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DHS news release

Jan. 4, 2007

Contact: Bonnie Widerburg, 971-673-1282

Project manager hired to oversee emergency planning for vulnerable populations

The Oregon Department of Human Services has selected Bill Riley as project manager and policy consultant for emergency preparedness planning for vulnerable populations.

This newly created position reflects DHS's commitment to find the best ways to communicate with and serve vulnerable populations during a crisis.

"During an emergency, it is especially important that we have effective ways to reach the many different communities and populations in Oregon," said Susan Allan, M.D., DHS Public Health Division administrator. "Hurricane Katrina was a dramatic reminder that people need different kinds of help provided in different ways."

The planning is intended to be flexible, recognizing that different groups are vulnerable in different kinds of emergencies. The planning process will include but not be limited to: racial and ethnic minorities, rural populations, seniors, children, the physically or mentally disabled, homeless individuals and migrant workers.

As project manager, Riley will manage the planning effort to see that these groups' needs are included in the statewide emergency planning that is under way. Another important aspect of his work is to communicate and coordinate with local governments, the Legislature, advocacy groups and project stakeholders. He also is expected to provide policy and communication advice to DHS leaders.

Riley, a Portland resident, has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a Master of Social Work from Syracuse University in New York. He was president of Gemini Consulting, a firm that worked on a variety of organizational projects but primarily helped government and non-profits develop consensus solutions on how best to spend tax dollars on services.

He also has managed non-profit residential service programs and worked in the areas of assistive technology, policy analysis, strategic planning, system development, and research and program development. Many of his projects focused on meeting the needs of, or interfacing with, vulnerable populations including the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, juveniles, those addicted to drugs and alcohol, Spanish-speaking individuals, and the HIV/AIDS community.

The DHS public health emergency preparedness planning program reaches across the state and intersects with many partners including local health departments, hospitals, private health care providers, and state and local emergency managers. Its goal is to ensure coordination occurs before, during and after public health events.