On Tuesday, October 24 the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and community leaders held a ceremony in Tukwila, WA to celebrate the introduction of a new life-saving mobile Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) van that will provide culturally appropriate addiction care services for Cowlitz Indian Tribal members and other indigenous communities in the area.
The Tribe’s Health & Human Services Department will operate the new life-saving resource in communities across its network of clinics from Vancouver in Southwest Washington to Tukwila in King County. While serving native populations remains the program's focus, the MAT van will also be available to help members of the public.
"We deeply appreciate the support and partnerships that made the development of this lifesaving mobile resource possible," said Chairwoman Kinswa-Gaiser. "The word Cowlitz means seeker of the Medicine Spirit. As we work to serve, heal, and uplift our tribal members and surrounding communities, we are grateful to have the tools to deliver the help people need."
The new mobile MAT van was funded through an Innovation Grant provided by HealthierHere and with the support of multiple partners in the community.
“We are thrilled to see the hard work of our partner Cowlitz Indian Tribe come to fruition,” said John Kim, CEO of HealthierHere. “This innovative approach to providing lifesaving, culturally responsive care is the definition of ‘meeting people where they are’. We know their mobile MAT unit will serve as a beacon of hope and healing, and a model for Tribal-led solutions to advancing health equity.”
No community is immune to the disease of addiction and treatment options can be limited, especially for indigenous populations. Delivering a holistic care model in a mobile format will allow Cowlitz Indian Tribe to provide life-saving addiction treatment services in both rural and urban locations across its network of clinics from Longview in Southwest Washington to Tukwila in King County.
As the mobile MAT program prepares to begin full operations in 2024, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe will be exploring additional tribal and non-tribal partnerships and plans to focus on marketing and outreach activities to ensure the public is aware of the new resources that are available.