2014 OPHA Award Winners

Each year, OPHA presents awards to fellow OPHA members, colleagues and community members that have contributed to public health in Oregon. All of the nominees for the 2014 OPHA Awards were exceptional in their commitment to improving the public’s health and have made a positive difference for Oregonians. Congratulations to the following recipients who received their awards at the 2014 OPHA Annual Meeting!


PHOTO: Brian Johnson, Dianna Pickett
& Alissa Leavitt
*Photo courtesy of Jessica London

Lifetime Achievement: Dianna Pickett
*Nominated by Pat Foley and Theresa Watts

This award is given to a person who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to public health in Oregon.

Dianna is the embodiment of a public health nurse leader. Impassionate about community based nursing and prevention; she is a tireless advocate for the health of the residents of Oregon. Throughout her professional career, Dianna has demonstrated a unique ability to lead by example and to advocate for chance in a non-confrontational manner. Dianna is an effective change agent who stands up for what she believes in - population based nursing and her most current passion, the care of children in child care.

Since obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Oregon - School of Nursing, Dianna has worked in a variety of roles in 3 different Public Health Departments: Benton Co., Deschutes Co., and Multnomah Co. Benton County HD and the Benton County school districts were exploring the feasibility of Community Health Nurses providing Reproductive Health Education in class rooms. Dianna was instrumental in bringing this program to fruition which resulted in strong partnerships between the different entities.

Deschutes County benefited from Dianna’s skills first in her role as Director of Health Services at Central Oregon Community College and later as Nursing Supervisor at Deschutes County HD. At Deschutes County HD true to her nature of looking at the big picture, Dianna partnered with community leaders in health, education, and social services to establish Granma’s House. Granma’s House connected homeless, pregnant women to community, health, and school resources. During this time Dianna advocated for the role of PHNs as community experts and encouraged and supported continuing education for her staff.

When she was first hired at the State Health Authority, Dianna worked out of her home in Bend as a Regional Nurse Consultant working with local health departments to provide education and monitoring of Maternal Child Health Programs. During this time she demonstrated her belief in lifelong learning by obtaining her Master’s Degree in Nursing from the Oregon Health Sciences University. Dianna’s Master’s Project focused on the role of Public Health Nurses in the Healthy Start Program. She brought stakeholders from all sides together and with her leadership the group reached a consensus. Dianna chaired the statewide Screening and Assessment Workgroup tasked with developing common assessment and screening criteria to be used by interdisciplinary staff including PHNs from local and state health and social services. Again with her leadership, the workgroup was able to reach an agreement.

In the Child Care Nurse Consultant role, Dianna has demonstrated her ability to work as a change agent within the state. She partnered with the Early Child Care, Education, and Public Health experts including the Office of Child Care and the Oregon Center for Career Development to develop health and safety resources. This included developing an on-line e-reference.

Dianna has mentored many new Regional Nurse Consultants and takes an active role in the orientation and continuing education of new Public Health Nurses. Many have benefited from her grasp on Population Based Nursing and have been challenged to use the Public Health Nurse Intervention Wheel.

Under Dianna’s leadership as Chair of the Oregon Public Health Association Nursing Section, a Two Year Work Plan was developed. This has stood as a foundation for the current work of the organization. In addition she has served as the OPHA Nursing Section Representative on the OPHA Board and was recently elected as Member at Large on the OPHA Board. Last but not least, Dianna has provided behind the scenes support for many of the activities of the Nursing Section. She is an unsung hero who is always willing to pitch in and make sure that things are accomplished.

Quote from Dianna: “Where ever I worked, no matter what my job description, it always became public health. Can't help it...not sorry! Public health nursing has challenged me, taught me, frustrated and enlightened me. It has brought me wonderful friendships and shown me hidden jewels of the human spirit. It has given me a chance to help make life better, at least for some, and to share a vision for a healthier future for all. It has impassioned me and made me raise my hand enthusiastically because I forgot that I was already over committed. I have pressed my husband and children into service to a public health nursing project, and they enjoyed it (mostly). I have renamed my granddaughter's "Doctor" kit and "Nurse" kit and we addressed a whooping cough outbreak among her stuffed animals. I'm hopelessly a public health nurse.”




Policy Champion: Family Forward Oregon
*Nominated by Renee Huizinga

This award will be given to a person or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to advancing public health policy in Oregon.  

Family Forward Oregon’s work on Paid Sick Days in Oregon is a true measure of their dedication to strong public health policy—the kind of policy work that targets the health of individuals and communities by shifting responsibility for creating healthy environments for Oregonians onto the shoulders of institutions and systems, alleviating the inequitable burden on individuals. We know that a shocking 48% of private-sector workers in Oregon and 80% of low-wage workers nationally have no paid sick days from their job. Workers who currently don’t earn sick time are heavily concentrated in jobs that require a high level of interaction with the public, and when those workers feel compelled to come to work sick, it’s all of our health that’s at risk. In 2013, the American Public Health Association named support for paid sick leave and other family leave policies chief among their policy statements. Paid sick time is prevention, and it is about the public’s health. Family Forward Oregon is on the leading edge of these efforts in Oregon, innovating ways to bring our state in line with other pioneering states, and our nation in line with nearly every other developed country in the world. This year, in particular, has been a hugely successful one for FFO’s work on public health policy in Oregon and the organizations key achievements include the following:

  • Family Forward Oregon has led and won successful public health policy campaigns, from formative stages all the way through implementation and early evaluation.
  • Family Forward Oregon has successfully engaged a broad range of stakeholders in their policy advocacy, including strong representation from the public health community.
  • Family Forward Oregon consistently demonstrates a deep commitment to social justice in their policy advocacy: a core public health value. 

Emerging Leader: LaKeesha Dumas
*Nominated by Liz Baxter 

This award is given to a person who has demonstrated leadership, innovation, and creativity in the beginning of his/her public health career.

PHOTO: Brian Johnson, LaKeesha Dumas & Alissa Leavitt
*Photo courtesy of Jessica London

LaKeesha Dumas was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She is certified by the state of Oregon as both a Community Health Worker and a Peer Support Specialist (PSS). The PSS designation adds another layer to the way her community embraces her as she shares her lived life experience with community members, allowing for increased trust in their relationships. She was recently nominated for the 2014 Genius Award by the Oregon Public Health Institute. LaKeesha is one of the Chairs of the Traditional Health Workers Commission and has been influential in policy decisions relating to the field of traditional health workers. From the streets to policy, she is passionate about the health of her community.

Urban League co-worker Zeenia Junkeer said, “Keesha saw the need for culturally specific caregivers in her community and went above and beyond the call of her position to advocate and fight for the Avel Gordly center to open up slots for African American community members who were unable to access services previously. Keesha doesn't take no for an answer when it comes to securing services and advocating for the rights and needs of the community members she serves.”

LaKeesha was one of the original Community Health Workers on the Urban League’s Warriors of Wellness Project which focused on building a model in which CCOs can contract with Community Based Organizations for culturally specific community health worker services. She is now working in collaboration with the Health Resiliency Team through CareOregon and is embedded in the Multnomah County Northeast Health Center as well as Emmanuel Hospital, both located in the community in which she lives and works.

In addition to her work with the Urban League, and her service on the Oregon Community Health Workers Commission, LaKeesha also spends time volunteering for Miracles Club, Portland Black PFLAG and many culturally-specific peer groups for women in recovery. LaKeesha has also volunteered as a GED instructor at Straightways, a program designed to help address the needs of people with poor access to educational opportunities.





Outstanding Student Poster Awards:

Students were judged on the following criteria:

  • Background and importance of the subject
  • Relevance to emerging public health research/practice issues in Oregon
  • Implications for policies, programs and practice related to public health
  • Originality or innovativeness of work
  • Overall clarity of abstract


PHOTO: Brian Johnson, Sandi Cleveland & Marie Harvey


PHOTO: Brian Johnson, Kathleen Conte & Marie Harvey


*Photos courtesy of Jessica London



Congratulations to OSU Doctoral Student, Sandi Cleveland! 

Sandi received the Outstanding Student Poster Award for her poster entitled, Body Mass Index does not modify the relationship between perceived quality of patient-provider communication and avoidance of visiting doctors.







Congratulations to OSU Doctoral Student, Kathleen Conte! 

Katie received the Outstanding Student Poster Award for her poster entitled, Walk With Ease: Scaling up an evidence-based arthritis self-management program in Oregon.