As part of their statutory missions, the Commissions maintain an independent policy voice within the three branches of state government, collaborating with the Governor’s office, Senate President's and House Speaker's offices, legislators, and judicial branch, in support of mutual areas of public policy concern, addressing long standing issues and lifting lesser known but important policy areas into prominence with advocacy, equity-focused policy research, partnerships and community engagement.
Coordinating with community partners in preparation for long legislative sessions
At the Annual Joint Meeting of the Advocacy Commissions, the OCHA joins with the OCAPIA, OCBA, and OCFW to hear presentations from APANO, Coalition of Communities of Color and key community advocacy groups to discuss and coordinate support for equity related bills in the upcoming session.
OCHA’s Joint legislative days with the Oregon Latino Health Coalition, CAUSA, and PCUN
The OCHA historically joins its community partners including the Oregon Latino Health Coalition (OLHC), CAUSA, and PCUN for joint Legislative Days at the Capitol. OCHA Commissioners join the other attendees including Latino community and faith leaders, college students, parents and their children from around the state. The large group of participants gather in the Capitol to be welcomed with presentations from legislators and other leaders. OCHA Commissioners and others visit in small groups for scheduled meetings with individual legislators and caucus staff on primary issues including notario fraud, health coverage for children, Mental Health and Behavioral Health for Latinos, Social Studies Standards, farm worker protections and others.
Policy Research Partnerships
OCHA partnerships for foundational policy research and Advocacy for Mental Health (MH) for Latinos
Between 2017 and 2020, the Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs partnered with OHA, DHS, and a consortium of Latino community practitioners and experts statewide to prepare the first seminal report on MH and Latinos. OHSU, PSU, and New Mexico University partnered with OCHA and OHA/DHS to provide graduate students in Epidemiology and Social work to conduct the quantitative and qualitative portion of the studies as well as rural analysis of the findings. These are for-credit, unpaid research internships that provide added analysis, and research capability to state departments and the Advocacy Commissions on equity focused, applied policy research. The quantitative portion of the four underlying studies initiated by OCHA and its partners used OHA data on Latino access to Oregon MH services from 1990 – 2015, coupled with national and Oregon best practice review, literature review, and policy recommendations. In the legislative sessions and interim legislative committee meetings on Health, Mental Health, and the Governor’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council, the OCHA and its partners have provided informational testimony and supported bills that further more equitable MH and Behavioral Health (BH) services, culturally and linguistically relevant, and trauma-informed for Indigenous and Hispanic communities statewide. The MH and Latinos report and its underlying four quantitative and qualitative studies are now included as the foundational reading for legislative and governor’s committees on the subject and the policy recommendations are guiding bill wording. The studies, which identified school settings as the primary referral and service point for Latino children into the MH and BH systems, has also supported the Oregon Department of Education and the legislature in their Student Success policy work to identify MH services in schools with focus on areas of scarcity in rural locations as a formal part of student success statewide.
The Oregon MH and Latinos study has been presented widely in conferences across Oregon and will be part of a set of scholarly articles planned for publication in 2021. The Executive Summary and Final Report of MH and Latinos will be formally released in 2020.
OCHA partners with OCAPIA to host stakeholder convening for workforce pipeline and immigrant re-credentialing.