OHSU Community Research Across Oregon

There are five regions  (Central OregonSouth CoastNorth CoastSouthern OregonColumbia River Gorge) where the Community Research Liaisons have developed targeted strategies that will sustain research activities in those communities. Partnerships in Eastern Oregon are also in development. 

What's new - Liaison regions:

The Gorge: 

Chelsea was accepted into the MPH program at Oregon State University! She will start the part-time track this fall while continuing to work as the Liaison for her region. Chelsea is excited to invest in her future and develop public health skills to support her community.

Family Baby Association (FBA)

Chelsea is working with the FBA, a local breastfeeding coalition, to develop and execute a needs assessment to understand barriers women experience with breastfeeding. Chelsea and Liz Wenzel, Research Associate at OCTRI Evaluation Core, adapted a needs assessment with 200 women who shared their experiences with breastfeeding. Liz and Chelsea have coordinated participatory analysis virtual meetings with the FBA to share results and discuss recommendations for next steps. In addition, Chelsea provided coalition support leading group discussions to develop a mission and vision statement to recruit key opinion leaders to attend monthly meetings and create a training plan for providers.

Columbia Gorge Postpartum Support

Chelsea is working with Columbia Gorge Postpartum Support, a new nonprofit that provides lactation and postpartum doula care to families, to provide data to Pacific Source on the impact of postpartum doulas have on reducing postpartum depression, other mood disorders, and reducing the cost for health care systems. Currently, postpartum doulas are not covered by insurance. In addition, Christina Jaderholm worked with this organization to apply to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to funding a research project evaluating the impact of the postpartum doula model on reducing health disparities and improving maternal mental health.

Teen Suicide Risk

Chelsea has been leading an effort to reduce suicide risk in teens by organizing virtual clubs that offer an opportunity for students to connect with their peers from high schools all throughout the Gorge. These virtual clubs are engaging for the students in activities that are fun and stimulating outside of the classroom. In addition, Chelsea recruited organizations associated with suicide prevention throughout the region to join advisory team. The goal of the advisory team is to develop training for students, support the virtual clubs, and organize background check metric for all adults who volunteering in the program.

Community Health Advocacy and Research Alliance (CHARA)

CHARA, the research coalition for the Gorge, is working with One Community Health organization and Providence Health System to support the residency program in the region. All residents in the program have to conduct a research project during their residency. CHARA supports residents by:

Assisting them selecting a research project relevant to the community

Connecting them with community partners

Reviewing data

Providing technical support

 For any questions or information contact Chelsea

Bright yellow orchard in Columbia River Gorge area with rolling green hillsides behind
Gorge Region

North Coast:   

Steven partnered with three organizations in Clatsop County to gather input from the Hispanic community regarding their thoughts about money coming to the community from the American Recovery Act for COVID relief and how it should be prioritized and spent. The organizations were Consejo Hispano, Public Health, and Wellville. The Hispanic community faces disproportionate health and economic impacts from the pandemic, and the partnering organizations wanted to help the county government reach out to the Hispanic community for feedback.

To get as much feedback as possible, with only a ten-day window in which to work, the partners went to two soccer games where the Latino families regularly congregated. The partners created an activity that included 10 jars, each labeled in Spanish with a different spending priority, e.g. housing assistance, broadband, access to health care, etc. Consejo Hispano volunteers distributed $100 dollars to over 50 participants. The participants were then asked to use their play money to vote on their priorities. The top two votes were for Assistance with Childcare and then good Paying Jobs. The findings were then submitted to the Board of County Commissioners and county government management.

For any questions or information contact Steven                      

Large bridge and old pylons in a bay near the North Coast of Oregon
North Coast

South Coast:   

Through the Project Assistance Program, the South Coast Equity Coalition (SCEC) was introduced to the Oregon Health Equity Alliance, which led to the opportunity of being connected to other groups focused on regional equity work around the state. These connections have helped identify next steps for the newly formed coalition. Sylvia, also a member of SCEC, led a sub-committee to compile existing data on health inequities in Coos County. Due to gaps in existing data, SCEC decided to collect additional data on SCEC priority areas. Results will be available December 2020 along with a marketing and outreach plan to introduce the new coalition to the community.

In her CHE role, Sylvia Miller is working with Paige Farris and Rachel Crist of CORE to conduct Interviews for Knight Cancer Center’s Research Capacity Project. The purpose of this study is to understand the regional landscape in terms of resources, barriers and facilitators to support cancer prevention and control research and trials in Coos and Curry Counties. They have expanded interviews to non-medical organizations to give a “big picture” view of cancer research and prevention in the South Coast Region. Next steps consist of data analysis and forming focus groups. More to come!  For any questions or information contact Sylvia

White lighthouse on the South Coast of Oregon at sunset
South Coast
New Liaison Regions Map
Sparks Lake
Central Oregon

Central Oregon:   

Knight Scholars Program

The Knight Scholars Program was entirely online this summer and went off beautifully after the team worked tirelessly to create and execute meaningful online experiences for both the Introduction and Immersion Programs. The students worked hard, learned amazing things, and went away with memorable experiences. In Central Oregon, we had four students complete the ten-week Immersion Program; two from Culver High School and two from Madras High School. These are the community research projects the four students chose to research and present: Neuroblastoma in Newborns and Children, HPV and Cervical Cancer, Access to Healthcare in Native American Communities, and Rural vs Urban Women & Cancer. Very proud of all the students and wishing two of them good luck as they head off to college this fall! We look forward to seeing them all again next summer!

Mothers and Babies

Mothers and Babies is an evidence-based program that has been highlighted as one of the most effective interventions for the prevention of postpartum depression and has a proven record of success. It is guided by cognitive behavioral therapy and attachment theory and is being scaled throughout the U.S. and internationally. Before COVID-19 Central Oregon hosted a training (led by our own Laura Campbell!) for 58 facilitators who would then take the Mothers and Babies program and host it in their own communities. This summer a grant was secured through the Oregon Community Foundation creating the opportunity to host Mothers and Babies trainings for the first time in Central Oregon since the pandemic began. The groups will be online/virtual and support up to 40 mothers in the tri-county area. These groups will be especially important to help support mothers in Central Oregon who may be experiencing postpartum depression during the very isolating COVID-19 pandemic. We are excited to potentially touch the lives of so many mothers in Central Oregon during this extremely challenging.

Southern Oregon:   

Wildfire Impact on Maternal Child Health in Klamath County

We are planning a new project with Klamath County Public Health and the Pacific Northwest Center for Translational Environmental Health Research. This project is aimed at developing a study on the impact of wildfire smoke on maternal-child health. The Klamath County Public Health’s Infant Mortality Work Group has identified infant health as a priority, given that the infant mortality rate is consistently higher than the state of Oregon, with a rate of 10.1 deaths per 1,000 live births in Klamath, compared to 5.4 in Oregon (data as of 2017).

At the present, we are forming a community member and expert committee to formulate this research study. The committee will review and discuss:  

  • Current efforts and challenges
  • Ideas around study design
  • Data collection tools
  • Associated data sets
  • Data analysis
  • Potential interventions

The committee will meet monthly through March 2022 then launch the pilot project thereafter.

Food Deserts in Tribal Health Patient Populations

Lynda works with Tribal Health on a variety of health improvement issues. Earlier this year, a new partnership was formed with a local farmer, Sweet Union Farm owned and operated by Katie Swanson, and Tribal Health.  Aislyn Ukpik, the Diabetes Management Program Coordinator, leads this project for Tribal Health.  A local chef, the owner of Terra Veg, Liz Arraj, provides recipes for the project’s weekly newsletters based on the week’s produce selection.  A local RD from Sky Lakes has also created YouTube cooking videos the participants can view. Lynda continues to assist with vegetable storage tips, as well as overseeing the newsletter content for relevance and applicability to the target population.

Sweet Union Farm provides a food basket of fresh seasonal, locally grown vegetables to federally enrolled Tribal Members who have been referred to the Veggie RX program by the Medical Provider, Registered Dietitian, or YFGC Prevention Counselor. Sweet Union Farm delivers to the Klamath Tribal Administration offices. These boxes are either picked up or delivered to tribal members enrolled in the Veggie RX program. 40 families are participating in this CSA/Veggie RX project. The partners will conduct a project evaluation as this project comes to an end, but feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with participants not only using and enjoying the produce, but some have also developed their own recipes!

Knight Scholars Shine in Southern Oregon

High school students from Klamath Falls participated in the Knight Scholars Program. Two of the students presented on mental health issues in cancer patients. The students reflected that “The patient’s mental health is not something looked at right away but should be”. The students found one out of three cancer patients are diagnosed with mental illness during or after their treatment. In addition, the students learned that doctors warn patients about the physical side effects, but not always about the mental health side effects. Statistically, they found that “cancer patients are twice as likely to die from suicide”. In conclusion, these Scholars suggested that “the next steps for the future” is to encourage oncologists or the cancer care team to address mental health issues as a side effect of the disease with patients “because everyone wants to provide the best care and the best survival”.

 For any questions or information contact Lynda

Aerial view of Klamath Falls at sunrise in Southern Oregon with foothills in the background
Southern Oregon