South Coast

Danita Tracy-Carter - OHSU Community Research Liaison

New South Coast liaison region map

Danita is located on the South Coast. Her region includes Coos, Curry, and Douglas counties.

If you would like to contact Danita, please email

Professional photo of Danita Tracy-Carter, OHSU Community Research Liaison for the South Coast.

Danita's role on the Community Engaged Research Team:

  • Facilitate the South Coast Research Coalition Advisory (SCRC) community champions for data-driven decision making
  • Support OHSU academic collaborators by engaging stakeholders and community members
  • Provide county level data and knowledge about the region, facilitate partnerships and projects, and data collection (e.g. focus groups, interviews, surveys)
  • Maintain membership and provide expertise to community public health
  • Assist community organizations in matching needs with OHSU resources
  • Support community partners and organizations working with the Campus for Rural Health student community-based project

South Coast Research Coalition (SCRC)

The South Coast Research Coalition has been active for two years in Coos County, and was formed after the OHSU community liaison conducted a community needs assessment. SCRC is composed of multiple decision makers in the community, and prioritizes teaching the academic research process to those community members who champion data-driven decision making. For the majority of that time, the priority area of SCRC has been gathering data around recruitment and retention workforce issues in order to find a common solution.

Project snapshot

White lighthouse on the South Coast of Oregon at sunset

Coos County Recruitment and Retention Survey

This is the first project of the South Coast Research Coalition, a university-community partnership. Members of SCRC identified recruitment and retention as an area they would like increased data around, and identified a published tool they would like to use. With SCRC’s help, one of the co-creators of the Apgar, Dr. Schmitz, visited Coos Bay.

The South Coast Research Coalition sought to discover why both the local education and healthcare sectors of Coos County suffer from recruitment and retention challenges. These challenges manifest themselves in many ways in the community, from poor access to care and the perception of quality. In searching for evidence-based interventions to address this research question, members of SCRC identified the Community Apgar tool. After unsuccessful attempts to gain funding in order to adjust the Community Apgar to meet the wishes of SCRC’s specific research question, SCRC designed an independent survey modeled after prior published work on the Community Apgar, with the co-creators approval.

Coos County suffers from poor recruitment and retention, both in the healthcare and education sector. A tool that would aggregate responses across different themes important to a community’s ability to recruit and retain is important to see what areas the community is doing well on, as well as what are challenges – with the hopes of the data giving a springboard for more robust community discussion around these challenges. Having sustainable levels of recruitment and retention across Coos County would result in the overall health of the population increase, by continuity of care and having individuals in the community who have a legitimate desire to be a part of the community.  This process allowed OHSU to develop their relationship in the community via teaching research around a community identified topic.

  • Sylvia Miller, South Coast Community Research Liaison 
  • Laura Campbell, OHSU Community Research Hub Program Manager
  • Jackie Shannon, OHSU Community Research Hub Director
  • South Coast Research Coalition

SCRC was able to build a relationship with the co-creators of the tool, Dr. Baker and Dr. Schmitz, which culminated in Dr. Schmitz visiting Coos Bay to discuss the Community Apgar. Local healthcare hospitals and clinics provided resources to make his visit possible. 

The South Coast Research Coalition directed the local community liaison to develop an independent recruitment and retention survey, based on the Community Apgar. This survey was completed with 23 respondents across the county. Results were aggregated with help of OHSU staff and interns, and data was presented back to SCRC and respondents of the survey itself. Larger dissemination of results to the community pending.

Future desired outcomes includes a more broad sharing of the survey data to the community at large. While more research around this topic is possible, SCRC recognizes they are a research committee as opposed to an implementation committee.

Lessons learned include capacity of the coalition to apply for large grant funding, and also scope of implementation.

While none is documented at this point, it is the goal of SCRC to give the data liberally, with the hope of it creating change.

Small rock island with pine trees on the South Coast of Oregon
Old pier pylons in the bay off of the South Coast of Oregon
Overview of a beach with a haystack rock off of the South Coast of Oregon at sunrise