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Meet the Spring and Fall 2017-18 Oregon Health Authority VISTA Teams

Welcome 26 public health professionals who have joined the Oregon Health Authority AmeriCorps VISTA team from around the country. In a year of national service they will help build Oregon's capacity to reduce poverty and improve public health.




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Map view of all Oregon Health Authority VISTAs with their locations, projects and contact information.

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Brittni Blanco joined the team for her second year as our Spring VISTA Leader! She earned a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of California, Davis. Before stepping into this role she served as an OHA VISTA at the Multnomah County Health Department in the WIC program. Her biggest accomplishment was coordinating WIC's presence at the Mt. Hood Community College Head Start Enrollment & Health Fair where WIC made contact with just over 200 families! Brittni is hoping to return to school for nursing and has a passion to work in women’s health. She also trained as a doula with the International Center for Traditional Childbearing and intends to certify through Birthingway College of Midwifery in the next year. She sees nursing as the perfect segue into midwifery and public health work, addressing and working to reduce health disparities and inequities in communities of color. She is dedicated to bringing doula perspective and a holistic approach to the nursing/healthcare field. During college she volunteered as a DJ and had her very own music show at UC Davis!

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Shannon Marble joins us from Davie, Florida and is a recent graduate from the University of Florida, majoring in health education. Shannon is serving with the Oregon Health Authority Health Systems Division in Salem as the Young Adult Engagement VISTA. Shannon has over 3 years of experience with coaching and volunteer coordination during her work with Balance 180, a nonprofit for various adaptive sports classes for children with special needs in Gainesville, Florida. She also worked as a full-time disaster services intern at the American Red Cross in Northeast Florida. Shannon is considering a Master of Social Work or Public Health, and would ideally like to address access to health care and policy work. One fun fact about Shannon is that she used to travel the world as a baton-twirler for over 10 years!
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Amy Wilson is a local recruit from Hillsboro, OR and a graduate of public health studies from Oregon State University. She is serving at the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland. She previously worked in Benton County implementing deliverables from a well-water testing grant in underserved rural communities. She also interned with Linn County Public Health, coordinating and producing a grant proposal to fund environmental clean-up! Amy hopes to eventually obtain her Master of Public Health in epidemiology, and in the long term hopes to work as a program coordinator and epidemiologist for a nonprofit or government agency that provides comprehensive public health services. In her spare time, Amy loves to bake and binge on cooking shows.

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Tammy Yamamoto recently finished serving with the Oregon State Service Corps program with the American Red Cross, and is joining our team to serve with Washington County Public Health bringing her rich experience and knowledge in disaster preparedness. She earned her Bachelor of Science in natural resources and multicultural leadership, and was also a member of Xi Sigma Pi (National Forestry Honor Society). Tammy hopes to always be in a job where she can use her experience to serve others, and is very interested in causes surrounding education and community resiliency. She enjoys photography and doing arts and crafts in her spare time, and hopes to start a small business someday where she can share her hobbies with others.

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Augusta Herman will be serving at the Multnomah County Health Department in the Director's Office working on public health communications. Augusta is a local recruit from the Portland area; she received her bachelor's degree in medical anthropology from Creighton University and her Master of Public Health from Boston University, focusing on social and behavioral sciences and global health. Augusta provided her talents as a research assistant while in Boston, where she gained experience in project management, data analysis, and evaluation; some of her projects involved evaluating unsuccessful community health worker intervention in Vietnam, perceptions of maternal vaccination in Zambia, and mental health treatment by Liberian traditional healers. She was also a student consultant for Massachusetts General Hospital and designed an intervention and communication strategy for reducing youth access to tobacco.  She is glad to bring her service to the Pacific Northwest, and hopes to work as a public health consultant specializing in cross-cultural experiences. In her spare time, she enjoys playing racquetball. 

Kyle Williams Brown joins the OHA VISTA team for his second term of service as our Fall team VISTA Leader! He was a member on our fall 2016 team where he served in McMinnville at Yamhill Community Care Organization, focusing on health equity. He attended Western Washington University and majored in philosophy and minored in chemistry. Kyle’s past volunteer experience includes volunteering as an advocate for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services helpline. Eventually, he hopes to attend medical school. Something unique about Kyle is that he has never tasted Pepsi!

Amber Madigan relocated to Oregon from Colorado Springs, Colorado. She will be serving with Coos Health & Wellness in North Bend where her projects will focus on accreditation and promoting breastfeeding friendly places. She earned a degree in health & society with a minor in biology from Doane University. Amber volunteered her time as an EMT and firefighter in Crete, Nebraska. She also completed a summer internship at Denver Health with the infectious disease department. Amber eventually hopes to attend medical school to become a surgeon. Amber’s unique assets include her ability to eat ice cream at any time of the day!

Drew Docter joins our team from Madison, Wisconsin and will be serving with Deschutes County Health Services in Bend. His project will focus on increasing access to quality healthcare for adolescents and young adults. He earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and earned certificates in both global health and environmental studies. During college, he had the opportunity to travel to Nepal as part of a community healthcare delivery course and worked alongside members of a rural Nepali village to repair a school damaged during the 2015 earthquakes. This past year, he had to the opportunity to tutor students of various ages who were studying to gain their high school equivalency. Drew would like to pursue higher education and return to school for his Master of Public Health. In his free time, Drew enjoys backpacking and would like to visit all of the National Parks in his lifetime! 

Jackson Storm relocated from Norman, Oklahoma to serve with Jefferson County Health Department where he will work on accreditation and health equity-related projects. He graduated from Dartmouth College where he studied geography. Jackson volunteered as an EMT with Dartmouth Emergency Medical Services, a student-run emergency responder service. He worked as a research assistant to investigate the environmental risk factors of ALS. He also interned at the Dartmouth organic farm. Jackson is excited to learn more about social and public health services and how they differ across the U.S. before eventually attending medical school. An interesting fact about Jackson is that he still eats his favorite childhood snack: cottage cheese and applesauce!

Lauren Thomas is a native Oregonian and will be serving in the Washington County Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to work on community engagement and outreach. She studied public health promotion & health behavior at Oregon State University. She interned with the Center for Social Medicine in a rural village in India. Lauren also worked as a weight loss coach for two years. This coming fall she will be on her way to getting her Master of Public Health in health management and policy!

Sarah Shin relocated to Portland from Fontana, California where she’ll be serving in OHA's Injury & Violence Prevention Section as the Opioid Data Coordinator. She graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a degree in anthropology. Before VISTA, Sarah worked as a research assistant and produced a paper that conceptualized pathways to initiation and heightened use among African American female cocaine users. She also had the opportunity of volunteering at a women’s shelter with her sorority. In the future, she sees herself continuing her education and getting her PhD in anthropology and eventually becoming a professor. Sarah loves to rock climb and she is obsessed with pugs! 

Meghan Field is a Portland native and will be serving with Umatilla County Public Health to lead the Year of Wellness campaign and accreditation. She studied an array of courses in social science including urban geography, public health and urban planning at Portland State University. She has worked as a personal trainer in a gym and has worked with many individuals from all kinds of backgrounds. When she was 18, she volunteered at Loaves and Fishes senior center in Southeast Portland, feeding seniors and visiting with them. Meghan hopes to return to school to obtain a Master of Public Health or graduate degree in geography. She believes her time as a VISTA is just the opportunity that she needs to accomplish her long term goals of achieving a higher degree of discipline and improving her written and verbal communication skills. Meghan prides herself in making dad jokes and puns in every situation! Her ultimate life goal is to provide laughter to strangers, family, and friends.

Erin Scionti relocated to Pendleton from New Haven, Connecticut and will be serving with Umatilla County Public Health as the Community Health Improvement Planning (CHIP) VISTA. For the past three years, she worked for Simply Smiles, a non-profit organization focused in Oaxaca, Mexico and on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. She spent time on the reservation planning nutritious meals for the community and volunteers, hosting a daily summer camp, organizing a youth leadership program, and facilitating a youth wellness and suicide prevention program. Erin is dedicated to learning and gaining many experiences during her VISTA year. Eventually, she’d like to continue her education in a public health-related field. One thing unique about Erin is that she was the president of her school’s rock climbing club.

Seth Henderson joins our team from Cameron, Texas to serve in St. Helens at the Public Health Foundation of Columbia County, working on public health accreditation. He received his Master of Public Health in health policy and management from Texas A&M University, and his bachelor’s degree in health promotion from the University of North Texas. Seth also received his Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) certification. Before VISTA, Seth helped worked on designing community health assessments at the local health department and worked on quality improvement. Seth hopes to become the director of a health department and would potentially like to pursue a law degree. One thing unique about Seth is that the only time he’s left the U.S. was to study abroad in China!

Jenny Bennett joins the team from Tallahassee and Jacksonville, Florida. She will be serving at Yamhill County Public Health in McMinnville where her work will focus on building county-wide partnerships with a focus on those living in poverty with lack of access to health care services, affordable housing, and healthful food. Previously, she interned with a nonprofit, Girls On The Run and worked to empower young girls to recognize their limitless potential. More recently, she worked with Jacksonville’s growing homeless population to gain safe and stable housing. Jenny envisions herself returning to school to pursue a degree in public administration and focus her work in nonprofit management. In her free time, she finds herself watching The Office!

Bert Cramer joins the team from Cambridge, Maryland to serve with Coos Health & Wellness, focusing on emergency preparedness. He earned a bachelor’s degree in development sociology from Cornell University and continued to pursue his education, earning his master’s degree in politics & security from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Academy, as well as a Master of Science in disaster resilience leadership science from Tulane University. He has served with both Peace Corps and Peace Corps Response in Kyrgystan. He also worked as a graduate research assistant for the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana. After VISTA, he hopes to work in the public sector for disaster management with an emphasis on translational research. One fun fact about Bert: he loves spicy food!

John Schmiedl joins our team from Chicago, Illinois to serve in Salem with Marion County Emergency Management. He double majored in public health and emergency management at St. Louis University and has worked as a nature counselor for six summers at a summer camp. This past year, John worked as a track and field coach and personal tutor at Loyola Academy. He looks forward to learning more about the recovery phase of the emergency management process, and its intersection with behavioral/mental health. Career wise, he hopes to pursue a master’s degree or apply to law school. Something unique about John is that he’s never left the country!

Kendra McSheridan joins our team from Burlington, Washington and is serving with the Student Nutrition and Activity Clinic for Kids (SNACK) program to work on outreach and program development. She recently graduated with her bachelors in exercise science from Linfield College. Before beginning VISTA, she interned with the SNACK program and worked as an Anatomy TA during college. She has ample experience volunteering throughout the McMinnville community. She intends to go to graduate school in a medical/health-related field. Kendra spent all of June traveling around Europe!

Peter Ngo returns to the team for his second term of service in OHA's Injury & Violence Prevention Section as the Opioid Data and Outreach Coordinator VISTA! Over the past year, he served with the OHA Public Health Division on health equity, language, and accessibility of services. He graduated from Southern Methodist University with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Bachelor of Arts in creative advertising. Previously, he worked as a hotline operator and hospital advocate for the Dallas Area Rape Crises Center and organized a Take Back the Night rally on his college campus. Peter would like to go to medical school while also obtaining a Master of Public Health. He hopes to become a women’s healthcare provider, address women’s health disparities on urgent issues like maternal mortality and opioid abuse. Peter considers himself to be a closeted hippie!

Chris Partipilo comes to Portland from Corvallis, Oregon where he recently graduated with his Master of Public Health in human development & family studies from Oregon State University. He is serving with Multnomah County Environmental Health in the Healthy Homes program with a focus on outreach in the refugee community. Chris worked as a graduate research assistant on the Kindergarten Readiness Study at Oregon State University. He worked with a team to assess and develop interventions to improve self-regulation for children entering the formal school system. Something unique about Chris is that he was adopted from South Korea and his master’s thesis focused on the experiences of transracial adoptees using cultural services during their upbringing and it's relation to substance usage in adulthood. He is certainly motivated to serve in a position where he can positively affect various outcomes for marginalized and underserved populations.

Jill Robinson comes to us from Boston, Massachusetts to serve with the Oregon Health Authority Health Systems Division, focusing on family behavioral health in Salem. She studied women’s and gender studies with a concentration on globalization, poverty, and human rights at Georgetown University. Prior to VISTA she was a staff assistant in donor relations at Harvard, stewarding donors and alumni on behalf of the university president. Eventually, Jill would like to pursue her Master of Public Health with a concentration on health policy and global health. An interesting fact about Jill is that she is tone, pitch, and rhythm deaf, but she can differentiate colors and hues near perfectly!

Julian Diaz relocated to Portland from Atlanta, Georgia. He is serving in the Oregon Health Authority's Public Health Division with a project focus on statewide health equity. Before joining the team, he worked at the CDC in the National Center for HIV, Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention Center policy office. Julian is dedicated to reducing and eliminating health disparities due to socioeconomic status and race through policy. He received his Master of Public Health with an emphasis in health policy from Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. He’s unique in that he’s fluent in Spanish!

Kevin Clark joins the team from Baker City, Oregon to serve with Tillamook County Public Health and leading the “Year of Wellness” campaign, engaging community partners to support the campaign. He graduated from Eastern Oregon University and majored in physical activity & health. Previously, he worked in the Get Outside After School Activity Program during his final year of college. The program aimed to teach adolescents aged 12-15 fun, non-competitive outdoor activities and cancer prevention knowledge. He also worked as a security officer for three years at Eastern Oregon University. Kevin would like to eventually go to graduate school to continue his education in public health and wellness. Something unique about Kevin is that he is a self-proclaimed hacky sack champion!

Robert Bauman relocated to Newport from Richland, Washington to serve with Lincoln County Public Health in Newport to work on health equity related projects. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in political science. Last summer he had the opportunity to intern in the state offices of US Senator Maria Cantwell. Robert would like to go back to school for his Master of Public Policy. On the long term, he would like to work in public service in some capacity. An interesting fact about Robert is that he competed on a game show on ESPN this past year!

Anders Kass will be serving with Linn County Public Health in Albany, focusing on emergency preparedness. His first term of service was with Heart of Oregon Corps Youth Build in Bend where he wrote grants and worked on improving development resources. He attended Linfield College where he studied psychology. Anders has also interned with YouthMOVE Oregon, a nonprofit organization, working as a Peer Support Specialist for six months. In the future, Anders would like to pursue a Master of Social Work and eventually work his way into the youth advocacy field. An interesting fact about Anders is that he had a brain tumor at the age of twelve.

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