OPCA Annual Awards of Excellence: Health Equity & Social Justice
Jason Villanueva, Spanish Communications Coordinator & Penny Pritchard, Grants Program Manager, Mosaic Community Health
Jason Villanueva, Mosaic Spanish Communications Coordinator and Penny Pritchard, Mosaic Grants Program Manager are integral members of the Mosaic administrative staff whose combined efforts underpin the mission of Mosaic as a community health center. For the last year Jason and Penny have spearheaded a unique Central Oregon partnership to inform Central Oregon’s Latino immigrant community about the Healthier Oregon program. Jason and Penny have taken lead roles representing Mosaic in a ground-breaking partnership with two other Central Oregon nonprofits: the Latino Community Association, the premier organization for Central Oregon Latino community support, and Volunteers in Medicine of the Cascades, a free clinic providing care to
uninsured working adults.
The three organizations were recipients of an Oregon Health Authority grant supporting marketing and outreach activities for Healthier Oregon in the Central Oregon region. Mosaic has been focusing on marketing and outreach and LCA has been focused on providing navigation support and enrollment assistance, while VIM has been offering warm handoffs to LCA for enrollment and to Mosaic for healthcare services. As local, community-based nonprofit organizations, all three entities have served the Hispanic and Latino population in Central Oregon collectively for more than 40 years but have never taken on a project together. By combining efforts for the Healthier Oregon grant, they have been able to utilize the collective strength of their relationships with the Latino community.
Jason’s role as Spanish Communications Coordinator is vital to Mosaic’s goal of providing quality care for all. His focus is on establishing and strengthening connections with the Latino community in Central Oregon. Over the last year he seamlessly and enthusiastically integrated the Healthier Oregon message and outreach into his normal responsibilities. In addition, Jason took on new responsibilities related to advertising and marketing, producing and even recording Spanish radio, TV, print and digital promotions for the effort. Jason organized and participated in more than 40 outreach events around the region, coordinating the effort for staff of all three organizations. In every one of these events Jason brought his passion and enthusiasm for the collective effort, always focused on the end goal of facilitating health insurance coverage for those who never would have imagined it was possible.
In Penny’s role as Grants Program Manager, she not only tracks and manages HRSA and other grant efforts but also supports program development and evaluation of grant-related efforts at Mosaic. Her role is essential to the backbone of a community health center and is what supports funding for crucial services at Mosaic. Penny is a trained public health professional with experience in system change, and therefore also has a role in representing Mosaic in many regional collaborative efforts. This experience has proven invaluable in navigating the Healthier Oregon grant process with the Oregon Health Authority and setting the groundwork for an entire new level of collaboration between the three organizations.
From a health equity and social justice perspective, the expansion of OHP Medicaid services is groundbreaking. For the first time in Oregon’s history, individuals can now qualify for full OHP benefits regardless of citizenship or immigration status. Oregon is one of only three states in the nation that has embraced this critical approach to taking care of its residents.
Jason and Penny’s efforts to ensure that rural Central Oregon’s Latino immigrant community is informed about the Healthier Oregon program is firmly grounded in the roots and mission of community health centers:
• Increases access to crucial primary care by reducing barriers including lack of insurance and language
• Leads a local effort to actively solve the issue of how to effectively reach and educate the Central
Oregon Latino community about Healthier Oregon
• Promotes and improves health equity in our region
• Strengthens relationships with local nonprofit organizations to streamline processes and procedures to
take care of underserved individuals in our community, integrating and operationalizing for long-term
impact and sustainability
They both exemplify a passion for all these essential components of health equity, which in turn was reflected in how they went above and beyond in their respective roles, working as a team. Faced with the difficulties associated with administration of a complex and unique OHA grant involving three distinct local nonprofit organizations, Jason and Penny both rose to the challenge.
In a testament to Jason’s nearly 12-year history with Mosaic and his knowledge of and passion for supporting the Latino community, Jason has been expertly leading the outreach planning and implementation of the grant. His respectful and genuine communications with the teams at LCA and VIM smoothed out navigation of the uncharted process of determining cohesive and effective messaging, placement, outreach and more among three different organizations. Using his remarkable interpersonal communication skills, Jason made sure that all individuals involved in the effort remained informed, engaged and positive about the project. One example of how Jason went above and beyond of what is expected of him concerns an issue that he became aware of involving how individual patients were assisted while enrolling in Healthier Oregon. He identified a gap in the process and made sure to work with representatives from each organization to determine and document processes to ensure that every patient was fully supported from beginning to end. He even went a step further, ensuring warm hand-offs of patients between organizations with clearly documented processes for doing so. This effort was clearly outside the scope of his focus on advertising and outreach related to the effort and was much appreciated by all involved.
Moving well beyond her role of preparing and providing oversight for the grant, Penny stepped into the role of primary manager for the effort. She took on the responsibility of scheduling and leading meetings, setting agendas, and holding everyone accountable for action items. Whenever she saw an unfilled need, she unhesitatingly moved to address it even when it was outside the scope of her normal work. As an example, Penny championed an MOU with LCA and VIM that allows them access to check OHP status of their client under the auspices of Mosaic, something they had never been able to do before. This successfully erased a huge hurdle to them supporting immigrant patients/clients in the Healthier Oregon process. Going above and beyond was
also reflected in Penny’s persistence and passion for the power of this collective effort which has resulted in a second year of funding from OHA despite being informed that they would not fund multiple entities working together again.
From left to right; Jason Villanueva, Elaine Knobbs-Seasholtz, Joan Watson-Patko, Penny Pritchard, and Andrew Suchoki
Submission written by Elaine Knobbs-Seasholtz, Director of Strategy & Development, Mosaic Community Health