One Community Health has been a critical force in vaccinating Hood River residents.
Hood River, OR– Earlier this month, Governor Kate Brown visited One Community Health. A Federally Qualified Health Center that’s focused on getting Hood River residents vaccinated equitably. Governor Brown learned about One Community Health’s vaccination efforts, toured a mobile vaccination unit, and talked to young adults coming back for their second COVID-19 dose.
One Community Health
When you visit One Community Health, it’s clear a lot of thought was put into the design of the building. The team is diverse, multi-lingual, and representative of the community. And the walls are bright and adorned with art—many produced by local artists, telling the story of the people who live there. Overall, the facility is designed to be welcoming, safe, and community-focused– it’s not your usual clinic office. But the clinic is a lot more than the building. It’s the people inside—the healthcare workers who provide high-quality care, six days a week, to their community.
One Community Health provides medical, dental, and behavioral health services at the Hood River clinic. And in the middle of a pandemic, the clinic has been a COVID-19 testing site, and now, a vaccination center. They provide a life-saving vaccine to those in the community, focused on getting as many folks vaccinated as possible– with astonishing success.
Shots in arms
Hood River County has done an exceptional job at getting COVID-19 shots in arms, becoming one of the first counties to move to lower risk after reaching the 65% vaccination threshold for adult residents. And the progress on the vaccination front is thanks to organizations like One Community Health, distributing the vaccine fairly and equitably. Governor Kate Brown toured One Community Health to speak to the people who have been so successful with the vaccine rollout.
And they have it down to a science.
As you walk through the doors, a machine checks your temperature. You then move towards the front desk, greeted by clinic staff who make sure you fill out all the needed paperwork. After that, you head to get vaccinated. There, clinic workers have everything prepared to administer your vaccine. Quickly administering the shot and handing you a timer set for 15 minutes, then you wait. Just like that, you received your COVID-19 shot.
Everything flows. At every point, there is a person ready to answer your questions and make your visit as smooth as possible. It’s also the reason the clinic can efficiently vaccinate upwards of 250 people a day.
Outreach is another key to One Community Health’s success. With a people-focused mindset, clinic workers and administrators focus on the community, not just the numbers. Seeking out hard-to-reach populations, identifying their needs, and meeting them where they are. It’s not the easy way, but it’s how the clinic has been able to gain trust with the community and get shots in arms quickly.
The work of One Community Health speaks for itself.
Take, for example, the large Latinx population in Hood River; many are seasonal farmworkers whose labor fuels the agriculture and food processing industries the area is known for. Statewide, there have been vaccination gaps between the Latinx population and the majority white population. That equity gap is a major problem, especially because the pandemic has disproportionately impacted Latinx Oregonians and other people of color.
One Community Health has successfully vaccinated Latinx residents and other people of color because there has been an intentional, community-focused vaccination strategy. It all comes down to relationships and trust.
The clinic staff has built lasting relationships with community members when they come in for clinic services or COVID-19 testing. And when clinic workers go out to the community to inform people about the COVID-19 vaccine and its benefits to themselves and the broader community, they listen.
People helping people is what an equitable vaccine distribution looks like.
Not only does One Community Health conduct outreach in the community, but they also bring the vaccines to the community. Mobile vans equipped to vaccinate individuals off-site, like at a job site, are another tool to break down barriers to vaccine access. Language can be another barrier, and multilingual clinic staff means community members can ask questions and express concerns in their native languages.
On the tour
On the day Governor Brown toured One Community Health, the clinic was focused on delivering a second dose to 12–15-year-olds. The group youth were the first in the area to get vaccinated once the FDA authorized the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to youth aged 12-15.
As she entered the clinic, Governor Brown spoke with One Community Health leadership and staff, local public health and elected officials, and incoming youth and their families. Hearing about the strategies that led to the success of Hood River’s vaccination efforts and the work of One Community Health. They shared how community relationships and outreach have been the key to their success. They also explained how prior experience with COVID-19 testing helped them prepare to vaccinate nearly 250 per day—using the systems they had in place to deliver COVID-19 shots to the community efficiently.
Governor Brown then visited the health care workers administering the vaccine and saw them at work. As our state climbs towards 70% of the adult population vaccinated and beyond, behind every statistic is a person. It’s the Oregonian choosing to get vaccinated and the health care worker administering the shot– a personal interaction with community-wide implications.
The incredible thing about the millions of vaccinations Oregon has administered is those shots occur in rooms just like the one in One Community Health. With everyone doing their part to defeat the virus so we can all return to normalcy.
Governor Brown heard the stories of youth and their vaccine reasons during her visit. Hearing from a teen coming in for a second dose who explained they were so excited for their shot after their whole family got vaccinated. Everyone is doing their part to defeat the virus and return to normalcy.
And in the clinic parking lot, Governor Brown was able to tour one of the mobile vaccination vans. When speaking with Gladys Rivera, One Community Health Field Services Director, the Governor heard about the importance of mobile vaccinations, especially for the farmworker community. With vaccinations coming directly to the community, it breaks down barriers and makes receiving a vaccine accessible. It also means the clinic can be more targeted in their approach, going distant areas and meeting people where they are.
Overall, Governor Brown remarked of her visit, “Hood River has always been a special place in Oregon, and that was made ever more clear today as I visited two unique organizations,” said Governor Brown. “The efforts of One Community Health to increase vaccination rates, while prioritizing the health of our most vulnerable populations and Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, and Tribal communities, are extraordinary; their efforts truly show what a community can do when we work together.”