Health advocates honor local representative at Multnomah County School-Based Health Center

January 7, 2016

From left: Health Department Director Joanne Fuller; Steve Bardi, school-based health center operations administrator; State Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer and Susan McDonald, mental health provider

Multnomah County and advocates honored State Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer Wednesday for her leadership on children’s wellness.

The Oregon Primary Care Association and Oregon School-Based Health Alliance presented Keny-Guyer with its Center Heroes Award for 2015 at the Multnomah County Harrison Park K-8 School-Based Health Center. She was one of four Oregon lawmakers who the association says have worked to improve Oregonians access to health care. Others honored include Rep. Vic Gilliam, Rep. Cedric Hayden and Rep. Nancy Nathanson.

Victoria Demchak, a policy analyst for the association, said that, “as long as we have known Rep. Keny-Guyer, we have seen her leadership for public education, healthy neighborhoods, the  health care safety net and for early childhood. It is appropriate that we offer her this award in a school-based health center in one of Portland Public School District’s most diverse and vibrant K-8 schools, which also happens to be a Multnomah County SUN School.”

Joanne Fuller, director of the Multnomah County Health Department, thanked Keny-Guyer for her efforts representing southeast and northeast Portland.

“You have been such a champion for Multnomah County but especially vulnerable kids and families. They have benefited from your service.’’

The award states that Keny-Guyer has been committed to maternal and child health and policies to advance health equity. In 2015, she worked across party lines with Health Center Hero Rep. Hayden to ensure access to dental care for pregnant women, and with Health Center Hero Rep. Gilliam to lead the effort to extend health coverage to all Oregon’s children.

This is the second year that Keny-Guyer has been recognized as a Health Center Hero.

Keny-Guyer, who has an masters in public health, said that the growing housing crisis in the metro-area has overshadowed many of the health and education issues that policymakers would typically be focusing on for the upcoming February legislative session.

On Saturday, Jan. 9, she is co-hosting a "Housing Emergency” Forum with Rep. Rob Nosse for Portland area legislators from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the IRCO Gym, 10301 NE Glisan Street, in Portland.

At least 12 legislators, including House Speaker Tina Kotek, Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, Rep. Jeff Reardon, Rep. Lew Frederick, Rep. Joe Gallegos, Rep.Carla Piluso, Senate President Pro-tem Diane Rosenbaum, Sen. Chuck Thomsen and Sen. Michael Dembrow will hear testimony from speakers chosen by community groups to describe the housing crisis and policies that could help.