Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

By September 22, 2021 No Comments

This month, we welcome the autumnal equinox as well as some much needed (and much loved) rain. In addition, we are celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month (celebrated September 15th through October 15th).

At Project Access NOW, this celebration is an important time to celebrate our hardworking staff, many of whom identify as Hispanic and/or Latino/a/x. Overall, 80% of our staff identify as bicultural and/or bilingual, with the majority of our staff speaking Spanish as a first or primary language. ¡Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana!

Below are just a few of the Latino/a/x-led organizations doing great work in the Portland metro area, and with whom we are excited to have partnered:

Pictured: The PANOW Team

We are growing – strategically!

In 2021, Project Access NOW is launching “PANOW 2.0” and setting off on a three-year strategic plan that will grow the organization and deepen its relationships and impact, as well as focus on equity and population health/prevention. Part of this growth is the expansion of our board of directors who, along with our staff and clients, make up the heart of who we are at Project Access NOW. Join us in welcoming new members to the team!

  • Andrew Suchocki, MD, MPH – Medical Director, Clackamas County Health Centers
  • Cara Biddlecom – Deputy Public Health Director, Oregon Health Authority
  • Emily Barclay – Director of Population Health, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Ifeoma Muoto, PhD – Care Delivery Operations, Kaiser Permanente
  • Jenny Robinson – Executive Director, Legacy Health Partners
  • Jonathan Weedman – Vice President of Population Health, CareOregon
  • Linda Lang – Director of Quality and Population Health, Samaritan Health Plans
  • Meredith Roberts – Executive Director, Comagine Health

Read more about PANOW’s strategic initiatives and our core goals for 2021 – 2024: access; equity; social determinants of wellbeing; and organizational health.

Get Vaccinated!

This month, as part of our dedication to health access for Oregon’s diverse communities, we are continuing our weekly vaccination clinics.

Don’t miss our upcoming event September 24, 9am –1pm at the Beaverton Resource Center.

13565 SW Walker Rd. Beaverton, OR 97005

For information and registration: call 503-345-7031 or CLICK HERE.

Can’t make it this Friday? Check out the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon’s list of vaccine clinics. Next month, we will announce locations for our next round of vaccination events hosted by the Centers for Disease Control Foundation.

Spotlight: An interview with Dele Oyemaja

As part of our closer look our 2021-2024 strategic plan, we sat down with Dele Oyemaja, Director of Equity & Advocacy to discuss his work and its alignment with PANOW’s broader goals.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What brought you to Project Access NOW?
Championing the cause of immigrants, people of color, and our community’s most vulnerable has always been the cornerstone of my career. I started at Multnomah County and worked there about 12 years, helping to give a voice to minority employees. Then, I moved to the City of Portland and spend about 3 1/2 years in the Office of Equity and Human Rights and, subsequently, moved to Metro to aid with strategy planning to improve racial equity. In these positions I enjoyed working with coalitions of elders and immigrant groups to advance different causes and with elected officials to ensure equity promises were kept.

I am always looking for places where I can make a meaningful change. When I saw the Director of Equity & Advocacy position become available, I was intrigued. The organization’s mission  – to provide services and resources that promote community health and well-being – stood out to me as particularly important. At Project Access NOW, more than 80% of our clients are immigrants and/or people of color as well the majority of our staff. This diverse representation is refreshing and makes the organization unique. In my experience, I know an organization is making diversity a priority when their own workforce is diverse. It was also exciting to join the leadership team at a time of change and lend my experience to “PANOW 2.0.” I am really excited to get started, and I am glad for what has been done already. I think the organization has a really bright future!

How does your work as Director of Equity and Advocacy fit into the broader goals of the three-year strategic plan?
As the organization embarks on this plan, I see my work intersect with all of the four pillars of our strategic plan (access; equity; social determinants of wellbeing; and organizational health). My work will focus on: advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion within PANOW; providing support and training to the staff and board; political advocacy and championing bills that have equity implications; working to supporting the COVID-19 vaccination team, allowing them to reach further and wider into the community; building new and growing existing relationships with community-based organizations in the area; and participating in high-level discussions (i.e. state or city-wide) to communicate our organizational priorities and knowledge.

Is there one project or goal you are particularly focused on over the next year?
I have a lot of ambitious projects! I believe my first and primary priority is to support diversity, equity, and inclusion internally at our organization. Some great work has been done in the past, but we can continue to increase our commitment and make sure the board and staff are fully trained. We have a training specialist we will work with, and the staff has formed an Equity Work Group. We are planning to collect more data on the impact of the work we are doing, and how successful it is, and also to find areas where we can make improvements. The staff and board are excited about this work which is, honestly, rare! This has not been my experience in the past. It will be an exciting few years at PANOW!

Celebration at Lan Su Chinese Garden

Fully vaccinated staff and board members recently enjoyed some time together at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. As Project Access NOW nears its 15th year of operations and begins a three-year strategic plan, it was a time to reflect on all we have accomplished together.

From all of us at PANOW, thank you partners, medical professionals, service providers, and community members for joining us in creating access to care, services, and resources for those in need!


Carly Hood-Ronick MPA, MPH

Executive Director

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