"More than anything, I am happy knowing my work and the context of my employment involve serving a broader good, which would not be possible in other fields or at other employers."
Samuel Junge, Community Health Specialist 2
What do you do?
I am a Community Health Specialist 2. My position is funded through the Corrections Care Management Project grant. This project provides care and transition planning to individuals with a chronic health condition and a mental health issue who are cycling in and out of jail. The project is just beginning so we are currently mapping out the project’s features and clarifying roles. For the bulk of the project’s duration, I will be assisting clients in managing their chronic health condition, accessing needed health, housing, and other basic resources, and providing general support and advocacy.
How did you become interested in the position?
After volunteering with the Multnomah County Syringe Exchange Program for almost two years, the volunteer coordinator informed me about this opening. I have long been committed to serving populations in need. Because the position involved working with individuals leaving jail as well as those struggling with physical and mental health limitations and substance abuse issues, it was particularly appealing to me.
Over the last several years, I have realized the extent to which that population can benefit from having housing, healthcare and other basic resources. I am particularly interested in the way physical and mental health care intersects. The Corrections Care Project is a test run for integrating care between providers inside and outside of jail and between providers and community health workers.
Why did you choose to work for Multnomah County?
As a syringe exchange volunteer, I heard almost exclusively positive things about employment with Multnomah County. I felt a position with the county would provide the job security and stability that I needed, and I was confident I would have great co-workers and supervisors.
What sets Multnomah County apart in your view?
I have found that Multnomah County is truly committed to diversity, equity and creating a better community. The county is actually willing to put such values into practice; it’s not just lip service. There are several programs that provide a basic safety net to members of the community who have no other resources or options. The county is willing to invest in vital long-term social programs, which is often rare among government programs. It has been particularly refreshing to see the diversity in various county workplaces. The extent the county strives to take care of its staff and its clients continually impresses me. I have never felt so welcomed or respected by the people with whom I work.
What keeps you engaged?
My direct coworkers, the various other county staff with whom I interact, and the mission of my work are what keeps me engaged. I especially enjoy the activities and interactions that make up my day. My opinion is valued by my coworkers and supervisors, and as a result I take my work seriously. More than anything, I am happy knowing my work and the context of my employment involve serving a broader good, which would not be possible in other fields or at other employers.
Our promise to employees and applicants is "This Work Matters." Why does This Work Matter to you?
This work matters to me because I am serving people in need and because the relationship between what I do each day and the broader aims of my employment is never obscured. I am personally invested in the ethics of my job and the values and principles the County and the Health Department publicize. Most importantly, I enjoy what I’m doing and I like the people with whom I work.