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Security Officer Carl Trent

A medical episode at a Western State Hospital screening station became a matter of life and death in the matter of seconds.

The actions of Security Officer Carl Trent made all the difference.

On Jan. 31, a nurse at the screening station began gasping for air and gesturing that she was choking. Trent sprang into action, performing life-saving measures until medical help arrived.

“I came from around that counter and started giving her the Heimlich maneuver trying to get her back,” Trent said. “She went limp on me. …


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The following is a message from DSHS Chief of Staff Don Clintsman:

Hello Team,

I want to take the opportunity to check in with all of you and share some updates.

First, let us acknowledge the year we have had. We have experienced unimaginable loss and suffering throughout the world. Through it all, we have seen the heroism and resilience of people working on the frontlines providing care and support for others. …


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Dr. Paul Yanisch and Dr. Holly Coryell of the Special Commitment Center have been appointed to the Washington Sex Offender Treatment Provider Advisory Committee.

A pair of longtime psychologists at the Special Commitment Center were chosen in February to serve on a prestigious committee that advises lawmakers on how to maintain a strong workforce of certified sex offender treatment providers and provide recommendations for the delivery of treatment for sex offenders in Washington.

The selection of Dr. Dan Yanisch and Dr. Holly Coryell to the 10-member Washington Sex Offender Treatment Provider Advisory Committee is an honor that will enable two prominent doctors from the McNeil Island facility to help shape guidelines for treatment and community protection.

Two of Coryell’s professional colleagues and friends served…


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We have some good news to celebrate. The Department of Health COVID-19 Data Dashboard shows decreases in COVID-19 cases statewide. Also, the Governor’s Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery has moved all counties into Phase 2, and over one million vaccinations have been administered in Washington.

These successes are due, in part, to the hard work and tenacity of DSHS employees like you. You are doing an amazing job controlling the spread of infection by continuing to telework, masking up, maintaining physical distancing, etc.

We are not quite out of the woods yet, so the DSHS Roadmap to Recovery (formerly Safe…


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DSHS is on a journey to becoming an anti-racist, equitable, transformational organization. At the direction of Secretary Cheryl Strange, the department selected the equity tools of truth, social justice and dismantling racism to implement the steps outlined in a Three-Year Action Plan to move the needle on equity, diversity and inclusion in DSHS.

A vital component to ensure the success of this journey includes gathering the thoughts and ideas of DSHS employees. Beginning Tuesday, March 2, the DSHS Office of Diversity and Inclusion kicks off the Truth to Action: Elevating Voices Virtual Tour together with other DSHS staff who work…


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Candy Goehring

In the world of long-term care, Feb. 29, 2020 is the equivalent of 9–11 or the assassination of JFK. Everyone in the industry remembers exactly when they learned COVID-19 had claimed its first victims in the United States, residents of Life Care Center of Kirkland.

“We started setting time on Feb. 29,” said Candy Goehring. “That was the day that changed everything. It is a marker in time and we remember where we were when our work changed.”

Goehring, who retired in early February after leading ALTSA’s Residential Care Services for more than five years, would draw upon her decades…


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Second round of P-EBT to start late-March for first part of 2020–21 school year

Contact: Norah M. West, DSHS Media Relations, 360–489–5587

OLYMPIA — Many families in Washington state will soon have another round of food benefits available to them to help buy groceries. Called Pandemic EBT, or P-EBT, these food benefits are available to families with children who have been home from school due to COVID-19 closures or reduced hours and who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through their school’s National School Lunch program.

The Department of Social and Health Services recently received federal approval to implement…


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Yasmin Michaels, BHA’s EDI and staff services manager, joined in the Certified Diversity Professional/ Certified Diversity Executive graduation ceremony in January.

DSHS’ Behavioral Health Administration’s equity, diversity and inclusion efforts got a boost recently when two BHA staff members earned diversity certifications.

Yasmin Michaels, BHA’s EDI and staff services manager, and Shannon Wallace, BHA’s chief administrative officer, earned the titles of certified diversity professional and certified diversity executive, respectively, from the Institute for Diversity Certification.

In late January, Secretary Cheryl Strange congratulated them, along with other staff members throughout the Department of Social and Health Services, in a virtual ceremony.

“We have an opportunity to go far, a momentum … we have an opportunity to deal with our own unintentional ignorance…


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Staff from the Maple Lane Competency Restoration Program took a break from work to build a snowman after a Presidents’ Day Weekend storm dumped 14 inches of snow on the grounds of the facility. Shown here clockwise from the snowman’s right shoulder are Brittany Goff, Zack Fralick, Linda Miller, Dylan Andersen, Stephanie Grable and Julie Vivone. Also on shift but not pictured were James Patterson (who took the photo) and Carissa Watson in the control booth.

On Feb. 11, it began to snow in south Thurston County. By Friday morning, at least 4 inches of powder covered the grounds of the Maple Lane Competency Restoration Program. With the help of the Department of Corrections (DOC) and our dependable maintenance team, walkways were cleared and made safe for the staff who would soon be coming to work.

However, Mother Nature was not through with us quite yet. By the time the Presidents’ Day Weekend was over, nearly 14 inches of snow had fallen in the area. As a result a number of staff were unable to make…


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DSHS’ Division of Vocational Rehabilitation’s 2020 Annual Report is now available for viewing at the following link, DVR Annual Report 2020.

The Annual Report shares the DVR story across State Fiscal Year 2020, detailing how the Division implemented new innovative technologies and tools to continue seamless delivery of employment support services to individuals with disabilities and valuable resources to those businesses in the community that value hiring quality talent.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic created numerous challenges for DVR staff to reach customers, DVR staff across the state rose to the occasion and persevered, leveraging such secure teleconferencing tools like Zoom…

Department of Social and Health Services

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