This is Public Health

The opportunity to live a healthy life is a human right. Every Oregonian deserves to live in a safe and healthy place with access to the resources and information they need to actively participate in decisions that affect their wellbeing. Those places are created and protected by public health.

A passion for prevention drives our work. As public health professionals, we educate about nutritious food and physical activity and ensure all Oregonians have access to  healthy options where they live, learn, work and play. We inform them about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and teach them how to improve their children’s health. We advocate for, and help write the policies that make our streets, buildings, parks, schools and neighborhoods safe and active for everyone regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or income status.




Senate Approved Dr. Vivek Murthy for Surgeon General
Oregon public health advocates weigh in on new surgeon general, opposed by NRA

Oregon public health advocates are hailing the confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy as surgeon general. Yesterday's article by Portland Business Journal reporter, Elizabeth Hayes featured thoughts from OPHA, OPHI, Upstream and others on the nation's new top doctor.

The Senate approved President Obama's nominee for surgeon general on Monday, after a several months delay stemming from National Rifle Association opposition.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, an internal medicine physician, was confirmed by a vote of 51 to 43.
Even though the surgeon general doesn't set or carry out gun policy, Murthy had raised the ire of gun advocates. He supports banning the sale of certain weapons and for longer waiting periods for firearms sales.

Josie Henderson, Executive Director of the Oregon Public Health Association. “OPHA applauds the Senate for confirming Dr. Murthy. For 140 years, the U.S. surgeon general has helped lead public health efforts to make our nation healthier. Dr Murthy is highly qualified for this position and has the potential to profoundly improve Americans’ health. He has already stated he intends to make the obesity epidemic one of his top priorities; obesity is a leading cause of preventable disability and death in Oregon. Successful healthcare transformation efforts, such as Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations, require that the public health and the medical communities work together. Dr. Murthy is uniquely qualified to build this relationship and Oregon’s public health community looks forward to working with him.”

Mel Rader, Executive Director of Upstream Public Health. “He’s a surgeon general that sees health in a broader way than past surgeons general. He’s looking at gun control and wants to do community partnerships around obesity and tobacco prevention. I’m glad he made it through in time. The surgeon general is a position that can accomplish a whole lot or not much at all. It depends on the person. This is an opportunity to shift the discussion and focus.”

Liz Baxter, Executive Director of the Oregon Public Health Institute. “After such a long delay, it is timely to have a Surgeon General who recognizes the impact of gun violence on the health of people in our communities.

Click here to read the full article.



2015 Northwest Environmental Health Conference
Call for Presentations - Proposals due December 19th

The planning committee is now accepting abstracts for presentations addressing current and emerging issues in the field of environmental health for the 7th Annual Northwest Environmental Health Conference on April 17, 2015 in Portland, Oregon.

Proposals Due: December 19, 2014
Notification of Acceptance: January 9, 2014

The goal of the conference is to build bridges between environmental health research, policy and practice in order to improve health today and to build a healthy future.

Who will participate?
We seek proposals from researchers, educators, doctoral students, health care professionals, public health employees, environmental and occupational health managers, healthcare procurement specialists, community-based organizations and others working to understand and improve environmental health.

What topics are of interest?
All proposals should cover a topic of interest to professionals working in environmental health. Presenters should seek to make connections between research, policy and practice, though topics may focus on one aspect or another.

Unique and innovative topics are encouraged; in addition, the topics of greatest interest for this year’s conference are:

1) Climate change and health/health care;
2) Environmental justice;
3) Environmentally driven health disparities;
4) Environmental toxicants;
5) Built environment; and
6) Sustainable practices in health care.

What presentation formats will be considered?
Sessions are 75 minutes in length with 15 minutes reserved for questions, answers, and audience discussion. Submission options for the Environmental Health Conference are:

  • Individual presentation – Individuals may propose a 30-minute presentation. Those accepted will be paired with a second presenter whose topic is complementary.
  • Panel presentation – Groups of 2-3 may submit a panel presentation proposal totaling 60 minutes. Panel organizers are encouraged to consider ways to encourage discussion and engagement in their presentations.
  • Poster presentation – Posters that present current research, case studies, and community-based projects. Posters will be offered for view during the entire conference, staged so that participants can view them during breaks and lunch. Students are welcome to propose posters.

Selection Criteria


  • The topic is consistent with “bridging research, policy and practice” and is compelling.
  • The topic has current relevance and presents new information, a new application, or a fresh perspective on existing knowledge.

Textual Features of the Abstract:

  • The abstract is well organized, concise, and clearly written.
  • The abstract has clear, worthy and measurable objectives.
  • The proposal incorporates methods of engagement and discussion.


  • The presentation illustrates the potential to improve knowledge and provides innovative, state-of-the-art, and/or state-of-the-science information.
  • The author(s) indicate(s) the potential value/contributions of the presentation to science/society

Submit your session proposal here.

Questions? Send inquiries to:



Campaign for Dental Health 
OPHA in now a Partner

Over the past half century, better dental care and fluoridation have transformed American oral health. Run-away tooth decay and rows of missing teeth, once commonplace, are now rarer than ever. But this evolution has not proceeded evenly. Millions of children, especially poor and minority kids, are needlessly suffering from oral health problems. So we have organized to defend our progress and ensure that more children get the basic dental care they need to grow, learn, and lead healthy lives.

The Campaign for Dental Health (CDH) was created to ensure that people of all ages have access to the most effective, affordable and equitable way to protect teeth from decay — water fluoridation. The CDH is a broad network of oral health advocates, health professionals, child and family organizations, and scientists who are working together to preserve our nation’s gains in oral health. It is the mission of CDH to provide the public and policy makers with the evidence-based information and tools they need to promote and protect this important public health measure. The Campaign for Dental Health believes, quite simply, that life is better with teeth.

Learn & Share
Children with healthy mouths do better in school and are more likely to become happy and successful adults. The Campaign for Dental Health has created an informative website to help communities make rational decisions about their health based on science, not fear. The goal of the campaign is to share the facts about oral health and preventive strategies like fluoride.

Health Professionals: Why Mention Fluoridation?
As a healthcare professional, patients rely on your advice to live healthier, longer, lives. That is why it is vital to discuss how oral health and fluoridation can help them do just that. Click here for some tools that can help!

Scientists: Where To Find Research
With over 3,000 studies or research papers published on the subject, few topics have been as thoroughly researched as water fluoridation. Click here to review several of these studies from reputable health and research organizations.

Join OPHA in support of this campaign!



Host a Member of the OHA AmeriCorps VISTA Team
Build local capacity and mentor future public health leaders

Public, private, or faith-based nonprofit organizations, as well as, local, state, tribal or federal agencies can become an AmeriCorps VISTA host site. Applications for the Oregon Health Authority VISTA Partnership Project are handled by the Public Health Division in partnership with the Corporation State Offices.‚Äč

Host sites identify significant program level work that will help build local capacity to alleviate poverty and improve the public health. Sites host AmeriCorps VISTA national service members each for one year, often for three successive years. OHA VISTAs join one of two teams, beginning their year of service in April or August. Host sites provide a financial match, direct the project, supervise and mentor the VISTA, and provide necessary administrative support to complete the goals and objectives of the project.

AmeriCorps VISTA members spend one year in full-time service to address the needs of low-income communities and improve public health. All projects focus on building permanent public health infrastructure in communities to help them more effectively bring individuals and communities out of poverty.

Download the April 2015 team application form and guidance here:

Broad program goals: The Oregon Health Authority VISTA Partnership Project aims to alleviate, prevent and reduce poverty by engaging new public health professionals in a year of full-time service in public health and partner organizations in order to improve the public’s health.

Key project requirements:

The project must address:
1. Public health
2. Poverty
3. Building long-term organizational and/or community capacity

The VISTA must have:
4. Dedicated supervisor, project leads, mentors
5. Clear assignment description

Due date: Applications are reviewed and approved on a rolling basis between now and January 15. However, please submit a full application by January 6 to receive our full attention. Submit the key portions of the narrative even sooner so that we can work with you and the national VISTA program to revise your project plan together. Applications actually received on or near the final January 15 due date may receive a simple rejection or approval due to national VISTA program hard deadlines.

Cost (two options): Standard: $2,750 per VISTA for the entire year. These highly competitive positions are more heavily subsidized by the national VISTA program. These positions are intended for organizations and communities with very limited resources. Cost share: $14,176 per VISTA for the entire year. The host site pays a larger amount to cover the VISTA member’s subsistence allowance. Choose this type to greatly increase your approval by OHA and the national VISTA program. Larger organizations with significant funding are asked to provide this level of support.

New host sites: Please discuss your VISTA project idea with me as soon as possible so we can best align our goals before drafting a detailed application.

Questions? Contact: Eric Gebbie, DrPH, MIA
State Medical Reserve Corps Coordinator
Oregon Health Authority/AmeriCorps VISTA Partnership Project Director
Office: 971-673-0709


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