2019 OPHA Annual Conference & Meeting

October 14 & 15, 2019
Oregon State University - Corvallis, OR 

2019 Keynote Presentations

Monday, October 14

Jillene Joseph
Executive Director, Native Wellness Institute

“Historical Trauma to Historical Wisdom: How Indigenous Values Are Good Medicine”

Native culture has so much to teach and offer the world. For hundreds of years we have been waiting for open minds, hearts and ears to be ready to hear the teachings and tools to live in balance within ourselves and with each other. The time is now. Are you ready?

This keynote will touch on what we’ve learned from various aspects of historical trauma and what are the lasting impacts that we can continue to learn from to be better public health professionals. Historical wisdom will be shared in the context of ally-ship in the public health arena and how we can inspire, transform and elevate public health for all Oregonians. Bring your tool bag because it will be filled!

Jillene is a member of the Gros Ventre or “Aaaniih” Tribe of Fort Belknap, Montana. She resides in Gresham, Oregon with her life partner and children. Nearly 20 years ago Jillene helped to co-found and currently serves as the executive director of the Native Wellness Institute (NWI), a national social profit organization existing because of the lasting impacts of historical trauma. NWI is a training and technical assistance providing organization and helps tribes, Native-serving organizations and Native communities move beyond trauma to a place of healing. Jillene is a life-long learner of her culture and knows that the culture holds the answers to the impacts of colonization. She worked for the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board for nearly ten years. Previous to that she provided substance abuse training to Native youth attending BIA boarding schools across the nation. She has also worked for her own tribe in both the housing and education departments. Jillene has nearly 35 years of knowledge and experience working for Native communities, organizations and tribes by providing training and technical assistance in a variety of areas related to the healing of individuals, communities and systems. Jillene has four children and a nephew that she raised, one grand daughter, enjoys traveling, reading, beading and celebrating life. Her personal and professional mantra is: “living the warrior’s spirit- being positive, productive and proactive.”


Tuesday, October 15

Mary Otto
Independent Journalist and Author 

"Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality and the Struggle for Oral Health in America"

This presentation will trace a  journalist and author’s journey that began with the death of a child in Maryland and eventually took her from Florida to Alaska, in search of a better understanding of the nation's oral health care system; it's history, it's evolution and the barriers that millions of Americans experience in seeking access to routine dental care. 

Mary Otto, a former reporter for the Washington Post and author of the book “Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality and the Struggle for Oral Health in America” will speak about her coverage of the story of 12- year old Deamonte Driver, who died in 2007 after suffering complications from untreated tooth decay and the state and national reform efforts that followed. She will explore what she learned about the historic divide between America’s dental and health care systems and how that gap continues to complicate access to care. She will share stories of  innovative approaches that aim to expand oral health care to underserved communities nationwide.

Mary Otto is a Washington, D.C.-based journalist who began writing about oral health at The Washington Post, where she covered social issues, including health care and poverty. In 2007, she wrote about 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, a Maryland child covered by Medicaid who died after bacteria from a dental infection spread to his brain. The death of the boy spurred congressional hearings, a revamping of Maryland’s Medicaid dental system and increased attention to oral health access for Medicaid children nationwide. After leaving the Post in 2008, Otto spent an academic year studying oral health at Harvard as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow. She now works as an independent journalist and oral health topic leader for the Association of Health Care Journalists. She is the author of the book "Teeth: the Story of Beauty, Inequality and the Struggle for Oral Health In America"  published in 2017 by The New Press. 

Lunch Plenary

Stay tuned for details 


OPHA 75th Anniversary Celebration

The Oregon Public Health Association is celebrating its 75th year. Enjoy an evening of reminiscing with old friends, engaging with new colleagues, and looking ahead to the future of improving health in Oregon.

We'll celebrate on the evening of October 14, 2019 at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis. Tickets will be sold separately from conference registration.

Stay tuned for more details

OPHA Communications Booth

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