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News Release
OHA Director launches first round of regional visits with Southern Oregon as first stop - 02/16/24

February 16, 2024

Media Contact: Erica Heartquist, erica.j.heartquist@oha.oregon.gov, 503.871.8843

OHA Director launches first round of regional visits with Southern Oregon as first stop

(Medford, OR) Doctor Sejal Hathi, MD, MBA, confirmed one week ago as the new Director of Oregon Health Authority (OHA), will spend the next several months visiting all major regions in Oregon – meeting with and talking to community leaders, health care providers, Tribal leaders, local public health officials, and non-profit partners about their biggest needs from the state and the state health agency.

“I’m here with questions and I’m here to learn,” said Dr. Hathi at a sit-down meeting with medical, oral and behavioral health providers Thursday at one of La Clinica’s 30 sites in Southern Oregon. La Clinica offers integrated healthcare services to about 30,000 people across Jackson County.

This week, Dr. Hathi plans to visit Grants Pass, Medford and Klamath Falls.

“I’m taking notes. I am hearing that rural Oregonians feel ignored by OHA, and I’d like to change that. I’m appreciating that this is a region facing extraordinary workforce shortages, that is grappling with the dual drivers of scarcity and geography. And I understand the people here need both more resources and more support to care well for their families,” she said.

“We're grateful for the work Dr. Hathi is doing to understand the communities we serve and for the opportunity to share our successes and challenges with her,” said La Clinica Chief Medical Officer Chris Alftine.

Doctor Hathi is in Klamath Falls today meeting with two coordinated care organizations and the Klamath Tribes.

Doctor Hathi discussed her three most urgent priorities as OHA Director: eliminating health inequity, transforming Oregon’s behavioral health system, and expanding access to affordable health care.  But she emphasized that local input will inform and shape OHA’s priorities, strategies and focus.

“My highest priority is to listen and to learn, because I want to make sure that my vision and OHA’s strategies are grounded in the lived experiences of the communities we intend to serve, and their challenges and priorities,” said Dr. Hathi. “I can’t do that if I don’t truly listen.”

[Here is a link to the video of what Dr. Hathi said she learned during her visit to Southern Oregon]

Doctor Hathi heads to Astoria and Seaside in two weeks to hear from residents in the coastal communities of the state. A full schedule of all of Dr. Hathi’s upcoming regional listening visits will be posted on her web page.

Here are links to B-roll footage and still pictures from Dr. Sejal Hathi's Southern Oregon regional trip.

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