North Whatcom Health Center will provide varied services; Skubi retiring

FERNDALE — Unity Care NW plans to open its North Whatcom Health Center to patients July 1, and it will celebrate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, June 27.

Scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. at the 6060 Portal Way location, the event is free and open to the public. It will include remarks by local dignitaries, music, and the opportunity to tour the new facility.

The 23,000-square-foot North Whatcom Health Center will provide 9,500 patients in north Whatcom County with access to primary medical, dental, behavioral health and pharmacy services. Sixty full-time staff will be comployed there. It will expand adult dental care in the community, and will bring the most comprehensive behavioral health services in Whatcom County outside of Bellingham. On-site pharmacy services will be available.

The new $15 million health center has been a longtime goal of Unity Care NW. Its executive director, Des Skubi, recently announced his retirement, to take place in January 2020.

“I am completing my 11th wonderful year at Unity Care NW, and I will turn 68 in February 2020. It is time to let a new, thoughtful and energetic generation of leadership move this great organization into the future,” Skubi said in a press release.

A five-year plan will guide his successor.

“Our next five-year strategic plan will guide our next executive director with continued growth and focus on increasing the years of healthy life in the people and communities we serve. UCNW will begin a succession process at the direction of our board of directors. A professional firm will conduct a national search to find the best possible candidates. I am confident the board will select the best person to lead UCNW into its next phase of growth. We will keep you informed of our progress as it unfolds,” Skubi said.

Skubi said he looks forward to spending more time with his family, and that the decision to leave is a bittersweet one.

Top contributors to the Unity Care NW capital campaign, without whom this milestone could not have been reached, were: Arcora Foundation, Chuckanut Health Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, The Norcliffe Foundation, PeaceHealth, D.V. and Ida J. McEachern Charitable Trust, Employees Community Fund of Boeing, U.S. Bank, Visiting Nurse Home Care, Whatcom Community Foundation, The Chrysalis Inn & Spa, the Eleanor and Henry Jansen Foundation, Superfeet Worldwide Inc., Thrivent Choice, Tulalip Tribes Charitable Contributions, WECU and the taxpayers of Washington State.

For more information about Unity Care NW, visit