We are an enduring, self-sustaining team that improves the health outcomes of East Multnomah County. We are a diverse group of Community Health Workers (CHWs) led by a professional staff integrated into the network of the Community Development Corporation of Oregon.
East County Community Health is an initiative of the Community Development Corporation of Oregon and the Rockwood Community Development Corporation. The mission of the CDCO is to make Oregon’s communities places where everyone can learn, earn, and belong. We have a deep commitment to East County and, specifically, the Rockwood neighborhood.
Our core strategy is to work at the system level to improve social determinants of health. In response to COVID-19, we have expanded our services to include meeting the immediate needs of our neighbors with culturally specific food, contact tracing, wraparound services and education. As the pandemic subsides, ECCH will continue to deliver community health services.
ECCH’s vision is to build our practice into a permanent asset for East Multnomah County that can be used by every stakeholder in the healthcare, business, government, education, faith, and community systems.
Our Community Health Workers are representative of the diversity of the community we serve. We are Middle Eastern, African-American, Pacific Islander/Chuukese, Jewish-American, Burmese, White, Indian, Mexican, and Colombian.
Feeds 450 families each week in partnership with Rockwood Food Systems Members.
Distributes thousands of KN95 masks and other PPE each week.
Teaches health nutrition through our Grandma’s Hands program.
Provides pathways to food entrepreneurship in partnership with BIPOC farmers.
Helps arrange business support and access to capital for entrepreneurs through our Oregon Community Capital subsidiary.
Teaches English to immigrant and adult refugees.
Since 2013, we have been engaging our highly diverse community as a system-level leader. Our core strategy is to address the social determinants of health by functioning as a quarterback organization. To date, we have successfully used this strategy to create two self-sustaining collaboratives.
We are excited about the future that we are working to build alongside key partners in Oregon, Portland, East County, and Rockwood. Our leadership and CHWs will continue to move forward with our current practice so we can realize our collective vision.
As we continue to build a strong customer base, we are establishing a collaborative network of culturally-specific groups in order to function more efficiently and effectively. We understand that this vision of building a permanent health asset for East Multnomah County cannot be done alone.
Our Diverse Team Serves a Diverse Population
Mobile Vaccination Clinic
Vance Park Vision to Action Project
There are over 88 different languages spoken in Rockwood and East Multnomah County. Because of this, many residents struggle with getting the health services they need. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this problem for so many people.
Recently a Hmong speaking family visited our East County Community Health vaccination clinic at the Sunrise Center. When they arrived, they had anxiety about the vaccination details and process. They were relieved and comforted when one of our ECCH Community Health Workers spoke their language and was able to translate all the information they needed in a way they understood.
Our approach with East County Community health is formed in a commitment to serving the diverse population of East Multnomah County with a diverse team of Community Health Workers.
In partnership with Wallace Medical, our CHWs implemented a drive-up vaccination clinic at the Sunrise Center. We registered more than 100 individuals per day for vaccinations, prioritizing our BIPOC neighbors.
Vance Property is one of the largest undeveloped areas in East County. Multnomah County had been making plans for the future of this 90-acre site that includes Vance Park, the Vance Pit Quarry, and yards and buildings used by the county’s Transportation Division. Our team worked with the county to host a Vision to Action project that allowed local residents to weigh in on the future of the site.
Today, only 7% of people from communities of color report eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily, compared to 18% of whites.
The resulting poor nutrition, combined with the other social determinants of health, means that our African-American neighbors have the highest rate of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity in Oregon.
Twelve grandmothers have prepared four monthly meals for 30 to 40 participants at a time.
In addition to delivering the food they make along with a bag of fresh produce grown by farmers of color to the participants throughout the community, the program brings everyone together virtually to partake of the food while sharing recipes and tips.
Just the act of asking the question oftentimes changes the narrative, which opens up new possibilities and raises up new leaders.
Engaging the rich diversity of our neighborhood means employing Community Health Workers from our Community Health Unit, who are members of the community. These individuals are able to reach deeply into culturally-specific pockets of the community and engage their neighbors.
We also utilize interpreters and translators, offer free childcare, hold meetings and exhibitions on evenings and weekends, and we compensate individuals who miss work to engage with public processes.