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Message from Nancy Elder, ORPRN Director
ORPRN in 2020: Director’s Recap
As we come to the end of 2020, I think all of us would agree that this has been an amazingly stressful year! The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work, and has highlighted the existing racial injustice that exists within our academic and health systems. However, I want to take this time to share with you examples of resilience and dedication from the amazing organization that is ORPRN.
Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism: Along with the rest of OHSU and the country, ORPRN took time this year to examine its role in systemic racism and began working toward improvements both as a place to work and in our research and projects. Ten ORPRN staff have volunteered to serve on our new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Workgroup. Members of this group, along with myself and Alisa Jackson, ORPRN administrator, created our first Diversity Action Plan and presented it to the School of Medicine in late October. In it, we identified strategic goals and actions plans to guide improvement in staff recruitment and retention, creating a culture of inclusion and project and research partnerships. As we move into 2021, we will use this plan to guide us toward making ORPRN a more diverse place to work and our mission of improving health equity in Oregon.
Remarkable progress in ongoing research and projects: ORPRN is involved in more than two dozen projects at this time. Some are very small, while others are multi-million dollar, multi-year ventures. Here are some successes from a few of these projects:
- The Rural Oregon Adolescent Vaccine Enterprise (RAVE) is in the third year of a five-year trial to increase HPV immunization rates and close the rural/urban gap in these rates. Their recent publication (HPV immunization in rural Oregon primary care practices) highlights their early success. One participating practice increased their immunization rates by 15% in just one year. Key ORPRN team leaders are Brigit Hatch, Caitlin Dickinson and LJ Fagnan.
- Screening More patients for CRC (colorectal cancer) through Adapting and Refining Targeted Evidence-based Interventions in Rural settings (SMARTER CRC) is a Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot Initiative that completed its pilot year in 2020, and received funding for four additional years. Colorectal cancer rates are disproportionately high among rural and low income populations. The team was able to gather and incorporate rural patient and provider feedback using remote technologies to tailor mailed FIT screening messages and materials for rural, Medicaid enrollees. Despite multiple adjustments over the last six months due to COVID-related pressures, the most import take home message is: “Mailed FIT is pandemic proof!” Key ORPRN team leaders include Jen Coury and Melinda Davis.
- The Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO) Community Benefit Initiative Reinvestments (CBIR) program is an ongoing program in which ORPRN staff support EOCCO to best use their funds to support community agencies and healthcare organizations (including primary care offices) to apply for and make a difference in their communities with CBIR moneys. In 2019, approximately 29,000 eastern Oregonians were served by these projects, including better access to social services, help with quitting smoking, and more access to healthy food. Key ORPRN team leaders include Anne King and Martha Snow.
- pArtNerships To Enhance alCohol scrEening, treatment, anD intervention (ANTECEDENT) is beginning its second year to implement and improve screening for unhealthy alcohol use in primary care. Oregon’s alcohol use statistics and pronounced health disparities related to race/ethnicity, rurality, and economic status demonstrate a need for improvement and over 40 practices are already engaged in the project work. Key ORPRN Team leaders are Melinda Davis, Caitlin Dickinson, Nancy Elder and Erin Kenzie.
These are just a few of ORPRN’s accomplishments this tumultuous year – I haven’t even started on the success of the Oregon ECHO Network’s COVID-19 ECHO program for frontline clinicians and its new participation as a key site for the Nursing Facility COVID-19 Response ECHO in partnership with the ECHO Institute. And I really should highlight the continuing support of ORPRN and OEN Advisory Board members, who help keep our organization grounded in community. But, having run out of space, I will stop now, proud of the work that ORPRN has done in these most difficult of times.
— Nancy Elder, M.D., M.S.P.H.