health sciences efforts in July 2019. An experienced academic leader and a successful life sciences researcher, DeWald is passionate about higher education and providing avenues for students, faculty, and staff to succeed. He oversees a downtown campus that is highly connected to Spokane’s medical community and central to Spokane’s urban growth and sustainability.

“I am very pleased to serve on HSSA’s board as I appreciate the economic impacts in our community by the investments made by HSSA in the health sciences research here that is growing quite rapidly,” said DeWald. “We would not be where we are today had it not been for early HSSA investments in researchers and core laboratories, as well as its recent investment to help stand up the Steve Gleason Institute of Neurosciences.” DeWald received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wyoming and his doctoral degree in biochemistry from Texas A&M University.

Allison M. Glasunow, Ph.D. J.D., was appointed by the Spokane Board of County Commissioners to also serve a four-year term. Allison is an attorney with Perkins Coie and provides strategic patent counsel to large, mid and small-cap companies, start-ups, entrepreneurs, investors (venture capital, angel etc.), universities and research institutes in the life sciences and biotechnology industries. Dr. Glasunow’s practice spans the Inland Northwest, Pacific Northwest, Bay Area, across the United States and internationally. She provides strategic counseling and advising, due diligence, invalidity, analysis, competitive intelligence, patent application preparation and prosecution, and litigation support to Perkins Coie clients.

Allison has both legal expertise and laboratory research experience in immunotherapy, genetics and genomic stem cells, cancer therapies, cardiovascular therapies. clinical and research diagnostics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

Dr. Glasunow draws on over ten years of laboratory research, experience at Benaroya Institute, the University of Washington School of Washington School of Medicine and Seattle Children’s Research Institute. As a Ph.D. candidate, Allison focused on cellular behavior and genetics underlying cardiovascular disease, was an American Heart Association Fellow, and recognized several times for excellence in cardiovascular research. As a post-doctoral Ph.D. fellow at the Seattle Children’s Hospital, she developed a set of molecular tools useful for cancer immunotherapies.

“Being appointed to HSSA’s prestigious Board is an honor,” Glasunow said. “HSSA is a critical element to the success of the local life sciences industry. I look forward to supporting the bustling life science sector in our community and fostering its continued growth.

“We are very pleased to welcome both Allison and Daryll to our HSSA Board,” Isserlis said.

HSSA Helps Stand Up New WSU Gleason Institute for Neuroscience

HSSA joined WSU Spokane, Team Gleason, St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Center and Avista on January 15 to announce the new Steve Gleason Institute for Neuroscience, located close to the new pedestrian and bicycle bridge at 325 East Sprague Avenue in the University District.

Steve Gleason is a local and national hero, former football player at WSU and for the New Orleans Saints in the NFL. A husband and father, Gleason was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2011. He continues his valiant efforts on behalf of others suffering from neurological diseases including his successful efforts to achieve Medicare modifications in the Steven Gleason Act, an Act of Congress, and was recently was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his many efforts. Other important partners in this venture are the City of Spokane, MultiCare Health, Providence Health.

This is an important investment in medical research for those who suffer from neurological diseases such as ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. HSSA was both "pleased and proud to support the Steven Gleason Institute for Neuroscience here in the University District for the important work it will do, and in recognition of one of Spokane's own sons," HSSA Board Chair Nancy Isserlis said at the launch of the institute. “This $250,000 of support was by a unanimous decision of our Board. "Isserlis went on to say that "More important, is the exciting opportunities for better treatment and care, and hopefully one day, even cures, for these debilitating diseases."

The goals of the Gleason Institute are expected to include:

  • The Clinical Research and Care Unit focusing in motor and cognitive therapy and supporting clinical trials of new medications or treatments;
  • The Assistive Technology and Smart Home Center for patient exposure, training ad the advancement of augmented reality, virtual reality, brain-machine interfaces and prosthetic devices;
  • The Discovery Research Unit with laboratories and shared facilities for scientists and support staff.

HSSA Announces 2020 "Access to Care" Grants

The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced the organizations who will receive $300,000 in total grants in 2020 for the important access to health care work they do. HSSA said it received well over $1.2 million in grant requests for its Access to Care grant, the highest amount ever requested.

The Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS) will receive a $120,000 grant from HSSA to provide equipment for a new dental center to be located on the East Central Community Center campus in a neighborhood where no dentists currently provide services.

Partners with Families and Children will receive $75,000 in 2020 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.

YWCA Spokane will receive from HSSA $33,000 to grow its trauma treatment as part of its mental health services capacity for victims of domestic violence and the growing demand for in-house psychological support through mental health therapy for victims.

HSSA will grant Pioneer Human Services $32,000 for its Opioid Recovery and Stabilization program focused on the incarcerated population re-entering the community who have a 12.7 times death rate of the general population from opioid overdose.

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.

A $10,000 grant will be made to the Lutheran Community Services NW for its Eye Movement and Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) training, a proven therapy for victims of trauma in our community.

“HSSA’s mission includes increasing access to care through innovative and collaborative health care delivery in the County, 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.

“To date we have awarded approximately $2.6 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,” 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 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. More information about all HSSA grants may be found at www.hssaspokane.org.

UW-GU Regional Health Partnership Announces New Center in Spokane

Great news recently from the UW-GU Regional Health Partnership (RHP). UW President Ana Mari Cauce and GU President Thayne McColloh made the announcement to a packed house at the Hemmingson Center on GU's campus.

The two universities have agreed to enter into long-term lease agreements to use the space in a brand new 80,000 SF Regional Health Partnership building to be designed, built and operated by MKinstry, said its CEO Dean Allen. The cost of the structure is estimated to be approximately $60 million. The facility will be located just west of the existing McKinstry building at Hamilton and Spokane Falls Boulevard.

Mike Wilson, Chair of the RHP and HSSA Board member spoke to the fact that every one of the 60 current WWAMI medical students chose to begin their medical education in Spokane.

The entire announcement and pictures are on the following link.


HSSA Announces Annual "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 non-profit and other organizations is open for 2020 grants. 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 2020 Access to Care Grant Competition will award up to $300,000 for one or more grants that durably 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 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 we have committed $2.5 million to these programs to date,” she said.

Here are key dates related to HSSA’s 2020 Access to Care grants:

RFP posted at: September 9, 2019

Letter of Intent due by 12 noon: September 30, 2019

Final Proposal due by 4PM: October 31, 2019

Awards Announced: December 20, 2019

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; Priority Spokane; Northeast Community Center’s Medical and Dental operations and youth counseling; Pioneer Human Services; YWCA mental health initiative, Providence Dental NE operatories, and others.

Applicants should submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) on the HSSA website at www.hssaspokane.orgunder 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 would be due by October 25, 2019. In this Final Proposal, Applicants who have previously been funded by HSSA should list positive major outcomes from previous grants.

HSSA is credited with bringing $35 million in extramural grants to the Spokane region as every $1 of National Institutes for Health (NIH) funding accounts for another $1, creating $70 million alone by 2019 in economic activity. HSSA has invested about $5.8 million in research and infrastructure grants, and over $2.5 million in Access to Care grants, for a total direct investment of $8 million. The organization has contributed to date well over $100 million, an exciting return on investment.


About HSSA:

The Health Sciences & Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane Countywas established in 2007 for 15 years by the Washington legislature, authorized county-wide by Spokane County in 2008 and began operating in 2009. It was reauthorized by the Washington State Legislature in 2019 for an additional 15 years. Its mission is to invest in health sciences research to promote economic development, advance new therapies and procedures to combat disease, and to promote public health. HSSA invests funds to create and support a nationally competitive health sciences research cluster in Spokane County, and works to catalyze higher education research and the health sciences industry that will lead to higher wage jobs, long-term sustainability and economic diversification. For more information, visit our website at www.hssaspokane.orgor call 509.474.0798.

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.; Scott Gordon, Ph.D. Provost, Eastern Washington University; Kevin Oldenburg, Ph.D., President, 2ndSight Bioscience; Darryl Potyk, M.D., UW/GU Regional Director of Medical Education; David J. Vachon, Ph.D., CEO/Founder, Iasis Molecular Sciences/Novion Technologies, and Dr. Francisco Velàzquez, former President & CEO, PAML and PAML Ventures.

Allele Dx, Iasis Molecular & Photon Bioscience receive funding this summer

HSSA's Board has been busy, granting almost $875,000 to three local health science research firms over the summer of 2019. Here is an introduction to these companies.

Allele Diagnostics, Inc. Marcelo Morales, President & CEO

HSSA has matched a federal SBIR Phase I grant to Allele Diagnostics by providing $222,840 for the development of rapid genetic testing of congenital heart defects. This funding followed a small HSSA grant that allowed Allele to receive professional grant-writing support from for its submission to NIH for the larger grant HSSA recently matched. Rapid results are important for medical management of congenital heart defects diagnosis and treatment that helps guide surgical decisions. This test will be intended for patients with a congenital heart defect either diagnosed prenatally or at birth when a rapid genetic diagnosis is important. The first phase funding will allow the project to be completed in the fall of 2019, improve the robustness of the verification study by adding additional sample and experiments, and start the process of commercialization and marketing. Allele is already working on a submitting a SBIR Phase II grant application by early September, which the HSSA funding allows. Otherwise the next opportunity to apply would be in April 2020. Allele’s research and commercialization will continue in Spokane.

Iasis Molecular Sciences David J. Vachon, Ph.D, Founder

Iasis Molecular Sciences received a grant of $500,000 from HSSA ‘s SBIR matching grant program that matches a grant from the Congressional Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) for the development of a next generation catheter. This award targets catheter-associated urinary tract infections, the most prevalent of the health care-associated infections (HAIs). Iasis Molecular Sciences have evolved to address the HAI problem from a systems standpoint, and in the process become an infection-prevention and control materials solution company. The proposed research has the potential to improve outcomes for both military and civilian populations while reducing costs. The focus is to ensure that surfaces inside and around patients are free of, or able to fend off microorganisms that can cause infection. In the U.S., it is estimated that 1 in 25 hospitalized patients will contract a healthcare-associated infection. More research, clinical trials and funding will be required to take these products to market, Vachon said, before commercialization may occur.

Photon Biosciences, LLC James Brozik, Co-Founder, CTO, ChulHee Kang, Co-Founder, CTO, Chandima Bandaranayaka, CEO

Photon Biosciences, a startup company from Pullman, has moved to Spokane with the help of HSSA. Photon’s scientists have been researching and developing a non-photobleaching and non-photoblinking luminescent probe for disease detection and biomolecular imaging. Its phosphorescent probe is named RECAL®.

HSSA has provided $150,000 in funds that match a federal grant Photon Biosciences recently received that established a laboratory in the Spokane University District. The company is nearing commercialization, and its product has the potential to supplant much of the fluorescent protein, organic chromophore and quantum dot-based technologies that currently dominate the market and will enable many tasks that are currently not possible or practical. Biochemistry, biophysics, food safety, medical diagnostics and homeland security are some potential areas of application. Photon Biosciences has identified likely partners and sublicensees for development of the technology, and plans are to manufacture and sell products from Spokane.

HSSA Announces Board Vacancy for Spokane County Appointment

The Health Sciences and Services Authority (HSSA) of Spokane County has announced a vacancy on its nine-person Board of Directors. This position will be appointed by the Spokane County Board of Commissioners, Spokane, Washington. The County as its own application process at https://www.spokanecounty.org/1184/Health-Sciences-Services-Authority-HSSAat which candidates will apply.

The HSSA Board seeks individuals to fill these vacancies preferably with professional life/health sciences experiences in the private sector and/or academia. Experience successfully starting and operating health/life science businesses is preferred, but not mandatory. The HSSA Board meets quarterly.

HSSA Board members serve four-year terms and this term will be from August 1, 2019 through July 31, 2023. When the term expires there is an opportunity to serve additional terms.

HSSA has invested approximately $5.7 million to date in research and infrastructure in Spokane County. It also has invested about $2.6 million in its annual “Access to Care” grants to promote public health. It has created hundreds of direct/indirect jobs, assisted bringing to Spokane millions of dollars of extramural grant funding, and over $100 million in total economic activity. HSSA was recently reauthorized by the Washington Legislature for 15 years, and Governor Jay Inslee approved the legislation.

Questions about this Board vacancy may be directed to the Executive Director at 509.474.0798 or susan@hssaspokane.org.