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Cover for the ORPRN 2023 Impact Report

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Mission Statement

ORPRN's mission is to improve health and equity for all Oregonians through community engaged research, education, and policy.

Diversity Commitment

ORPRN is committed to building and sustaining a diverse, equitable, inclusive and anti-racist organization. We do so by evaluating how we develop and support our workforce, the partnerships we uphold and how we engage in community-partnered dialogue, research, coaching and education throughout Oregon.

Message from the Director

Melinda Davis
Melinda Davis, PhD. Photo by Christine Torres
I have so much I want to tell you that it’s hard to know where to start. Mostly I’m buoyed by gratitude for our team and teamwork, opportunities to connect with many of you online and in person, and a portfolio of work that advances health and health equity across Oregon through research, education and health policy.  
I would like to share a few examples of current work from the first half of the year that highlight ORPRN’s commitment to advancing partnerships with community-serving programs in and outside OHSU. I believe this drive toward collaboration versus competition is driven by our rural roots – that working together is what will allow us to thrive. Highlights from ORPRN's three programs (Research, Education, Health Policy) include:

  • The ORPRN Research Program has integrated its facilitation team and various regional staff with OHSU’s Community Outreach, Research and Engagement (CORE) Program to advance capacity, trust and partnership in service of our academic collaborators and community members. CORE is led by three programs at OHSU that support community-academic partnerships and facilitate community engaged research. Every week, CORE team leads review a list of academic and community-based requests for project assistance. We look at fit and capacity, then route potential collaborations to the right programs for intake and follow-up. Because ORPRN is now integrated with CORE, we can work more seamlessly with regional teams and generate new cross-program collaborative projects. 
  • Members of the ORPRN Education Program have worked closely with the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health (SPH) to advance public health professional workforce development. Initiatives have included developing and delivering two Public Health Preceptor Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) cohorts with another offered in Fall 2024 (Click here to register). The ORPRN team has also helped assess the needs of diverse rural learners, public health professionals, and OHSU-PSU SPH alumni to inform strategies which meet the needs of rural learners, and support alignment with existing rural-serving programs and future collaborative partners.
  • I have been pleased to work closely with OHSU School of Medicine Leaders to highlight ORPRN’s reach across the state and further share the network’s 2019-2023 Impact Report. In the past few months, our team’s work related to behavioral health has been presented to the Governor’s office, contributed to spotlights in the OHSU Bridges Magazine, and garnered award nominations to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) for our Education Team’s work with Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO) program to advance behavioral health models of care.  
  • Our ORPRN Health Policy Program continues to be an asset and resource to the Oregon Health Authority, CCOs, clinics and community-based programs across Oregon. The team is advancing multiple projects to help the health care system build bridges between clinical sites and community resources to address social needs and the social determinants of health. Notably, they have helped partners to develop resources related to implementing social needs screening and referral and to assess traditional health worker payment models. Program Director Nancy Goff and Kirsten Aasen are working in partnership with Dr. Dan Hoover from the Division of Addiction Medicine to stand up a Deflection Technical Assistance (TA) Center that will provide 2 years of support to county teams. 
  • Across ORPRN’s programs, staff are sharing the results from several large-scale studies conducted in collaboration with clinical practices and health plans across the state (and nationally). This includes attending national conferences to present key results, publishing in scientific journals, and sharing findings back to health care providers and staff. Studies focus on a breadth of topics addressing real-world issues in areas such as vaccinations, access to care, cancer screening, advanced care planning, unhealthy alcohol or substance use, and eczema in babies. 
  • Finally, we are excited conduct a listening tour in 6 rural regions across the state in partnership with the Oregon Office of Rural Health (ORH).  Led by Sarah Anderson (ORH) and Maggie McClain McDonnell (ORPRN), our teams worked with Area Health Education Center Leaders and regionally based OHSU CORE team members to listen to health system leaders from Bandon to Baker to Astoria on pressing health care needs. The report from these sessions will be released in June and used to guide program priorities and efforts.  
  • In my nearly 20 years at OHSU, it feels really rewarding to be recognized by the broader institution for our reach, collaboration, and impact across Oregon. I believe this willingness to partner has led ORPRN to be a go-to resource to support applied research, education and health policy projects in partnership with faculty and departments across OHSU, with funding support from diverse regional, state, and federal partners (e.g., Oregon Health Authority, Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ), American Diabetes Association). Increasingly, ORPRN program leads, and staff are being invited to serve as experts on regional and national panels and boards. As the network continues to evolve, our program leads strive to keep the impact of our work front and center. The creative development of new research and projects helps create synergies across the ORPRN team in topic areas like behavioral health, unmet social needs, chronic disease, workforce development, and community engagement/cross-sector collaboration.  

    It’s an exciting time for the network and I’m grateful to be part of this team.  

    — Melinda Davis, Ph.D., ORPRN Director