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Out & About in Cleveland

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Grand Opening of the International Community Health Center

On Wednesday, February 25th, we went to the grand opening of the International Community Health Center (ICHC) on the 2nd Floor of Asian Town Center at 38th and Superior. Today was the culmination of a dream of many people including Mr. Michael Byun, Executive Director of ICHC. Mr. Byun remembered his first years in the United States after immigrating here from Korea when he was only a child and having to interpret for his family whenever someone needed medical attention. In 2009 he studied the conditions of health care for Asians in Cleveland and found out that many people were delaying treatment until they could travel to New York to obtain culturally competent care by people who spoke their language and could relate to what they were going through. In 2011 he started talking to community leaders about establishing such a health care facility in Cleveland. In 2013, this facility was opened but it was very small so it had to be expanded and certain aspects upgraded.

On this day, finally, a fully operational ICHC was ready for public use. Among the services that it offers are those concerning primary care, adult medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, women's health, and STD screening and treatment.

Almost 50 people turned out for the ribbon cutting including Cleveland City Councilman T.J. Dow; Mr. Greg Hall, Chair of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health; Dr. Yung-Chen Lu, Chair of the Asian American Pacific Islander Advisory Council; Ms. Toinette Parrilla, Health Director of Cleveland; Dr. Janet Kemp, Board President of Asian Services in Action; and a representative from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown's office.

After some brief speeches, we were given a tour of the new facility by Ms. Tomeko Mitchell, Medical Assistant. From our perspective, it looked like the years of hard work and planning have paid off and the ICHC will be an excellent asset to Cleveland as well as Northeast Ohio.

Our next stop was Plexus Networking Night at the Vosh Nightclub on Riverside Drive in Lakewood. We would say that there was about 30 people there which was very good considering the cold night.

We stayed for the full two hours and had several conversations with old friends regarding the status of immigration reform and the academy awards last Sunday night where Mexican filmmaker Mr. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu made a plea on behalf of people who have recently immigrated to the United States requesting that they be treated with dignity and respect. We are glad to say that most of the people we spoke with agreed with this.

We also met a couple who had recently moved to Northeast Ohio from Alabama and talked about how the a recent court decision allowing gay marriage in that state has been tumultuously received.

We got a real treat towards the end of the evening when we won a raffle to receive 2 free tickets to watch the North Coast Men's Chorus perform "Deliciously Wicked" a Broadway Review in early April at Notre Dame College.

Before we left, we visited with a realtor who has conducted quite a few transactions for people who have immigrated to the United States from such countries as India and Burma but wishes she could conduct one for people who have immigrated here from Germany because she is very fluent in the German language and would welcome the opportunity to use it in her work.

Out & Aboutimwong