By Jocelyn Lang
In September, the Oregon Health Authority/AmeriCorps* VISTA Partnership Project welcomed 19 new VISTA members to its team. As Volunteers In Service To America, the full VISTA team now stands at 29 members — the largest team yet! Some VISTAs are local Oregonians, while others have traveled from around the country, including California, Connecticut, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Washington.
Each VISTA has a project focus for their year of service. Combined, these projects support the Partnership’s goal to reduce poverty in local communities through building sustainable countywide wellness initiatives and taking a systems-approach to creating healthy communities. Some of the team members’ project areas include public health agency accreditation, health equity, coordinated care organizations, emergency medical services, the Healthy People program, and the Medical Reserve Corps.
VISTAs hit the ground running last month and have already been busy attending conferences, building local partnerships, creating evaluation tools, recruiting volunteers, developing wellness plans, and much, much more. Chelsa Greene, a VISTA working with the Medical Reserve Corps in Washington County says of the program, “My VISTA year is off to an amazing start! The staff at Washington County have been welcoming and supportive of my transition into a new state, job and field of work. It is already obvious that the level of personal and professional development that I will experience throughout my VISTA year will prepare me for graduate school and allow me to explore and discover the niche of public health that suits me best.”
Although only in their positions for a few weeks, VISTAs are already a strong presence at their worksites. Mimi Haley, who has been working with VISTA Jaclyn Testani at Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization since late August stated, “Jaclyn is already a critically important member of the team. Go Jaclyn!”
Stay tuned for updates on the team’s projects throughout the year.
For more information about becoming a VISTA with this program contact VISTA Leader Jocelyn Lang.
Next: A Medical Reserve Corps for Curry County