The nation's first publicly-funded natural medicine clinic isn't scheduled to open its
door until next month, but organizers already are working to enhance its offerings by
bringing practitioners of alternative medicine from China.
The King County Natural Medicine Clinic, supported by federal, state and county funds,
will offer affordable alternative care for low-income persons and immigrants.
Merrily Manthey of Kent plans to spend about two weeks in China, where she hopes to launch
an exchange program that would bring to Kent practitioners of traditional-and sometimes
centuries-old-alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, herbal therapy or massage.
"We would love to have one of the Chinese acupuncture masters come over here and
train some people," said Manthey. She joins a Kent delegation leaving today for an
international trade show in Yangzhou, China.
Manthey and others would like to see Chinese chiropractors, herbal therapists and
others visit Kent and work with local practitioners. She's already made contact with some
doctors, a pharmaceutical group and others in Yangzhou who have expressed interest in
visiting America to learn about practices here.
"Practitioners visiting South King County would tour facilities and other programs
around the region," Manthey said. Likewise, local doctors and practitioners of
alternative and natural medicine could visit China to study treatment programs. Local
proponents hoped the natural medicine clinic would be open this month." However,
the schedule now calls for an opening by mid October," said Manthey, a management
consultant and community activist who chaired a task force that worked to locate the
clinic in Kent.
Harborview Medical Center Center in Seattle made bids for the facility, but King County
officials gave the nod to Kent, in part because of the growing immigrant population in the
The King County Natural Medicine Clinic will be administered through the Kent Community
Health Center, which already serves Russian, Ukrainian, Hispanic and Asian immigrants, and
Bastyr University, which trains practitioners of natural medicine.
The clinic is funded by a $750,000 federal grant, and county and state funds for health
services for persons, plus private donations. "The Natural Medicine Clinic
will be at the Kent Community Health Center's complex at Central Avenue South and South
Street in Kent Community Health Center and the new clinic will relocate next summer to a
new building at 403 E. Meeker St.," Manthey said.