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Success Stories

Learn how the Cross Agency Health Improvement Project is making a difference

Tobacco Cessation for Home Care Workers
Aging and People with Disabilities - Oregon Home Care CommissionRoxie Mayfield

Roxie Mayfield, a disability advocate, hopes to help others avoid family legacies like hers. “My mother died as a result of secondhand smoke. She died a typical smoker’s death. And she never smoked a day in her life,” the Eugene resident says. As a member of the Oregon Home Care Commission, Mayfield worked with the Tobacco Control Integration Project (TCIP) on an effort to reduce or prevent tobacco use among the state’s registered home care workers.

A TCIP-led workgroup that included consumers and home care workers drafted language for a policy to promote ongoing tobacco cessation benefits such as the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line to home care workers. In January 2011, the Oregon Home Care Commission unanimously passed the policy, allowing tobacco cessation resources to reach thousands of home care workers throughout the state. Two years after the policy was passed, the percentage of home care workers who smoked declined by 6%, from 24% in 2010 to 18% in 2013.

For Mayfield, a partnership between TCIP and the Home Care Commission is particularly important because, as someone with muscular dystrophy, she uses a wheelchair and relies on home care workers to help her get around. “Everything possible should be done to fund programs to eliminate smoking from home care situations, particularly where people are vulnerable and have health conditions, like me, that can be adversely affected by tobacco use,” she says.

Funding ended for TCIP in 2012, but the work continues. TCIP’s mission was integrated into the Cross Agency Health Improvement Project, which carries the work of TCIP with broader goals around reducing the main risk factors contributing to the development of chronic diseases – including tobacco use, nutrition, physical activity – for OHA/DHS employees, consumers and home care workers.

Tobacco Cessation for AMH Consumers
Addictions and Mental Health 

Meghan Caughey

Meghan Caughey of Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare helped the Oregon Addictions and Mental Health Division (AMH) take a significant step forward in ensuring the health and well-being of the people it serves. In July 2012, all AMH-funded residential treatment facilities statewide became free of tobacco use inside and out as part of Tobacco Freedom. The wellness initiative, which Caughey helped create, aimed to reduce early death among mental health services consumers through the tobacco-free AMH policy, and tobacco cessation resources offered to consumers.

For Caughey, who has schizophrenia, the move represents an important shift in attitude about tobacco use within the mental health treatment community. According to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, people with serious mental illness on average die 25 years younger than the general population, largely from conditions caused or worsened by smoking. Nearly half of all cigarettes consumed in the United States are by individuals with psychiatric disorders. An estimated 90 percent of people with schizophrenia smoke.

With initial help from the Tobacco Control Integration Project, Caughey, who is now Cascadia’s Senior Director of Peer & Wellness Services, worked to spread the word about Tobacco Freedom through the state’s addictions and mental health community. “My peers have told me that smoking is like their best friend,” Caughey says. “We need to help people connect to other people instead of a pack of cigarettes.”

Today, Addictions and Mental Health continues its commitment to promote healthy living with consumers. As part of the Cross Agency Health Improvement Project, AMH is working to ensure successful implementation of the Tobacco Freedom policy at its residential facilities as well as to support consumers who want to quit tobacco by referring them to evidence-based cessation resources such as the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line.

Promoting Worksite Wellness
Human Resources and Shared Services

Bambi Greene

Bambi Greene, an auditor for the state’s Provider Audit Unit in Salem, is a dedicated team member who not only reviews provider documentation to ensure federal program compliance but is also a valued leader who inspired a culture of wellness to her fellow employees in the building. “It is incredible to see someone take an active role in addressing personal health concerns,” Green says. “I couldn’t be more impressed with the initiative and empowerment I witness in others every day.”

Greene has been with Office of Payment Accuracy and Recovery (OPAR) for over two years, starting in the Medical Payment Recovery Unit. Her opportunity to participate in the Aspiring Leaders Program created the avenue to address promoting worksite wellness. Understanding the struggles and obstacles that many staff face associated with health and wellness, she felt promoting a culture in the worksite that encourages information sharing and overall support was imperative for success.

Greene is the volunteer coordinator of the Cherry Avenue Health and Wellness Committee and has worked diligently with numerous colleagues to make the building a healthful and enjoyable place to work. The Committee currently meets monthly to plan wellness activities that benefit staff in multiple programs throughout the building.

Exercise bikes in a fitness roomThere are many notable successes accomplished by the group, including: sponsoring a fitness room available to hundreds of employees of the Cherry Avenue building; promoting PEBB-sponsored wellness programs; launching a campaign to encourage staff to use the stairs; promoting participation in a donation-based soup and salad club as well as a community fruit basket; and disseminating a bi-monthly newsletter.

The Cross Agency Health Improvement Project (CAHIP) took note of the positive changes happening at the 3406 Cherry building and in summer 2014, sponsored a pilot project to track the successes experienced by the wellness committee as well as identify lessons learned. Shared Services, which is part of the CAHIP Steering Committee, was impressed by the project’s results and recently supported OHA and DHS to endorse the Employee Wellness Policy that encourages employees to spend two hours of paid work time per month to participate in wellness committees.  

Workplace Support for Breastfeeding Mothers
Oregon Public Health Division

Heather Morrow-Almeida

A mother should not have to choose between feeding her child or going back to work. That is why the Oregon Public Health Division (PHD) has been supporting breastfeeding mothers for many years and is building on this momentum through the Cross Agency Health Improvement Project.

Heather Morrow-Almeida is one mom who has taken advantage of this workplace support. “The breastfeeding accommodations at the Portland State Office Building have been key to my success as a nursing mom,” Heather says. “My cubicle didn't afford me a private space to focus on my job of pumping, so having the comfortable designated lactation rooms was critical.”

Ensuring lactation accommodations for staff and clients began in 1998 when PHD implemented a breastfeeding policy that supported breastfeeding employees, and provided a private lactation room and electric breast pump for expressing milk. PHD then launched the Breastfeeding Mother Friendly Employer Project, which worked with Oregon employers who wanted to support their breastfeeding employees. This resource was provided to all state agencies in 1999 when Governor Kitzhaber signed an Executive Order requiring all state agencies to accommodate breastfeeding employees. Fast forward 10 years, after state and national laws were passed to support breastfeeding in the workplace, including The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) which set employer requirements around time and space for accommodating breastfeeding moms.

With the growing demand for private space for breastfeeding moms, PHD added a second lactation room in 2013. Heather attests that, “seeing all the other moms in the building who were scheduling time on the lactation room calendar and were successfully pumping months after returning to work, gave me confidence that I could too! Because I've been able to continue pumping successfully at work, we've made it to 11 months of nursing, which amazes me. I never thought I'd make it so long.”

As part of the Cross Agency Health Improvement Project, the Oregon Public Health Division is working to ensure that lactation accommodations are provided at PHD-sponsored meetings, conferences and events.