Marion County Prevention Newsletter - Spring 2021

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Health Promotion & Prevention Pieces

Spring 2021

Spring 2021 Prevention Newsletter


Welcome to the Health Promotion & Prevention Newsletter, released by Marion County's Health Promotion & Prevention Team! Each quarter we highlight selected programs, share information about events & resources, and share ways to increase the health of ourselves, our families, and our community. Together, we can connect and come together to enhance the health of all communities in Marion County! Our hope is to increase communication with our many diverse partners, educators, parents, and communities. 


Marion County Health Promotion & Prevention Team has been growing over the past year. Be sure to meet all our new team members in the section below!


What's in this Article

Updates: Trainings | COVID-19 | Awareness Months & Events

Public Health Training Organizations

Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network: A variety of health promotion and prevention focused webinars from health experts nationwide.

Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network: A variety of mental health specific webinars from health experts nationwide to reduce mental health stigma and increase resiliency across the lifespan. 

Chemeketa Community Wellness & Recovery Workshops: Through free online webinars, Chemeketa Community College hosts a variety of health and wellness subjects. 


Upcoming Trainings

Know of another organization that provides great trainings and want to share with our network? Let us know at



COVID-19 Updates

The Marion County COVID-19 Liaison Community Partner Calls occur every Tuesday in December at 10:00am. These meetings are designed for community partners to receive updates about COVID-19 from Marion County Health and ask questions to our COVID-19 Liaison Team and Incident Commander.

COVID-19 Update


Join us Tuesdays at 10:00am:



Upcoming COVID-19 Testing Events (Various Dates)

Testing Events in Marion County

Multiple free, bilingual COVID-19 Testing events are being offered in Marion County. For more information or to signup visit Marion County's COVID-19 Testing Webpage. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged.

  1. March 6, 2021: Gervais High School in Gervais
  2. March 6, 2021: Woodburn High School in Woodburn. 
  3. March 7, 2021: Regis Catholic High School in Stayton.
  4. March 7, 2021: St. Vincent De Paul Parish in Salem (2-5pm) - signups will be available on Marion County's COVID-19 Testing Webpage soon.
  5. March 10, 2021: Jefferson Elementary in Jefferson. 

More events will be added throughout Spring 2021. Be sure to check our Testing Page regularly for updates.

COVID-19 Testing Events



COVID-19 Vaccination Information


As of today, adults age 65+, as well as school teachers, healthcare workers, first responders, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and more are eligible to begin their COVID-19 vaccine series at the following locations. Additional eligibility has been released by OHA and can be seen on the graphic below. Be sure to check out more information regarding clinics, eligibility, transportation, and more at


Current COVID-19 Vaccine Locations in Marion County:

Click here for more information.

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility as of 2.26.21

This Infographic was released by Oregon Health Authority on 2-26-21



March 1-31, 2021: Problem Gambling Awareness Month

The State of Oregon has proclaimed March to be Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Click here for more information.

Throughout this pandemic, so many people have seen increased isolation, and have turned to technology for connection and entertainment. With increasing opportunities to gamble online, knowing about the risks of gambling is important among youth and adults. See below ways youth and adults can learn about Problem Gambling. Also check out an additional article about a related topic, video gaming addiction, by scrolling down or clicking here


March 2, 2021

1490AM KBZY Radio Interview Image

At 8:40am on 1490AM KBZY, join Marion County Problem Gambling Prevention and Bridgeway Recovery Services as they discuss the intricacies of problem gambling. As with all activities that carry risk, it is important to reflect on your (or a loved ones) gambling habits, know the resources available, and renew your commitment to gambling responsibly. This 15-20 minute conversation will be a great introduction to understanding problem gambling.


March 1-19, 2021

Calling all Middle School Youth! Every year, the Oregon Health Authority and Marion County Problem Gambling Prevention put on a youth art contest during Problem Gambling Awareness Month! Middle School youth apply concepts of problem gambling into artwork, and submissions from across Oregon come in. 

2021 Problem Gambling Calendar Winner!

Last year, 3 middle school artists made it into the OHA Problem Gambling Prevention Calendar! We hope to keep our trend of local representation strong! If you have a classroom or individual middle school youth interested in participating, go to Art.MCHealthy.Net for a registration form or email Problem Gambling Health Educator Michael Keuler at for more information!


Submissions are due in Marion County on March 19th. Click here for more information.


2020 Marion County Problem Gambling Artwork Winners

See above all 2020 Marion County Art Search Winners!


March 30, 2021

From 10:30am-12:00pm, join Marion County Problem Gambling Prevention and Bridgeway Recovery for a FREE online event called Gambling In Sight: Seeing Problem Gambling in 2021. We will be discussing problem gambling and it's impact on ourselves, loved ones, and community. 

Problem Gambling Awareness Month Event - Gambling In Sight: Seeing Problem Gambling in 2021

In Oregon, it is estimated that 2.6% of adults are estimated to have a gambling disorder, and 5.4% of adults are at risk of developing a gambling disorder. With increasing isolation due to the pandemic and opportunities to gamble online growing, understanding the signs and symptoms of problem gambling is an increasingly important thing for everyone to know. 


The first 50 people to sign up and attend will receive a Problem Gambling Care Kit in the mail! Sign up today at 



April 5-11, 2021: National Public Health Week

Building Bridges to Better Health

National Public Health Week

The following information is from the American Public Health Association, National Public Health Week website:


We may be physically distant from each other, but now it’s more important than ever to come together. That’s why our 2021 theme is “Building Bridges to Better Health.” 


Making communities safe and healthy is public health’s top priority. COVID-19 has made that even more important. Even though we won’t gather in person, social media and virtual platforms make it easier than ever for us to connect, create, and take action.


Each day of the week brings a different topic. Take a look at this years topics below: 

Learn more, and join the conversation at:

Meet Our New Prevention Team Members!

Meet the Team! Throughout this difficult year, Marion County Health Promotion & Prevention Team has grown. We are very excited to introduce the following team members:


Diana Dickey, Alcohol & Drug Prevention Coordinator

Diana Dickey

Diana Dickey has been at Marion County for 10 years and previously served as a Health Educator in Tobacco Prevention, then spent 5 years as the clinic Immunization Coordinator, before returning to Prevention Team in April 2020 as Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator. Diana spent several years as a classroom teacher before transitioning careers into public health. She currently serves with Marion County COVID-19 response supervising the Testing and Vaccine Unit, and is passionate about community health and wellness, looking forward to getting back to full time prevention work in the future.

Diana loves to travel and has spent this past year dreaming of and planning trips to far away places. She enjoys music and currently learning how to play electric guitar.



Maricarmen Gomez, Modernization Health Educator

Maricarmen Gomez Reyes joined the Prevention team in April 2020 as a Local Modernization Health Educator. Her primary role is to track and report modernization activities based on grant deliverables, providing leadership in MCHHS modernization efforts which include policy, system change, and health equity.

At the start of 2020, Maricarmen was transitioning from the EISO (Early Intervention and Outreach Services) coordinator position to the prevention team, the COVID -19 response took public health priority. Maricarmen is currently acting in capacity as supervisor for COVID-19 health educators and contact tracers, helping train new staff.

Although Maricarmen will miss going out in the outreach van to promote HIV/STD testing, she is looking forward to working together with community partners and internal staff to continue to improve health equity and dive into the Modernization work. She enjoys spending time with her three boys (Heriberto, Alejandro, & Fernando) and husband out in the soccer fields, likes to go camping, and  completing many ongoing house projects.

Maricarmen Gomez



Sierra Prior, Community Health Coalition Coordinator

Sierra Prior

Sierra Prior joined the Prevention Team in October 2020 as the Community Health Coalition Coordinator. Her primary project is coordinating the Marion-Polk Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). Sierra has a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) from Oregon State University.

Before coming to Marion County, Sierra worked with local public health leaders from across the state at the Oregon Coalition of Local Health Officials (CLHO). Sierra managed workforce development programs, led communications, and supported political advocacy on behalf of Oregon’s thirty-three local public health authorities.

She transitioned to this advocacy role after serving as a legislative assistant to Representative Tiffiny Mitchell (Oregon House District 32, North Coast) during the 2019 legislative session. Sierra also has community organizing experience from working on a statewide ballot measure campaign to protect reproductive health care access, and public health program evaluation experience.

Sierra is excited to join Marion County and have the opportunity to promote health improvement for the county she grew up in. Outside of work, Sierra also serves on the board of directors for the Oregon Public Health Association and the Oregon Women’s Campaign School. She enjoys art and rock climbing. Since starting her new role, Sierra has worked with community partners to recruit over 100 individuals to join our CHIP process, and she can’t wait to see the work we achieve together.



Scott Vu, Mental Health Promotion & Suicide Prevention Coordinator

Scott Vu joined the Prevention team in January 2021 as the Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention Coordinator. While he has a background in journalism, he spent a majority of his career in the non-profit sector. His first foray into public health work was providing HIV prevention/education and developing an HIV peer counseling program.

Scott Vu

Scott brings to the position his passion for community engagement, providing services to under-served neighborhoods, and advocating for those who have been marginalized and disenfranchised. Most notable was his work at a health foundation in the Bay Area on promoting healthy living through smart growth, addressing health disparities and food security issues. He also worked on policy changes by engaging with cities to incorporate specific health language in their General/Comprehensive Plan updates.

Scott looks for every opportunity to foster collaboration and one of this was to bridge the silos between the health and environmental sectors since both have mutual goals but were running parallel to each other. Scott enjoys getting a runner's high, all things geeky (or using the old terminology, "nerdy") and most importantly, spending time outdoors with his 8 year old son, Evan.



Annie Owen, Support Health Educator

Annie Owen

Annie Owen joined the prevention team February 2021 as a Temporary Health Educator. She has a degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Biblical Studies from Corban University.

Before her time with Marion County, she was a Healthy Lifestyles Program Manager at the Boys and Girls Club of Salem, Marion, and Polk Counties. Her focus was to help administer and evaluate the Healthy Lifestyles Program at all seven Boys and Girls Club locations. She also created and helped implement smaller programs that would enhance club members excitement for being active and staying healthy.

One of her favorite programs she helped implement was Bike Education because it taught a skill that kids would have for the rest of their life. Annie led the Boys and Girls Club Wellness Committee and organized and hosted the 2018 & 2019 Boys and Girls Club State Games Room Tournament.

Annie is excited to have the opportunity to continue to promote health and wellness in Marion County. Outside of work, Annie likes to spend time with her family and Golden Retriever named Kevin.

Marion-Polk County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) Update


Working together to make our communities healthier!

Marion and Polk Counties are unique communities, and we have faced unprecedented health challenges since completing our 2019 Community Health Assessment (CHA). Through this process, our community has determined that the three priority areas are behavioral health, substance use, and housing. In the past three months, dozens of individuals, organizations, and coalitions have contributed to writing a community-driven plan. 

Community Planning

In December 2020, the core collaborative CHIP partners hosted three “CHIP Leadership Orientation” sessions for people interested in joining a Priority Area Work Group. Fifty-four people went to orientation. After that we continued to recruit people to join our work groups that would lead writing our goals for the CHIP. Eventually the list had just over 100 people from a variety of organizations, agencies, and coalitions in Marion and Polk Counties.

In January and February of this year, Marion County hosted work sessions for our three Priority Area Work Groups: Substance Use, Behavioral Health, and Housing. Eighty-three people attended at least one work session, and several dedicated partners attended all six.

Thanks to the thoughtful and enthusiastic participation from our community partners, we are on track to complete the new CHIP by June 2021. Keep an eye out for more updates on our Marion-Polk County CHIP.


Want to know more about CHIP? Click here to see our previous newsletter for more information. 

Educators: Marion County PAXIS Social Emotional Learning Update

Community partners are thrilled to bring tools to strengthen educators and students as they adapt to these changing times.

PAX Good Behavior Game


Pacific Source CCO has awarded Marion County HHS Prevention Team, in coordination with Polk County, area school districts, and Willamette Education Service District (WESD), a Community Benefits Initiative (CBI) grant. These partners are coordinating to reach 400 educators and students through training and curriculum on the PAXIS Institute- Good behavior game (PAX GBG).


PAX GBG creates changes in behavior, extends self-regulation, and improves social-emotional learning in students. PAX GBG not only improves classroom management, but it provides students with protection against the future risk of substance abuse in adulthood and death by suicide, increases the likelihood that students continue education and graduate high school, and provides students with the skills they need to manage social and emotional regulation. These protective factors are vital for our community at this time, especially after COVID-19 and the wildfires changed our daily routines. 


The Good Behavior Game is off to a great start in 2021! In January and February, we have already trained 60 school staff in the program! School staff are very excited to start implanting the program. Schools in both Marion and Polk Counties are eligible to participate in this free training. 


If you are an educator, or someone who works with youth and are interested in learning more about PAX GBG, the Prevention team is be excited to connect with you. Please email us at


Learn more at


PAX Good Behavior Game Training

This PAX Good Behavior Game photo was taken at a training in fall 2019. Current trainings are online.

Health Jokes of the Season

It is important for us to de-stress and take a deep breath, relax, and laugh. We hope this helps brighten up your day! 


Health Joke 1
Health Joke 2
Health Joke 3

Tobacco Information & News

Tobacco Affects the Same Organ as COVID-19


Smoking or vaping can increase the risk of serious Complications from Covid-19.

If a person who smokes, or used to smoke, gets COVID-19, they are more likely to develop a serious case of the virus than someone who does not smoke.


Smoking weakens the immune system.

Smoking weakens the immune system. This makes it harder for the body to fight disease. People who smoke have a higher risk of respiratory infections like pneumonia, colds, or flu.


Covid-19 affects the same organs of the body as smoking.

Smoking and vaping damage the lungs. Viruses can then enter the lungs and attach to cells more easily. People with heart or lung disease caused by smoking are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.


Encourage people who vape or smoke to quit.

Resources are available to everyone in Oregon. The Oregon Quit Line is a free, telephone and web-based program that helps youth and adults quit vaping ​cannabis and nicotine. It offers free confidential, evidence-based counseling and materials. Callers 18 years and older can receive Nicotine Replacement Therapy in the form of patches or gum.


The Quit Line is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit in English. For Spanish speakers, call 1-800-DEJALO-YA or visit to get help in Spanish.

TTY: 1-877-777-6534


Quit resource especially for youth

This is Quitting: This is Quitting powered by truth® is a free, confidential, 24-7 texting program for young people who vape. Text DITCHJUUL to 88709 or




Update: Call on FDA to Ban Menthol Cigarettes

23 Attorneys General Call on FDA to Ban Menthol. The 23 state attorneys, including Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, wrote to urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to act in the best interest of the public by addressing the petition and completing rulemaking to prohibit menthol cigarettes. Read the comments here. The African American Tobacco Leadership Council is working to elevate promotion and awareness of this call to FDA.


Why Menthol and Black Communities

African Americans have been targeted with menthol cigarette advertising in predominantly black neighborhoods and in publications that are popular with black audiences.

The Truth Initiative have put together an important 5-minute-read and downloadable fact sheet about tobacco use and industry targeting in the African American community.

Menthol Cigarette Image

Download it and read more here:

Zero Suicide Goals in Marion County

It is estimated that a single death by suicide can impact more than 100 people who directly know the person. Historically, Marion County has had a higher incidence of suicide deaths than the national average, and Oregon currently ranks 10th in the US for suicide death rates. Suicide is a challenging issue that our community has struggled with in recent years, and there have been many efforts from community and governmental organizations to address this tragic epidemic.


In late 2018, Marion County HHS joined state and nation-wide organizations in implementing the Zero Suicide (ZS) model, which focuses on systems and culture change to improve the standard of care provided to individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts or gestures. MCHHS is committed to supporting our workforce and the individuals we serve as we strive for zero suicides in our community. Most recently, the county hired a Zero Suicide Program Coordinator (Laura Sprouse) to dedicate more time and intentional effort toward this initiative.


Suicide Hotline Information


Marion County has implemented several facets of the ZS model across HHS programs through the efforts of the ZS Champions committee. In the past two and half years, the ZS Champions have worked hard to shift our workforce’s perspective on suicide and prevention. The Champions have accomplished a lot, including issuing a survey to assess our workforce’s attitudes about suicide and prevention, sponsoring trainings, developing policies for caring contacts and suicide death postvention, and providing resources to supervisors to use with employees who may be struggling with their mental health and/or suicidal thoughts. We have made considerable strides on implementing the ZS model, and this important work would not have been possible without the ongoing effort and dedication of the ZS Champions.


We look forward to continuing to implement the ZS model in new ways this year, including re-assessing our workforce to identify areas of strength and need; training more of our staff in new, best practice suicide care; and integrating risk identification and tracking mechanisms into our new EHR system. 2021 looks to be a promising year for this aspirational initiative, and we will keep you updated on our projects and progress over the year in the Prevention newsletter! Feel free to contact Laura Sprouse at if you would like more information about Zero Suicide.

Parents Corner: Gaming Disorder Discussion


This article was adapted from the Tech Talk Tuesdays Blog. Check out more in the link below.


Gaming is such an important topic because it is a growing force in our society, and everyone is impacted — of course, in good ways, but also there are some risks and downsides. One example of the risk of gaming during COVID is that the number of school districts that have partnered with gaming companies to do Esports has skyrocketed. Esports has expanded beyond the college level, down to high schools and middle schools, and even elementary schools.

Gaming Addiction, Shared Insights

In this article of Tech Talk Tuesdays, Cam Adair, founder of Game Quitters and a former gaming addict, shares his insights and advice for young people dealing with excessive gaming along with helping their families. 


Cam's Advice for Young Gamers: 

  • Beware of "risk for a binge"
  • Ask yourself, "How do I feel after a long gaming session?"

Cam's Advice for Parents: 

  • Embrace Calm Curiosity
  • Refrain from telling them "You're Addicted"
  • Ask yourself, "Are there underlying emotional problems?"
  • Be open to trying new approaches. 

Click here for the full article. 

Parents Corner: Talk. They Hear You Campaign.

Prepare for one of the most important conversations you may ever have with your kids about underage drinking. The “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign aims to reduce underage drinking and substance use among youths under the age of 21 by providing parents and caregivers with information and resources they need to address alcohol and other drug use with their children early.

Learn about resources to prevent underaged drinking, including an application, tips to talk to teens, videos going over scenarios like one linked to the image below, and more.


Talk. They Hear You. Video

Parents Corner: Vaping & E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes and vaping products such as Juul are the most commonly used tobacco product among Oregon youth. These products contain nicotine, which is highly addictive. Between 2017 and 2019, vaping product use among Oregon 11th graders increased nearly 80%, from 13% to 23%. Flavored products are especially popular among youth.

Schools, parents, and health care providers, and other organizations that work directly with youth have already been dealing with the challenge of youth vaping. With the temporary ban on flavored vape products, The Oregon Health Authority is providing the following resources to help young people recognize the harms of vaping and get support to quit.

Vaping Youth Resources Flier

June 2021 Newsletter Preview

Marion County Health Promotion & Prevention will be highlighting various programs to keep you connected to the most important Health Promotion Topics in Summer 2021. Topics include program updates, locations for local farmers markets, ideas to make the most of the nice weather, and more. If there is a subject you would like covered, please let us know through the email below. 


We hope you and your family stay safe and healthy during the holiday season!