Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette
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News Releases
Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette Welcomes New Board Chair (Photo) - 11/07/17

The Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (PPCW) has elected small-business owner Sita Symonette as its new Chair. A practicing acupuncturist who owns Black Pearl Acupuncture, Symonette has served as a Board Member since 2012 and as Vice Chair since 2015. She is the first African-American woman to serve as Chair.

"Sita has provided steady leadership and a bold vision at a critical time for Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette," says PPCW Interim President & CEO Anne Udall. "Health disparities in racial and ethnically diverse communities remain a serious issue, and we are committed to working with and within the communities we serve to transform our world from one divided by disparities to a world united by health equity."

During Symonette's board tenure, PPCW has intensified efforts to enhance services for patients in Oregon and Southwest Washington:

* Implemented a strategic plan to increase equity and inclusion, including the creation of two positions, Equity and Inclusion Director and Equity and Inclusion Program Manager.

* Launched transgender hormone provision for people 18 and older at select health centers.

* Launched early prenatal care at select sites, including ultrasound, counseling, lab tests and referral for ongoing care.

* Launched a telemedicine program to create greater access to medical abortion appointments when availability is limited in certain health centers.

* Opened the Milwaukie/Oak Grove Health Center to serve 7,000 patients annually in Clackamas County.

* Upgraded health centers in Bend and Beaverton.

* Significantly increased the PPCW donor base, including a major $1 million gift from the Henry, Juliet and Summer Hillman Foundations to help fund a new, state-of-the-art health center in Southeast Portland.

"As an African-American queer woman, I am proud of the critical role that Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette plays in reducing healthcare disparities in our region.The Board of Directors is committed to integrating equity and inclusion so that PPCW can better meet the needs of the diverse communities we serve."

Symonette earned a bachelor's degree in biological psychology from Western Washington University in 2003. While doing her undergraduate work, she participated in neuroscience research studies that were funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. She then earned her master's degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine from Oregon College of Oriental Medicine.

Symonette lives in Vancouver, Wash., with her wife, Lai-Lani, and their daughter.

Attached Media Files: Sita_Symonette.jpg
Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette Announces Major Gift for Southeast Portland Health Center - 11/01/17

Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (PPCW) today announced a major gift that will help fund a new, state-of-the-art health center in Southeast Portland. The Henry, Juliet and Summer Hillman Foundations have generously committed $1 million to create a safe and welcoming place for women, men and young people to receive expert and compassionate sexual and reproductive health care and education.

"This is a transformational gift," says PPCW Interim President & CEO Anne Udall. "Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette is committed to providing patients with high-quality, confidential and nonjudgmental care. We're incredibly grateful to the compassionate and courageous donors who strive to ensure that patients have access to the reproductive health care they need."

The center will be named after Elsie Hilliard Hillman, mother and grandmother, respectively, of Portland philanthropists Henry Hillman Jr. and his daughters, Juliet and Summer. "Elsie," as she was known to everyone, was a beloved political and civic leader in Pittsburgh who passed away in 2015. She dedicated her life to promoting gender equity in politics and to investing in causes that help women, LGBT people and racial minorities. Henry's brother and sisters are also generously supporting this project through their foundations, Audrey Hillman Fisher Foundation, Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation and William T. Hillman Foundation.

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Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette (PPCW) is the largest nonprofit provider of sexual and reproductive health care and youth education programs in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Since 1963, PPCW has successfully carried out its mission of providing, promoting and protecting access to quality reproductive and sexual health care. Each year, more than 55,000 women, men and teens visit one of PPCW's health centers. PPCW provides a wide range of education programs and healthcare services, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, emergency contraception, gynecological check-ups and Pap tests, breast exams, pregnancy testing and options information, and health counseling. For more information visit

Portland Musicians Unite for Anthem to Empower Women and Support Planned Parenthood - 10/26/17

Portland songwriters Ara Lee and Beth Wood have collaborated with more than 50 musicians, actors, producers and citizens to create a video and song celebrating the power of women. All of the proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette's healthcare services and education programs.

"Nasty Woman" stands up to the current administration and celebrates female strength and resilience. It was born from the fury caused by the infamous statement Donald Trump made about Hillary Clinton in a presidential debate last fall. This disgusted many people including musician Ara Lee, who decided the best way to respond to hateful rhetoric was to reframe it, for the benefit of her local Planned Parenthood health centers. She and Wood wrote the song together and then enlisted the help of their fellow musicians to record the single.

The project clearly hit a nerve. More than 20 local musicians volunteered to participate in the recording, and 30 more actors and citizens donated their time to be a part of the music video.

"I watch the news every day and think, 'What in the world can I do?'" Lee said. "I'm the mother of two young daughters, and I am watching this administration threaten to take their rights away. This project felt like a way to put my drop in the ocean of resistance and to inspire women - and men - to keep fighting."

Lee released the video October 19, and within 48 hours it had more than 14,000 views on YouTube and created a frenzy of activity and positive response on social media.

"This song is a rallying cry, an anthem for this moment in time," Wood says. "We want it to reach as many eyes and ears as possible, to inspire action and to take the ugliness we so strongly object to and turn it into something beautiful and good for our community."

Inessa Anderson of Portland Radio Project says: "As I watch this telling video for 'Nasty Woman,' I am reminded that every day, in every generation, year, era, we are required to reboot to the truth. Powerfully created, written and performed, it makes it an easy start to the day - on the path we ALL need to walk and talk and do."

Tom D'Antoni of Oregon Music News adds: "This has become the anthem in this #MeToo moment - a celebration for women, and an education for the men who need it."


Ara Lee:
Beth Wood:
Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette:


Professional photos and B-roll footage available upon request.