Five community groups honored for improving access to care and services during the pandemic

For Immediate Release: Monday, April 04, 2022

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department, Public Health Division

This week (April 4-10) is National Public Health Week, a week each year when Washington County Public Health honors people who have made significant contributions to improve the health and well-being of people in the county.  

The theme this year is “Public health is where you are.” This refers to the fact that where people live, work and play greatly impacts their health and quality of life.

Even if public health services are available in the area, people may not know about or use them because of a language, financial, physical or mental health barrier. This year’s public health awardees worked hard to break down these barriers and improve access to care and services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the Washington County Medical Reserve Corps are being honored for improving access to COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. These volunteers helped to staff many of the county’s 350 vaccination clinics.

“We provide access to many people from vulnerable communities who have language, economic or citizenship barriers and who may not feel comfortable walking into a pharmacy where they ask for ID or proof of insurance,” said Cassandra Hoy, a Beaverton chiropractor and member of the Medical Reserve Corps who has volunteered at more than 60 clinics.

 “Many of my chiropractic clients are vaccine hesitant. By volunteering at these clinics, I am showing them and the community that vaccines are the best way to protect them from serious COVID-19 complications,” said Hoy.  

Other awardees include:

  • Public Health Institute has been an incredible resource and core to the county’s COVID-19 response and equity efforts. Their Tracing Health program employs people from within the county, with a focus on supporting a culturally and linguistically diverse workforce. They have helped to extend the county’s reach into culturally specific communities and have strengthened the vaccine and recovery efforts.
  • Araceli Acosta is a youth outreach specialist with the Beaverton City Library who has helped to ensure that families could continue to engage young children in early literacy activities when libraries were closed to in-person services. Araceli creates visual story time videos in English and Spanish that are fun and engaging and encourage parents to read with their children.
  • Neighborhood Health Center is working to help increase dental access and reduce barriers to care. They have partnered with the Washington County Women, Infants and Children program to provide teledentistry visits. These visits provide vital education on dental care, cavity prevention and nutrition, as well as help families navigate the care system and connect with a dental provider.
  • Providence Infectious Disease Consultants has been a key partner in improving access to care for those most vulnerable in the community. This group of compassionate physicians has been an instrumental partner to the Washington County Tuberculosis Program, helping to ensure that those who need it can get care.

“Where you live and work has a great deal of influence on the barriers you face and on your health outcomes,” said Washington County Public Health Division Manager Marie Boman-Davis. “We are grateful to all of the people who have come together to reduce barriers and improve access, and during National Public Health Week, we are extending a special thanks to these awardees.”

The awardees will be honored during the Washington County Board of Commissioners Meeting on Tuesday, April 5.

This is the 19th year Washington County Public Health has given out awards during National Public Health Week.


Media Contact:

Mary Sawyers, Public Health Communications Coordinator