WOU Community Health + Polk County COVID-19 Project
The WOU Community Health and Polk County COVID-19 Project was initiated in June 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by two amazing, dedicated, and hard-working professors, Dr. Emily Vala-Haynes and Megan Patton-Lopez.
Our primary goal is to provide coordinated communication outreach and engagement efforts that ensure vulnerable members of Polk County have access to accurate and timely information to protect their health and safety.
Prepare and coordinate community health student contact tracing team to support Polk County Public Health.
Design and implement health communication and community outreach and engagement strategies for vulnerable populations.
Provide real-time data to support contact tracing and COVID-19 case prevention efforts in Polk County and across Oregon.
Emily Vala-Haynes presented at APHA (American Public Health Assoc) in 2023 about the COVID-19 project that happened on campus with Public Health students.
“To see the data brief, coming from a group from WOU just really changed my thoughts around. The school itself and the public health department and just how committed you are to the community, how much you gave to back to Polk County. There’s a lot to be said for that, so it was very, very enlightening for me to learn more about WOU as well, and I think you did a great job.”
- December Our team hosted a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Western Oregon University. A total of 88 vaccines were given.
- June The Covid-19 Project reaches its 2-year anniversary.
- March Our team partnered with the WOU Library and Art Department to utilize the Communities for Immunity Grant to promote Covid-19 vaccine information through local libraries.
- January – March Our team co-hosted vaccine events throughout Polk County with community partners.
December 10 Our team hosted the second community health fair event, with more information and resources, and distributed 503 vaccine doses.
November 19 Our team hosted a community health fair event and distributed 285 vaccines.
October 11OPHA invited panel presentation & poster presentations: Data Brief and Family Thrive Kit poster.
May 27 Our team presents at the WOU Academic Excellence Showcase Presidential Plenary Session.
- January 1 Oregon Health Authority Community Outreach and Engagement funding extended to December 31st.
October 12Received Outstanding Student Poster Award at the annual Oregon Public Health Association conference.
July 10Team begins contact tracing for Polk County.
July 1Received Oregon Health Authority Community Outreach and Engagement funding.
June 15 Hired project coordinators and the first group of contact tracers.
June 1Signed contract with Polk County to begin contact tracing.
Dan Dowhower, PhD, MPH, MS
Jenny Leon-Perez, B.S., WOU Alumna
Fabi Palma Vasquez
Associate Professor of Public Health
Sonia Castaneda Felix
Esmirna Tencos Mendoza
Hometown: Grand Ronde
Queenie Love Agbayani
Jesus Maciel Abarca
Rosa Magana Solano
Jessica Garibay Ochoa