Meet Our Staff

Linda Nilsen, MPA, Executive Director

Linda Nilsen, MPA, Executive Director

Linda, a native of rural Michigan, has had diverse experience in the world of health care, starting with public health community organizing in Central America with a non-governmental organization called Outreach International. After moving to the Portland area in 1993, she spent 12 years working for Washington County, most of that time in the Department of Health and Human Services, where she worked as a Health Educator and Program Manager for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening program. Immediately prior to her work with Project Access NOW, Linda managed the Essential Health Clinic, a...

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Janet Hamilton, Deputy Director

Janet Hamilton, Deputy Director

Janet’s title of Deputy Director provides cover for her actual role as Fomenter of Chaos. At Project Access NOW, she combines removing barriers for our awesome staff and volunteers to effectively serve our clients with finding new opportunities to make those services as comprehensive as possible. She is passionate about winning the War on Poverty, which by the way, has not yet been won. A recovering Californian, Janet fell in love with the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990s when she traveled here regularly for her work as a healthcare information systems consultant, a profession she has...

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Elgin Dean, IT Specialist

Elgin Dean, IT Specialist

When Project Access NOW was just getting off the ground with two busy staff, it became clear the organization needed to pay attention to technology support. Elgin Dean had been managing the Human Computer Interaction Lab at Lewis & Clark College and was identified as someone who could jump in and help out with a variety of Project Access NOW’s technology needs. On a fine May day in 2008, he visited the tiny Project Access NOW office to learn more about this job opportunity. “I did expect to be interviewed,” Elgin recalls. “But as soon as I walked in the door, Linda asked me to start...

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Shannon Kelley, Office Administrator

Shannon Kelley, Office Administrator

Shannon is currently our Office Administrator and enjoys the wide variety of roles and responsibilities on any given day. Among other things, she’s responsible for HR, accounts payable and receivable, as well as various financial reports and general support to our executive management team, finance committee, and board. “It’s an honor and privilege to work with such an outstanding team and brilliant leadership. In the 2+ years I’ve been with Project Access NOW, I’ve witnessed tremendous success and the creation of four new, much needed community based programs. What we do as a team is...

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Jennine Smart, Program Manager, Pathways Programs

Jennine Smart, Program Manager, Pathways Programs

Jennine Smart had recently completed her Master’s degree in Social Work from Portland State University when a friend spotted an ad for an open position with Project Access NOW and forwarded it to her. She responded to the add and soon received a call from Project Access NOW Director of Operations,Janet Hamilton, inviting her for an interview. After further exploration and a second interview, Jennine was hired at the time to be Project Access NOW’s Partnership Relations Manager, eventually being promoted to Program Manager of Project Access NOW’s Pathways Programs. Drawing upon...

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Jennifer Gonnella, Program Support Manager

Jennifer Gonnella, Program Support Manager

Jennifer began her career in public health in the mid-90s working at Multnomah County Health Department as a Spanish Interpreter before eventually moving on to Wallace Medical Concern, at the time a free walk-in clinic in Old Town. At Wallace, she filled a variety of roles, from Clinic Coordinator to Director of Outreach and Community Programs. Jennifer was excited about Project Access NOW from it’s inception and developed a referral coordinator position, filled by Jesuit Volunteer Corps members so that Wallace clients could benefit from this incredible resource. Now, as the Regional...

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