Celebrating National Public Health Week

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The first full week of April is Public Health Week, a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation's health. The Clackamas County Public Health Division is committed to improving the quality of life and protecting the health and well-being of all residents, and they do this work in more ways than you might think! This year for Public Health Week, we're highlighting a few of the diverse ways the people of the Public Health Division make an impact in our community.

Public health is nutrition for children

WIC (or Women, Infants and Children) is a public health nutrition program and is proven to support the long-term health of women, infants, children and families. The program provides customized nutrition education, referrals, breastfeeding support and healthy foods during the critical window of the first few years of life. Nutrition Assistants Evelyn (left) and Tatyana (right) are two of the five bilingual, bicultural WIC staff at the Clackamas County Public Health Division. Our bilingual, bicultural staff make WIC more accessible and welcoming for families who speak Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian and Vietnamese.

Learn more about WIC.

Public health is peer support

Project Hope is a collaboration of the Clackamas County Public Health Division and community partners who work together to support people struggling with substance use. One crucial part of Project Hope is peer support—support from Certified Recovery Mentors, employed by Mental Health & Addiction Association of Oregon, who know what it's like because they've been there themselves. Amber (right) and Lindsay (left) use their lived experience to walk alongside others as they walk the complicated path to recovery.

Peer support really makes a difference. In a heartfelt thank you note to Amber, one person wrote "You gave me so much hope, encouragement and understanding."

Learn more about Project Hope.

Public Health is preparing for extreme weather

Just today, Multnomah County, Washington County and Clackamas County announced the results of a groundbreaking heat mapping project that measures the unequal distribution of heat in our region and how the counties and partners will be using the data. The data will be used to inform Clackamas County's climate adaptation plan, to prioritize people who are most at risk during extreme heat and to help areas with high heat become safer over time. How is data like this gathered? It's a lot of hard work! Thank you to staff like Allina (pictured) and all the volunteers who drove around the area with special equipment attached to their cars in July 2023.

Read about the findings.

Public health is safe storage for guns and medication

Research shows that when people experiencing a suicidal crisis don't have access to lethal means (like firearms or pills), it allows time for the intense moment to pass and for someone to intervene. Securing firearms and pills saves lives. Galli, Clackamas County's suicide prevention coordinator, distributes secure storage items to the community to help prevent unauthorized access and accidental overdose. 

Request safe storage items.

Public health is working with community-based organizations

Community-based organizations are experts in the communities they serve. The Clackamas County Public Health Division supports and partners with community based organizations as they work to fill the gaps in traditional health care services. One example is commercial tobacco prevention community grants offered by Clackamas and Washington Counties to a wide variety of community based organizations, including the Portland Refugee Support Group (PRSG). PRSG is using this grant to collect data about tobacco use in the communities they serve so they can offer culturally specific support.

"We're actually on the ground working with families, so we understand their needs," said Ala, community wellness director of PRSG.

Learn more about PRSG.

Public Health is support for families

In the nurse home visiting program, nurses and community health workers partner with families to improve their health and assist with achieving their goals. As the maternal child health navigator, Tiffany (right) helps expecting and new parents with medical and social risk factors navigate resources and offers breastfeeding education and support.

Learn more about nurse home visiting.

Public health is connecting with the community

We are thrilled to announce the launch of mobile services! With the new mobile services van, the Clackamas County Public Health Division can bring services directly to the community. Malley (left) has worked tirelessly to get mobile services up and running. And Kevin (right) and Irvin (not pictured) are coordinating the van's first journey—an immunization clinic for farmworkers that will be held this month. But we'll be offering much more than immunizations soon. "This van will drastically change how we engage with Clackamas County and deliver our public health services," said Malley.

Stay tuned for more information!

Clackamas County Public Health offers these programs and so much more.