Dr. Cyn Kotarski, ND currently serves two important roles to support the newly formed and integrated care operations at PDA (specifically for Co-LEAD). Dr. Kotarski is the Medical Director for the organization and she also serves in a separate independent contractor role as the direct medical provider for Co-LEAD. These two roles are mutually reinforcing and of great value during a time when integrated and holistic care for marginalized populations is known to be what will actually transform healthcare delivery systems to provide excellent care, improve outcomes, and lower cost.
In her Medical Director role for PDA, as informed by direct services provided to Co-LEAD program, Dr. Kotarski:
Oversees care coordination, meaning how case management within Co-LEAD can and should be responsive to complex healthcare needs in order to provide a fully integrated approach that meets participants where they are.
Responds to the coordination of physical and behavioral healthcare needs on demand while other access to resources are advocated for and supported (housing, basic needs, employment, connection to community).
Supports a healthcare program that integrates with PDA’s community support systems to improve participant outcomes.
Provides ongoing training to the Co-LEAD team and PDA staff to support accessing health care while remaining committed to the trauma informed, strengths-based, harm reduction model Co-LEAD is built upon.
Before coming to PDA, Dr. Kotarski established a primary care medical clinic in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle (2013) focused on providing access to, and delivery of, health care services to the LGBTQIA community. She also served as Medical Director of the non-profit organization Integrative Care Outreach providing outreach naturopathic medical care for people experiencing homelessness in Seattle. From that experience she recognized that conventional and pharmaceutical-based medicine have an essential role, but for many, didn’t provide significant or long term benefits.
Dr. Kotarski knows that the historical medical model of pathologizing the human condition has failed those we serve and believes that rates of iatrogenic harm are disproportionately higher for marginalized communities often resulting in avoidance of the medical industrial complex. She found that additional holistic support including nutritional counseling, alternative and adjunctive health care options, harm reduction, empowerment, stress management, and demonstrable allyship support complex and long term health outcomes.
While the Affordable Care Act provided expanded insurance coverage for many, Dr. Kotarski found that even with the expansion many patients’ health care needs remained woefully unmet. Accessing services is confounded by other social determinants of health, such as: housing insecurity, food insecurity, the opioid epidemic, legal system entanglement, systemic racism, and the oppression of marginalized people. She believes that not adequately addressing social determinants of health undermines health outcomes and harms people and communities.
Dr. Kotarski is a proponent of advancing health equity, the destigmatization of mental illness and substance use disorders, MAT access, harm reduction, safe injection sites, PrEP access, housing first, and believes that a society should be measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members.
Dr. Kotarski has been licensed by the Washington State Board of Health as a Naturopathic Physician since she relocated to the Seattle area in 2013. Born and raised in Buffalo, NY; she attended Buffalo State University of New York where she attained her BA in Psychology with honors. Dr. Kotarski completed her medical studies at The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.