To the OHA team:
As we enter the season of giving, I'd like to share a story that exemplifies Oregon's generous spirit. We're all aware of how people across the state rushed to help after the tragic shooting at Umpqua Community College on October 1. But now, nearly two months later, the community is still healing and OHA found a way to continue to help.
We offered to deploy our State Emergency Registry of Volunteers in Oregon (SERV-OR) to support behavioral health counseling services in Roseburg; community leaders accepted. SERV-OR is a statewide registry of licensed health professionals who are trained to respond in emergencies. There are 2,600 volunteers in SERV-OR and within that, 99 are licensed mental health clinicians.
We partnered with the Veterans Association, Architrave Health/Umpqua Health Alliance, ADAPT treatment services, and Community Health Alliance (CHA) to help create a safe place for community members to heal. On November 19, Umpqua Wellness Center opened its doors. There, SERV-OR volunteers see people who need immediate services but may not be able to get a local appointment due to the overwhelming needs of the community. The center will remain open through February 2016.
It was so gratifying to see businesses, organizations and residents come together so quickly to build this resource from the ground up.
- Harvard Medical Plaza donated space.
- Architrave Health donated technical and administrative staff and other operational support.
- Canon Printer donated a printer/scanner/fax/copier.
- ADAPT donated clinical leadership and oversight of the volunteers.
- Veterans Administration provided a cognitive processing therapy training to 16 local clinicians and three SERV-OR volunteers. This therapy provides tools related to PTSD and traumatic events.
- OHA provides logistical oversight of the volunteers and the center.
Local Roseburg artists donated 57 original pieces of art to decorate the Umpqua Wellness Center.
Perhaps the most heartfelt gesture was made by eight local artists who donated and collectively hung 57 original pieces of art throughout the Umpqua Wellness Center. Each office, hallway, and even the bathrooms have artwork, which adds warmth and a sense of caring to the center.
I’m so grateful we are able to work with remarkable partners to support a community in need. I also want to acknowledge and thank Akiko Saito, operations chief in our Health Security, Preparedness and Response program, who has worked tirelessly and traveled several times to Roseburg to ensure the Umpqua Wellness Center project is a success. Akiko has demonstrated quiet, effective leadership at every opportunity and we are grateful for her commitment and compassion.
To our entire OHA team, thank you all for the work you do every day to improve the health of Oregonians. Best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving break.
To your health: Science proves that generosity is beneficial to our health. Studies show that volunteering improves well-being and life satisfaction, and is also linked to decreased depression and living longer. Other research illustrates how helping coworkers can make us happy and improve our well-being at work. And finally, an experiment showed people who give money away rather than being stingy have lower levels of unhealthy cortisol (stress hormone). Giving your time, energy and money is a healthy habit to cultivate.