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These organizations, and one individual, earned recognition for helping expand access to care during the pandemic.

COURTESY PHOTO: WASHINGTON COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH - A Medical Reserve Corps volunteer gives a COVID-19 vaccination at St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Tigard. Five Washington County groups have been honored for their contributions to public health as part of National Public Health Week.

The Washington County Medical Reserve Corps helped staff many of the county's 350 vaccination clinics over the past year. Not only did this contribute to general vaccination efforts, but the group says it strove to make clinics accessible to those with language barriers and other concerns.

"We provide access to many people from vulnerable communities who have language, economic or citizenship barriers and who may not feel comfortable walking into a pharmacy where they ask for ID or proof of insurance," said Cassandra Hoy, a Beaverton chiropractor and member of the Medical Reserve Corps who has volunteered at more than 60 clinics, in a press release issued by Washington County.

National Public Health Week is April 4 through April 10. It honors people or groups who improved access to care. This is the 19th year that the county has given out awards during National Public Health Week.

Other groups and individuals in Washington County that were honored include:

• Public Health Institute. A national organization based in Oakland, California and with offices in Washington, D.C., the Public Health Institute is highlighted for its work extending the county's vaccine effort into underserved communities. Its Tracing Health program employs people from within Washington County to focus on supporting culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

• Araceli Acosta. A youth outreach specialist with the Beaverton City Library, Acosta helped ensure that families could continue to engage young children in early literacy programs when libraries were closed to in-person services. She creates visual storytime videos in English and Spanish that encourage parents to read with their children.

• Neighborhood Health Center. With clinics in Beaverton and Hillsboro, this dentistry practice has increased access to care for Washington County residents. By partnering with the Washington County Women, Infants and Children program, this business was able to provide teledentistry visits for locals, as well as education for how to prevent cavities and ensure good dental nutrition.

• Providence Infectious Disease Consultants. This department within Providence Health is described as a key partner for Washington County in improving access to care for vulnerable people in the county. Specifically, this group partnered with the Washington County Tuberculosis Program to ensure that those who need it can get care.

All these groups will be honored at the meeting of the Washington County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, April 5.


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