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Hello DHS,

I'm doing a written message this week, as I will continue to do from time to time. Written messages work best when we need to concentrate on words and their meaning, and today I want to begin a conversation about our Core Values.

As I've said before, we are a new DHS. The legislature didn't just create a new agency in the Oregon Health Authority when it passed HB 2009. It created a new agency here in the Department, and this gives us an opportunity to renew and reaffirm our fundamental mission and values.

Our mission, of course, continues to be to help Oregonians in their own communities achieve wellbeing and independence through opportunities that protect, empower, respect choice and preserve dignity. This is our purpose as an organization and the way we work toward our vision of safety, health and independence for all Oregonians.

We achieve our mission through specific goals and by embracing our Core Values. Our Core Values represent our commitment to how we treat each other, our partners, and our customers.

Values are important in life and at work, and, even though DHS is made up of thousands of individuals, it's important that we all share some basic values that help define who we are and how we want to relate to our customers and co-workers.

As a new DHS, we are still committed to our Five Core Values: Integrity, Stewardship, Responsibility, Respect and Professionalism. Those values have served us very well, and they will not change.

In addition to these five, we have embraced two new values. They are Innovation and Service Equity. Our newest values are needed as we learn from the past and embrace both our present and our future.

As we re-engineer our service delivery models to focus more on a proactive, preventative approaches to our work - our mission won't change. But the way we achieve our mission must change, particularly if we are to continue to provide excellent service in a world of increased need and diminished resources.

An express commitment to Innovation and Service Equity represent some of the change in the way we should approach our work as we move forward.

By Innovation I mean we must strive to be smarter/faster/better in all things, as we continuously and intentionally seek to improve the work we do and the ways in which we do it.

By Service Equity I mean building upon our existing core value of respect to ensure that every interaction with our customers and with each other guarantees fair treatment, access, opportunities and advancement, and inclusion.

Our Core Values, both personal and professional, influence the way we see ourselves and the way we relate to others. Here at DHS, our work will continue to be done with Integrity, Stewardship, Responsibility, Respect and Professionalism - and now with a commitment to Innovation and Service Equity.

In the coming months, we'll dive deeper into how our Core Values influence our every day work together. In preparation for that, I am asking that everyone take a few minutes to take a brief survey about the Core Values, how you see those values in action in your work and some options for training.

The survey is online at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/925RDP6

I encourage you to complete the survey to help guide us as we create the new DHS together.

Have a great week and thank you for all you do for Oregon's children, adults, seniors and families.

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