A key component of our response to COVID-19 – as well as a vital tenant of our service to Oregon’s communities – is the Project Access NOW Outreach, Enrollment, and Access (OEA) Program. As historic unemployment ripples across our state and our country, our certified assisters are helping families and individuals enroll in Oregon Health Plan and Health Insurance Marketplace. We believe healthcare is a human right – and its importance now is unprecedented!
This week, we are featuring an interview with Ellie Solares-Solis, OEA Program Manager. She is a key component of our programming at Project Access NOW, as well as our response to COVID-19. From innovating new ways to reach Portland’s Spanish-speaking community to collaborating with health systems partners across the state, read on to see how Ellie is making a difference.
Tell us a little bit about yourself – what brought you to Project Access NOW and the OEA Program specifically?
I started at Project Access NOW in 2016. Previously, I had been working as a retail manager. I liked working with the public, but wanted to find something I could be passionate about. At Project Access NOW, I am making a difference and helping people every day. I like working with our health systems partners and community organizations to find creative ways to solve problems.
What is one thing you want the public to know about your work?
Equity and inclusion are a central focus at Project Access NOW. We are grassroots. We are first generation immigrants. We need and use these services ourselves. We are members of the communities we work within.
How has COVID-19 changed your work?
Our team is up and running at full capacity but, of course, we are all working remotely. We’ve had to get creative, learning new ways to accomplish things we once thought we could only do in person. I’ll definitely be using some of those skills going forward. When we are challenged to set up a health insurance enrollment booth in a place with little access to resources (such as meeting migrant workers at a farm site), we are now more ready than ever! Of course, I’m eager to get back in the field. I am passionate about meeting people where they are, rather than asking them to come to us.
When you’re not working – how do you spend your time at home?
I love to sit outside with my three dogs – Pongo, Rex, Bella. I have been doing some gardening, and my plants are looking great!
Thank you to Ellie and all our staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. Since its inception, the program has assisted more than 50,000 households. During the last month, the need for our services has exploded and Ellie, and others on our team, are stepping up to serve. Please consider a donation to support this and other life-saving programs.
Donate online at: www.projectaccessnow.org/