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DHS news release

Feb. 25, 2004

Contact: Bonnie Widerburg (503) 731-4180

DHS names new multicultural health administrator

James Mason, Ph.D., has been hired as administrator of the Office of Multicultural Health in the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS).

Since 2002, Dr. Mason has been Multicultural Development Officer at Chemeketa Community College in Salem. He is also currently a senior project consultant at the National Center of Cultural Competence at Georgetown University.

"The Governor's Racial and Ethnic Task Force has identified persistent, significant health problems unique to Oregon's racial and ethnic communities," said Barry Kast, assistant DHS director for Health Services. "Dr. Mason is well prepared to organize our efforts and work with our public health programs to confront these problems."

Kast said that key factors in Mason's selection were his ability to relate cultural issues to health policy, along with his experience in behavioral health, an ability to engage communities of color and organizational and management skills in bringing people together to produce change.

Mason holds a doctorate in urban studies with an emphasis on human resource development and organizational administration from Portland State University (PSU) and a bachelor's degree in psychology from PSU.

In 1998, he received a scholar award from the Mary Switzer Memorial Seminar in Lansing, Mich.

During the past 20 years, Mason has been a lecturer and instructor at PSU. He has also managed a diverse array of research and training projects at the university, many of which were related to service delivery and outreach to disadvantaged populations.

Mason, who has a strong interest in youth and children's issues, has volunteered on various community boards and committees.

The Office of Multicultural Health is focused on improving the status of underserved and under-represented populations. It plays a leadership role in bringing attention to communities of color, Indian tribal governments and other multicultural groups. The Office promotes culturally competent approaches in the design and delivery of health services and provides technical assistance to programs within DHS, as well as to county health departments, community-based organizations and coalitions.