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About Us

Who We Are

The Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Equity and Multicultural Services (OEMS) is responsible for:

  • Service Equity – ensuring DHS’s programs are available to all qualified Oregonians
  • Civil Rights, Affirmative Action, and Equal Opportunity – preventing discrimination and harassment and fostering a workforce that is representative of our state population
  • Workforce Diversity and Inclusion – supporting a work culture where the uniqueness of all people is welcomed and valued

Mission

The Office of Equity and Multicultural Services (OEMS) advances the mission of the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) by leading and empowering the agency to integrate equity, diversity, and inclusion into everything we do. ​

Vision

Every individual and community has dignity, respect and full measure of human rights.

Staff Biographies

  
  
Lydia MunizOEMS Director

​Since April 2013, Lydia Muñiz has served as the director of OEMS. Lydia brings over 23 years of state government experience working in programs that focus on providing services to underrepresented and underserved communities. Prior to coming to DHS she served as the Governor’s Advocate for Minority, Women and Emerging Small Businesses for 16 years.

Lydia has a long and distinguished career in state government and is respected for her leadership as well as her volunteerism in the community. In 2004 Lydia was awarded the Athena Award in recognition of her leadership in the areas of mentoring and providing support to women business owners. Lydia is a founding member of the Oregon State Hispanic Employees Network and in 1994 she was a founder of Scholarships for Oregon Latinos (a scholarship program at Chemeketa Community College targeting Latino students for higher education in the professional fields).

Lydia comes from a place of personal commitment from opening doors for others, to helping organizations reach their objectives of diversity and inclusion in the workplace to be a champion of opportunity and change for a better future. 

Since becoming the director of OEMS she has focused the office on providing leadership in two key areas; Service Equity, and Community Engagement.​

Marisa Salinas, J.D.Civil Rights - EEO Officer

Marisa Salinas graduated George Fox University with Bachelor of Arts in Social Work/Sociology and Spanish. Ms. Salinas later attended and graduated from Willamette University College of Law. After law school, Ms. Salinas was a recipient of a two year fellowship from Equal Justice Works (formerly the National Association for Public Interest Law). Ms. Salinas has dedicated her career to working with diverse communities in Oregon and ensuring that individuals’ civil rights are protected. Ms. Salinas’ interest in civil rights began with personal experiences as someone that is multiracial, the grandchild of migrant farmworkers and the sibling of a person with disabilities. Ms. Salinas has worked with Legal Aid Services of Oregon Farmworkers Program, the Oregon Judicial Department Citizen Review Board and volunteered as a board member on the Eugene Civilian Review Board. Ms. Salinas began working with the Department of Human Services in 2006 as a bilingual (Spanish) and ICWA permanency worker.

Jason MakDiversity and Inclusion Manager

Jason Mak currently serves as the DHS Diversity and Inclusion Manager. Jason graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s Degree in Ethnic Studies and did his graduate work in Asian American Studies at UCLA. With responsibilities for developing internal workforce Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, Jason has also served as the Diversity and Equity Manager at the City of Eugene; worked as the Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Analyst at Lane Community College; was the HR Recruitment Manager at Eugene School District; and taught Ethnic Studies courses as an adjunct instructor.

As a second generation Chinese American, Jason is actively involved in a number of local and national community groups and professional Diversity &Inclusion associations and enjoys mentoring and learning from the next generation of young leaders.

​Oscar HererraService Equity Manager

Oscar Herrera currently serves as the DHS Service Equity Manager. He has more than twenty years of experience in the field of human services, in the States of California and Oregon. Throughout his career, he has worked with diverse communities and populations in the delivery of social services. In California, he served as a direct family care worker, as a Child Protective Services Social Worker in Sacramento, and later as a Head Start Social Worker. He moved to Oregon in 1994 to accept a position as Supervisor for Oregon’s Migrant Head Start Program and in 1996 joined DHS as a Supervisor for Child Welfare Agency at the Marion County Branch. In 2009 Oscar was promoted to the International Case Consultant position for DHS, where he led statewide efforts to ensure compliance with international rights and treaties for immigrant, refugee and other intercultural individuals. He brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and skill to the field of service equity for the state of Oregon both professionally and personally.

As an immigrant from El Salvador Oscar holds a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business Administration from El Salvador, has 45 units toward a Social Worker Bachelor Degree from San Francisco Community College, and is fluent in Spanish and English. Oscar also studied languages in El Salvador and speaks Italian and Portuguese.

​Alec Esquivel, J.D.Civil Rights Investigator

Alec Esquivel started with DHS January 2013. He previously clerked for the Oregon Court of Appeals with the Honorable Darleen Ortega and Honorable Lynn Nakamoto. Alec received his law degree from Willamette College of Law and holds a B.A. in English with minors in Political Studies and Women’s Studies from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Currently, Alec is participating in the Graduate Conflict Resolution Program at Portland State University.

Alec enjoys spending time with his family and visiting extended family in Nebraska, where he was born and raised. Hobbies include: skiing, kayaking, Compassionate Communication, and watching end of the world movies.

​Emese Perfecto, J.D.Language Access Coordinator

Emese (pronounced Emma-Shay) Perfecto works with the Office of Equity and Multicultural Services (OEMS) as the Language Access Coordinator for DHS since April, 2014.

Emese has always had an interest in languages and culture, focusing on the nuances that make up “communication” in different languages. She grew up in a multicultural home speaking several languages. At OEMS, Emese filled a new position that was specifically identified for someone that not only has the background of more than one language, but also an understanding about social and cultural aspects of communication. Emese’s goal for DHS is to provide employees with the tools and the resources they need so they can close the language gap for many of our clients who receive services from DHS.

Emese’s background consists of 15 years’ experience in teaching and training, working for Lane County Legal Aid as the Latina Outreach Attorney assisting monolingual Spanish-speaking clients needing representation in Domestic Violence cases, attorney for EX/IM Bank under the UN in Hungary and Italy, and helped children orphaned by hurricane Mitch in Honduras.

​Shawn MessickDiversity & Inclusion Coordinator

Shawn Messick joined OEMS in January, 2015 as the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator where he applies his experience and insight to policy coordination and standing up intra-organizational evidence-based practices for OEMS program areas. Prior to joining DHS, he led Public Health informatics efforts at the Oregon Health Authority and the Multnomah County Health Department. He served on the Oregon Health Information and Technology Oversight Council/Legal and Policy Work Group and on the ePublic Health Committee of the National Association of City and County Health Officials. Mr. Messick is a veteran of the U.S. Army and graduated from the John Hopkins University with a BA in International Studies.

Prior to 2008, Shawn spent over 23 years leading and supporting international responses to alleviate human suffering in complex humanitarian emergencies. In the 1990s, he was a leader in developing the U.S. government operational policy and practice for complex interagency programs in Iraq, Bosnia, African Great Lakes, and Haiti/Cuba migration emergency at the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He served as the U.N. Humanitarian Field Coordinator in Liberia, where he also set up and managed the disarmament and demobilization program.

Shawn was part of the team that successfully translated the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines advocacy effort into a robust set of field assessment and management practices to eradicate landmines and unexploded ordnances. He was a leader in developing the policy, practice and organization for the United Nations’ field based information management structure supporting interagency coordination, interagency health information systems, and interagency logistics operations deployed in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bosnia Herzegovina, Pakistan, Iraq, and for the response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami (Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka).

​Douglas BloomDiversity & Inclusion Coordinator

Douglas Bloom has been a leader in the fields of communication, educational/counseling psychology and curriculum/lesson development for over thirty years. Douglas has provided mental health services, training and supervision at the Oregon State Hospital (OSH), and Multnomah County Health Department. He pioneered counseling and testing programs at State Corrections and Alcohol and Drug treatment facilities for adults and juveniles in both English and Spanish.

Douglas has extensive work around Cultural Diversity and Inclusion concepts. He developed and implemented “Connecting Generations” and “The Ladder of Inference and Micro-Aggressions” for regional and national conferences. He presented at Oregon’s Diversity Conference. From the University of Oregon’s Crisis Center to Business Transitions, Douglas brings a diverse and multi-ethnic perspective on generations of human behavior.

Mr. Bloom is currently with the Office of Equity and Multicultural Services (OEMS). Douglas is one of our Diversity and Inclusion Coordinators, and has been with OEMS since January, 2015. He has taken the lead on several projects including: the Services Equity Framework Campaign; Ask Diversity: An Introduction to PAUSE; and training and development and video production.

​Mariah ForrestADA Manager

Mariah Forrest earned a Master of Human Services Administration degree from Antioch New England Graduate School and has written policies and procedures, administered contracts, and performed management duties throughout her long career. She has been working in DHS for over 18 years in disability services and administration. Before working for the state, Mariah managed Head Start, employment, and senior housing programs.

Mariah is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor with seven years of experience as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. She provided employment assistance to youth in Minnesota through the state Job Service; Head Start parents in Coos and Curry Counties, Vocational Rehabilitation participants in Lincoln and Lane Counties, and currently assists DHS employees and managers regarding reasonable accommodations.

Mariah enjoys outdoor activities, particularly swimming, hiking, and canoeing, as well as spending time with her grandchildren.

​Diana WoodsExecutive Assistant

Diana Woods came to the Office of Equity and Multicultural Services in April, 2014 as the Executive Support Specialist at the request of the OEMS director. Previously with Tribal Relations Office, Diana has worked for the Department of Human Services for 10 years and with the State of Oregon for over 28 years.

Diana began her career with the Oregon Police Academy in Monmouth. Holding positions ranging from reception to curriculum testing to curriculum development, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in office procedure.

Diana was the executive support for the Tribal Affairs Unit of the Director’s Office for six years staffing committees such as the SB 770 and ICWA Advisory. Diana shares a passion for the work of OEMS and for providing service equity to all DHS customers in Oregon.

Diana spends much of her free time playing the hurdy gurdy (wheel violin).​​​​​​

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