May 2017 Newsletter

ORH Holds First Annual Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon


The first annual Forum on Aging in Rural Oregon was held April 20-21, 2017 in Hood River.  The Forum was the first of its kind in Oregon to look at the issues of aging in our rural communities. It gave the over 170 participants an opportunity to come together and look at ways to ensure our communities are able to meet the challenges presented by an aging population.

“Our rural communities have the potential to be ideal places to age,” says Scott Ekblad, ORH Director. “This event provided a forum where people were able to gather and talk about their experiences, create new ideas, and receive inspiration to create their own successes. This whole topic is so important that we have already begun planning for next year’s forum.”

The Forum covered topics from fighting ageism to organizing to support caregivers and more. You can find information about the forum and view the presentations on our website.

ORH is so committed to helping rural Oregon communities become better places to age that the Forum culminated with an announcement of a new grant program – the Elder Services Innovation grants. ORH will award up to 3 grants of up to $10,000 apiece to rural organizations with innovative ideas to enhance or create new services that help elders age in place.  Click here for more information.

Rural & Frontier Health Facility Listening Tour: ORH Preparing to Hit the Road

ORH is preparing for the June kick off of the 2017 Rural & Frontier Health Facilities Listening Tour.

The 2016 Report (available here) is the result of a statewide tour, coordinated by the Oregon Office of Rural Health, which brought thirty-six state partners to forty-five of Oregon’s rural and frontier hospitals and clinics to hear from facilities about their current challenges.

“This was a great opportunity for our rural and frontier facilities to discuss issues that are important to them,” says Scott Ekblad, ORH Director. “Rebecca Dobert in our office did an incredible job of coordinating the tour and sharing the results with our state’s policy makers.”

The 2016 Report highlights include:

  • The differences between providing healthcare in rural versus frontier Oregon;
  • Workforce challenges including: credentialing Medical Assistants, availability and affordability of housing, challenges with the nursing workforce and health information technology;
  • Access challenges including: primary care Physicians and Physician Assistants, specialists and long-term care.

For more information on the upcoming tour, please contact Rebecca Dobert at or 503-494-6627. You can also keep up with the Tour on our Instagram and Facebook accounts.

ORH Welcomes Rosalee Locklear

Rosalee Locklear has joined the Oregon Office of Rural Health as the Field Services Telehealth Coordinator. This is a limited duration position under the HRSA Flex grant. Rosalee will be conducting telehealth and Project ECHO assessments at interested Critical Access Hospitals through August 2018. She will help to match hospitals to available ECHO hubs and telehealth services. If you are a Critical Access Hospital and interested in having an assessment at your facility, please contact Rosalee at or 503-577-3849.

ORH Awards CHI St. Anthony Hospital a Grant to Provide Mobile Lactation Services in Umatilla and Morrow Counties

Lacto Van

CHI St. Anthony Hospital, Pendleton, in partnership with the Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center, Umatilla County WIC and Morrow County Public Health, launched a mobile lactation service.  The new mobile service is focused on increasing breastfeeding initiation and six- month feeding rates in Umatilla and Morrow counties. The project is funded through a grant from the Oregon Office of Rural Health through the Health Resource Services Administration Flex grant for Critical Access Hospitals. If you have any questions, please contact Meredith Guardino at or 503-494-8961.

Community Conversations about Death and Dying

Death is a universal event that transcends many of the differences between us, but it’s not something that we have regular opportunities to think and talk about. Oregon Humanities developed the Talking about Dying program to create more public opportunities to reflect on what stories and influences shape our thinking about death and dying and to hear perspectives and ideas from fellow community members.

Talking about Dying community conversations are free, ninety-minute facilitated discussions geared toward public audiences (ages 15+). During the program, participants talk together about questions such as:

  • What do we want—and not want—at the end of our life?
  • How might our family, culture, religion, and beliefs shape how we think about death?
  • How do access to care, geography, and desires to be remembered affect our decisions about the end of our life?

Thanks to the generous support of the WRG Foundation Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, in 2017 Oregon Humanities will offer thirty Talking about Dying programs to communities throughout the state at no cost to hosts or participants. Any Oregon nonprofit, tribe, or community organization is eligible to host a discussion.

To host a Talking about Dying discussion, read more about the requirements for hosting at, then submit an application at least six weeks before the requested program date. Applications will be approved on a rolling basis while funds are available. If you have questions, please contact Annie Kaffen at or (503) 241-0543, ext.116.

Oregon Rural Hospitals Top the List of Most Wired Hospitals and Health Systems

Hospitals & Health Networks (H&HN) has named Columbia Memorial Hospital, Astoria and Grande Ronde Hospital, La Grande to The Most Wired-Small and Rural Hospital top 25!  H&HN’s 18th Annual Most Wired Hospitals and Health System survey shows that U.S. hospitals are tackling cybercrime, telehealth and predictive analytics. Congratulations for the outstanding and innovative work done with technology to meet the needs of your community and provide quality care to patients.

Check out the full article here.

Other News

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Announces Plans to Transform Oregon's Behavioral Health System

Behavioral health touches every Oregonian. Everyone has a friend, a loved one, or a neighbor who has experienced a mental health issue or substance use disorder – and many Oregonians experience these challenges themselves. Although Oregon has made progress related to the behavioral health system, there is still much work to do integrating behavioral health with the physical and oral health systems in the coordinated care model, and making sure that every Oregonian has easy access to the services they need.

Find out more about OHA’s efforts to transform the behavioral health system and use the behavioral health mapping tool to better understand the services offered across Oregon.

2017 Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program

The USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is accepting applications for the 2017 Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program to improve the economic conditions of rural areas. RCDG provides up to $200,000 for nonprofit organizations or colleges and universities to assist in the startup, expansion, or improvement of rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses that sell products and services such as telecommunications, credit and financial services, housing, and food. 

Paper applications are due by June 2, 2017 and electronic applications are due by May 26, 2017.

The Oregon Health Authority is Seeking Applicants for Open Positions on the Metrics and Scoring Committee

The committee is responsible for identifying outcome and quality measures, including measures of outcome and quality for ambulatory care, chemical dependency and mental health treatment, oral health care and all other health services provided by CCOs.

Get additional information and application here.

Decisions in Recovery: Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced a new online decision support tool to help patients of opioid use disorder better understand their treatment options. The site explains addiction and challenges to recovery, describes medication-assisted treatment, and addresses some of the barriers to recovery. The material can also be useful to anyone providing treatment, health care, or recovery support services as a patient education resource. 

Click here for more information.

County Health Rankings Key Findings Report 2017

The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program helps communities identify and implement solutions that make it easier for people to be healthy in their neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. The 2017 report includes discussions of premature death, morbidity and mortality, drug use, and other topics.  

Click here to access the report.

The National Health Service Corps is accepting applications for new sites through June 6, 2017, 11:59 EST

Don't miss this opportunity. Get your practice site approved and participating in the National Health Service Corp. Program.

To participate in the NHSC Loan Repayment Program or the NHSC Scholars program, your site must be approved NHSC site.  In addition to participation in the LRP and Scholars programs, designation also get you additional technical assistance through the Oregon Primary Care Office (PCO) and access to additional NHSC resources.  Don’t miss out – apply today.

If you have questions, contact the Oregon Primary Care Office. Or you can begin the application process by going here.

NURSE Corps Scholarship Program

The NURSE Corps Scholarship Program provides scholarships to nursing students in exchange for a minimum two-year full-time service commitment at an eligible health care facility.  To see if you are eligible and to apply for the 2017 NURSE Corps Scholarship Program, visit the NURSE Corp Scholarship Program.

Applications are being accepted through May 11, 2017.

34th Annual Oregon Rural Health Conference

October 18-20, 2017
Sunriver Resort, Sunriver, Oregon
Conference Registration will be posted in mid-August 2017.