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Meet the Oregon Health Authority VISTA Team!

Welcome 30 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.



Ryan Schmidt joins the team as the Fall 2018-2019 VISTA Leader! Prior to joining the team, Ryan served as an AmeriCorps member with Impact America in Birmingham, Alabama, where he provided vision care. Now he is back in his hometown of Portland for a second service year. Ryan graduated with a degree in chemistry from Willamette University and hopes to attend medical school in the future. He is interested in practicing either ophthalmology, radiology, or emergency medicine. In his free time, Ryan enjoys rock-climbing! He hopes to travel to Bend, Oregon this spring to climb at Smith Rock. 

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Sidra Nasir joined the team as the Spring 2019-2020 VISTA Leader! She received her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from University of California, Irvine and her Master of Public Health from Loma Linda University with a concentration in global health. Originally from California, Sidra has worked and volunteered in seven states on projects focusing on community health, poverty alleviation, and emergency management. After graduate school, she served with AmeriCorps NCCC as a FEMA Corps Member to provide administrative support to FEMA personnel. She also worked as an Island Institute Fellow to streamline operations for the Chebeague Island Fire and Rescue Department. More recently, Sidra deployed to Wilmington, North Carolina as a Red Cross volunteer to work on Hurricane Florence relief efforts. She hopes to work as an emergency management professional in response and recovery efforts both domestically and globally. Sidra enjoys traveling and community service – she has traveled abroad to Honduras and the Philippines to work on public health related projects. 

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Inga Suneson joined the team as the Fall 2019 VISTA Leader! While originally from Texas, Inga has lived in Oregon since 2009. She attended the University of Oregon and graduated from the Clark Honors College with a bachelor’s degree in planning, public policy, and management in 2013. Inga went on to the Spring 2014 OHA VISTA Team, serving with Multnomah County Health Department and working on tobacco prevention and accreditation where she did outreach and education on e-cigarettes. After her VISTA year, Inga worked for three and a half years at Marion County Public Health as the Tobacco Prevention and Education Program coordinator passing policies and working with communities to prevent tobacco use. She is happy to be back with OHA VISTA team as the fall VISTA Leader. Next, she plans on going to graduate school for a Master of Public Health degree. In her spare time, she likes to watch Texas Rangers baseball and doodling on any available surfaces. 
Fall 2018-2019 cohort

Adam Hostetter joins the team from Windsor, Illinois as the Built Environment VISTA with Crook County Health Department in Prineville. With a degree in geography and minors in environmental studies and biological sciences, Adam hopes to pursue a graduate degree in planning or geography. Prior to moving to Oregon, Adam worked at the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge, a significant bird migration area in the Midwest. He has experience assisting reforestation projects, community education, surveying, and conservation and preservation work. Additionally, Adam is an Eagle Scout who enjoys learning about plants! 

An OHA AmeriCorps VISTA Partnership alumni, Anders Kass returned for a second term with the team! Anders is the Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Promotion VISTA with the Public Health Foundation of Columbia County in St. Helens. Prior to taking on this role, Anders served as a VISTA with Linn County where he focused on community preparedness in disasters. With a degree in psychology from Linfield College and a desire to pursue youth advocacy and social systems change, Anders hopes to build more connections within the behavioral health field during his VISTA year. Outside of work, Anders has been told that he is an excellent baker!

Azalea Thomson returns to her hometown of Portland to serve as the Statewide WIC Community Engagement Specialist VISTA with the Oregon Health Authority Nutrition & Health Screening Program! Azalea was a global health major at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, and had the opportunity to study in Geneva, Switzerland. While there, she conducted research in partnerships and sustainable development. She also has worked abroad in Nicaragua and Uganda! Azalea hopes to pursue a master’s degree and ultimately has goals to work at the intersection of policy and advocacy in public health. One thing that Azalea loves to do is travel and learn new languages. She hopes to live abroad someday!

Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Carissa Longo relocated to Salem to serve as the Family Behavioral Health VISTA with the Oregon Health Authority Health Systems Division. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and studied philosophy as a pre-medical student with hopes to attend medical school and become a trauma surgeon. Prior to moving to Oregon, Carissa worked as an intramural supervisor for four years and volunteered with the Camillus House to help provide opportunity for the homeless community in Miami-Dade County. Something unique about Carissa is that she can snap her fingers with her pinkies! 

Courtney Barks joins the team from St. Louis, Missouri to serve with the Jefferson County Health Department where she will serve on accreditation and health equity-related projects. Prior to moving out west, Courtney attended Saint Louis University and volunteered at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital. She also has experience conducting research with toxoplasma gondii and Malaria drug selection research. In the future, Courtney hopes to continue her education and go to physician assistant school! While in college, Courtney competed as a Division 1 pole vaulter! 

As an AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps FEMA Corps alumna, Courtney DuMond returns to her home state to serve at the Waterfall Community Health Center in North Bend, focusing on social determinants of health. Courtney is originally from Dallas, Oregon and went to George Fox University where she studied biology. One of her favorite experiences from college was serving with the James Project, a group that spent Saturday mornings working with nonprofits in the community. Before pursuing further education, Courtney wants to learn more about public health through travel, adventure, and service. She is very passionate about holistic health and enjoys Olympic lifting in her spare time! 

Relocating from Houston, Texas, Deanna Nelson joins the team as the Youth Communications VISTA with the Oregon Health Authority Adolescent & School Health Program. Deanna recently graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a degree in anthropology and psychology, but also studied economics and public health. While at Case Western, she worked as a computer tech support and was a member of the campus group Advocates for Cleveland Health. Deanna plans to return to school and earn a MPH and MBA with eventual plans to pursue a career in public health or health administration. An impressive fact about Deanna is that when she was in high school, she sang with her choir at Carnegie Hall! 

Drew Docter returns to serve his second year with Deschutes County Health Services in Bend, though he is originally from Madison, Wisconsin. Drew attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied microbiology and global health and had the opportunity to travel throughout Nepal and learn about the country’s rural healthcare system. With his education and experience with AmeriCorps VISTA, Drew is determined to combine his passions for science and health promotion in underserved communities. One thing you may be surprised to learn about Drew is that he grew up helping his dad raise Christmas trees on his family farm in the Wisconsin countryside!

Hannah Nahorniak is from Reno, Nevada and is serving as the Multnomah County Opioid Prevention VISTA! She attended the University of Nevada, Reno, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in public health. Previously, Hannah worked as an intern for Immunize Nevada, where she advocated for immunizations. After graduating from college, she volunteered as an English Teacher in Nepal at a women’s empowerment center. Hannah hopes to work in clinical research in the future. Hannah has also been a dancer for 15 years, and has danced competitively!

Moving across the United States, India Neville joins us from Washington, D.C. to serve as a VISTA with Yamhill County Public Health focusing on the CHIP, reaccreditation and opioid prevention. India earned a degree in public health from American University and hopes to get her MPH someday! While in school, India provided her talents to the Latin American Youth Center with the sexual health outreach program and Martha’s Table, a community center in downtown D.C. When India was in high school, she pole-vaulted competitively and met her best friend doing it!  

An Oregon native, Jonathan Torres is serving in Newport with Lincoln County Public Health as the Health Equity VISTA. Jonathan recently completed a summer associate position with Campus Compact’s AmeriCorps VISTA program serving with the 9th Grade Counts program at David Douglas High School. Jonathan has participated in many public health opportunities over the past year: volunteering with Prism Health, the Cascade Aids Project, and OHSU, as well as working in a neurobiology lab at his alma mater Lewis & Clark College.  He hopes to pursue a master’s degree in public health with a focus on epidemiology. One interesting fact about Jonathan is that he has swam competitively for twelve years, including at the collegiate level! 

Katie Walsh is the Reaccreditation and Outreach VISTA with Crook County Health Department in Prineville. Originally from Salem, Oregon, Katie is excited to bring her talents back to Oregon. Before joining the OHA VISTA Team, Katie worked as a medical records technician overseas in a military hospital and volunteered at the Misawa Air Force Base hospital in Japan. She is currently working towards her MPH and sees herself working in public health emergency management, health promotion research, or disease prevention. Although she is an Oregon native, Katie has spent the past four years working and traveling the globe – she has been to Australia, Italy, England, Germany, Japan, and Thailand! 

Joining the team for her second year, Laura LaLonde will serve in the Oregon Health Authority Injury & Violence Prevention Program as the Opioid Data Collection VISTA. Last year, she served as the Tobacco Control and Prevention VISTA with Multnomah County where she conducted community outreach. Laura has her MPH in health management and policy from Portland State University, but hopes to go to veterinary school some day! She is a true animal lover and currently volunteers with the Oregon Humane Society and the Pixie Project. Laura has two cats - and you can find them on Instagram! 

Liz Stankov is relocating from Ann Arbor, Michigan to serve at Lake Health District in Lakeview with a focus on opioid abuse prevention. With a degree in psychology and minors in urban studies and “Community Action and Social Change” from the University of Michigan, Liz has experience working with immigrants and refugees seeking asylum, adults experiencing developmental disabilities, and for a county Adult Drug Court program. After serving with AmeriCorps VISTA, she hopes to complete a Masters of Social Work degree and become a licensed social worker specializing in mental health and addiction treatment. When she’s not in the office, Liz loves being outdoors and camping. She loves the smell of campfires! 

Maiya McNaughton joins the OHA AmeriCorps VISTA Partnership Project all the way from Colchester, Connecticut. Equipped with a degree in International Studies and Human Services, Maiya will serve at Coos Health and Wellness as the Maternal and Child Health Promotion VISTA in Coos Bay. She has previously lent her talents to the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut where she fundraised and attended the weekly Mobile Food Pantries and Health Quarters, where she assisted in the creation of a social enterprise and clinic remodel! While in school, Maiya studied abroad down under in Australia and had the opportunity to travel to New Zealand and Bali! 

Hailing most recently from Klamath Falls, Michael Burton is relocating to Coos Bay to serve with Coos Health and Wellness, focusing on emergency preparedness. Michael recently graduated with a degree in communication studies and population health management from Oregon Tech, where he gained experience working with youth at the local YMCA and elementary school. After serving as a VISTA, Michael hopes to pursue law and potentially join the FBI. Something unique about Michael is that he has lived in three different countries across two different continents! 

Savanna Santarpio is joining the team from Boston, Massachusetts as the Oregon Health Authority Injury & Violence Prevention Program Opioid Risk Reduction & Education Outreach VISTA. Savanna earned her MPH at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences University where she had the opportunity to develop a workforce training program with the director of the MPH program. With her education and experience, she developed skills in literature review, survey development, and data analysis. Savanna is eager to join the workforce and hopes to apply these skills at a government agency in effort to address health disparities burdening the United States. Back in Boston, Savanna belongs to the 5th generation of a family-owned pizza restaurant, which was established in 1903!

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Shawnel Yahtin serves in her hometown Warm Springs as the Opioid Awareness VISTA with the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Shawnel has several experiences working and volunteering in Central Oregon. She has worked on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey on Tribal Adults in her community and has volunteered at a local Early Childhood education center. She hopes that her experience as a VISTA member will teach her communications and other skills that will allow her to continue working in her community. Something unique about Shawnel is that she is very creative! 

Shelby Sweet is originally from Gilbert, Arizona but has found a second home in McMinnville where she will be serving as the Program Development & Outreach VISTA with the Student Nutrition and Activity Clinic for Kids (SNACK) program. She studied mass communications and religious studies at Linfield College, where she was a student ambassador and student coordinator for a pre-orientation program focused on service-learning and leadership. Eventually, Shelby wants to go to graduate school to study public relations or media studies. When Shelby studied abroad in England, she hosted a radio show! 

Tammy Yamamoto is joining the team for her second term at Washington County Public Health as the Emergency Preparedness At-Risk Populations VISTA in Hillsboro. Prior to joining the OHA AmeriCorps VISTA Partnership Project, Tammy served with the Portland American Red Cross as the Preparedness Coordinator for 7 counties in an AmeriCorps State/National position. She is passionate about preparedness community education and hopes to provide the public the information they need to be resilient and successful. Tammy is always looking for new thrills – she has been skydiving and hopes to bungee jump someday! 

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Tom Healy relocated from Petaluma, CA to serve as the Opioid Crisis and Response VISTA at the Oregon Health Authority Acute and Communicable Disease Prevention program. Tom graduated with a Political Science degree from Seattle University, where he completed an internship with Congressman Jared Huffman in Washington, D.C. Afterwards, he worked at a local non-profit, Committee on the Shelter-less, as a volunteer coordinator and as a development associate. He hopes to continue his education by attending graduate school to study non-profit work and local government. An impreessive fact about Tom is that he recently ran a marathan and plans to run more in the future!

Zach Wells returns as the Opioid Safety VISTA with Multnomah County Health Department. Zach first joined the OHA VISTA Team in January in this position after working as the Outreach Coordinator for the Central Illinois Pride Health Center. Prior to serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA, Zach attended the University of California – San Diego and studied public health and critical gender studies. He hopes to continue his education and get an MPH to work in harm reduction research and project management. Zach has the unique experience of spending a month hiking and traveling around the lower Himalayas in Northern India, and the only footwear he had were flip-flops!
Spring 2019-2020 cohort

Zev Braun relocated to Portland from Boston, Massachusetts to serve as the Statewide Vulnerable Populations VISTA at the Oregon Health Authority Health Security, Preparedness & Response Program. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Biology form Grinnell College in Iowa and his Master of Public Health from Boston University School of Public Health. Last summer, he interned at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations in Washington DC, working on a large project to summarize, compare, and recommend paths forward for all major health reform proposals. He also won a small grant to create a website to bring attention to the people that suffer from gun homicide in Boston to galvanize collective action from Boston residents. ( His future aspiration is to work for Oregon or Washington focusing on policymaking roles that aim to bring meaningful changes to the Northwest. In his free time, Zev enjoys exploring nature since he believes that he has an intimate connection with it. 

Robbie Edwards is serving as the EMS & Trauma Systems VISTA with the Oregon Health Authority in Portland. Originally from Albany, New York, he attended University of California, Berkeley and majored in political studies and environmental sciences. He interned with Californians for Pesticide Reform where he used GIS mapping software to analyze trends of pesticide use in rural counties throughout California. He plans to pursue a master’s in public health at Portland State University, where he hopes to use his experience and education to design and analyze public health policy. A fun fact about Robbie is that he played accordion in a Ska band when he was in high school! 

Hailing most recently from Salem, Oregon, Haley Miller joins the team as the Outreach and Health Systems Innovator VISTA. She is serving with Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine, where she will utilize her undergraduate studies in Spanish and public health from Oregon State University. Before beginning her VISTA service, Haley studied communicable diseases with local epidemiologists while interning for the Marion County Health Department. Haley hopes to study epidemiology in graduate school. Something unique about Haley is that she has studied Spanish since she was 13 and developed her fluency while studying abroad in Costa Rica and Spain!

Originally from Mason City, Iowa, Bailey Simpson relocated to Portland to serve as the Mental Health Equity Communications VISTA at Lines for Life. She graduated with two bachelor’s degrees in sociology and communication from Iowa State University, and she hopes to pursue a doctorate someday! Bailey will rely on her years of experience with advocacy of program management at the Iowa State University Foundation to benefit Lines for Life’s outreach team, and she hopes her national service will inform her career in either teaching, non-profit work, or conducting sociological research. Additionally, Bailey has a passion for creating abstract art and exploring metaphysical philosophy!
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Cindel Mikesell joins the team from Keizer, Oregon and is currently serving with Linn County as the Vulnerable Populations VISTA. She has studied business administration, organizational psychology and resilience psychology. She is currently enrolled in a Community Public Health degree program at the University of the People.  She is CERT certified and has a passion for emergency preparedness work. She also volunteered at CCTV learning studio production, sound editing, and field camera work. An interesting fact about Cindel is that she was part of the Northwest Civil War Council’s reenactments through the Society for Creative Anachronism. 

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