Commitment to Health Equity and Anti-Racism Efforts

In February of 2023, the OPHA Board of Directors adopted a new strategic goal. OPHA has been working for over 10 years in this area, but began accelerating our efforts in 2019. We will continue to work towards this goal as there is no true finish line to antiracism work.



The Oregon Public Health Association is committed to working towards becoming an anti-racist organization that puts our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into practice.  OPHA acknowledges the inequitable health outcomes, and the deep and lasting impacts of structural and pervasive racism on marginalized populations, in particular for communities of color. The OPHA Board of Directors, leadership, and staff will use the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Organizational Action Toolkit (2022) developed by the American Public Health Association (APHA) as our guide. The Toolkit contains strategic and tactical day to day actions.

Adopted by the OPHA Board of Directors February 17, 2023



  • In 2013, as part of a strategic planning process, the OPHA board of directors added equity and inclusion to our organizational values. Strategic plans aspired to consider equity in all organizational efforts
  • In 2017, board member Tamara Falls conducted a three part Cultural Competency, Equity, and Institutional Racism training for the board
  • In 2018, OPHA bylaws are revised to be gender neutral
  • In 2020, DEI Workgroup is codified as a standing committee in the Bylaws.
  • In June 2021, OPHA began collecting REAL D (race, ethnicity, language and disability) information from our members. This change in how we gather demographic information is based on state and national efforts to allow individuals to self identify, reduce eraser of identities, and to offer options informed by extensive community outreach by the Oregon Health Authority.
  • This data is collected, analyzed, and stored for the following purposes:
    • Better understanding who OPHA members are
    • Assessing opportunities for outreach and engagement
    • Striving for increased diversity and inclusion
  • As part of this new data collection, OPHA also adopted a Confidentiality Policy for Member Data and a Confidentiality Statement that must be signed by any member who is authorized to view this data.
  • In 2022, OPHA secured a technical assistance grant from Kaiser Permanente to hire an attorney to review and update our bylaws through an anti-racist lens. The updated Bylaws will align with current nonprofit law and eliminate existing barriers both procedural and financial to advancing our mission, vision and values.
  • In 2023, the board adopted a Code of Conduct modeled after the American Public Health Association Code of Conduct


  • In 2018, the board directed the Nominations Committee to intentionally reach out to racially diverse candidates. Racial diversity of board members has increased significantly.
  • In December 2019, a DEI Workgroup is created at the board retreat in December
  • February 2020 – Board begins meeting exclusively by virtual means to enable lower income members to serve on the board.
  • In October 2021, OPHA begins offering the annual Health Equity Champion award
  • In 2022, three-part Anti-racism training for the board by Engage to Change (9 hours total)


  • In 2018, the Policy and Advocacy Committee added questions about how the proposed legislation would address health equity.
  • Many of the legislative proposals we support address the social determinants of health, which have a huge impact on health, or a health issue that disproportionately impacts marginalized communities.  Examples include paid family leave,  the 2019 Climate Action Plan (aka Clean Energy Jobs), Translation of prescription bottle labels for patients with limited or no English proficiency, reducing diesel pollution, increasing the minimum wage, and paid sick days.
  • February 4, 2020 - Lead by OPHA, over 500 Oregon health leaders and organizations Declare climate change a public health emergency.  OPHA Executive Director and partners hold a press event
  • February 2020 – OPHA members host a Public Health Advocacy Day and ask legislators to pass the Clean Energy Jobs bill, which focuses on equity and bringing climate solutions and jobs to rural Oregon
  • February 2020 – Board begins meeting exclusively by virtual means to enable lower income members to serve on the board.
  • Beginning in 2020, OPHA has convened the Oregon Health Equity Task Force, which is composed of leaders and community-based organizations representing BIPOC, Tribal, Mixed Race, Urban-dwelling Indians/Urban Indians, Immigrant and Refugee, and white communities.
  • The Task Force, with chief sponsor, Representative Andrea Salinas, introduced HB 2337 which contained whereas statements related to Oregon's racist past, declared racism a public health crisis, and contained six initial strategies to create systems change.
  • HR 6 which declares racism a public health crisis was adopted by the Oregon House in 2021
  • In 2022, the Task Force successfully passed HB 4052 with three strategies designed to improve the health and well being of people impacted by racism
  • In 2023, OPHA is leading the efforts with Task Force members to pass HB 2918 to continue funding the mobile health units included in HB 4052 and HB 2925 which extends the timeline for the state agencies tasked in HB 4052, the Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office and the Oregon Health Authority


  • The Disability Section helps plan the conference and ensure that disabilities are considered throughout the planning process and on site. Section members make themselves available to attendees with a disability to make the most of that person's conference experience, working with the planners, presenters, and moderators as much as possible.

    • All rooms are inspected to be sure there is space for wheelchairs or other mobility impairment accommodation.
    • All presenters and moderators are instructed to keep disabilities in mind. 
    • Continued efforts are made to ensure our conference is accessible including exploring closed captioning options
  • Continued efforts to ensure our marketing materials and social media posts are accessible using alternative text on photos and high contrast and large fonts.

See Full Timeline Here.