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Happy National Rural Health Week! NEOAHEC Affirms Commitment to Rural Healthcare Workforce as it Welcomes New Staff Members

NEOAHEC’s team is now more dynamic than ever! In October, we were pleased to welcome Beckie Juarez and Jill Boyd to our group, who will work in tandem to enhance NEOAHEC’s support of the Northeast Oregon Campus for Rural Health (CRH). This innovative “campus” shatters the standard model of a centralized brick-and-mortar learning environment, drawing together graduate students studying a variety of health professions to a dispersed campus that spans multiple hospital and clinical settings throughout northeast Oregon. Beckie and Jill will provide invaluable part-time support by helping rotating students gain a unique appreciation for rural healthcare, along with a vision for interprofessional teamwork as they live and work together in our region.

Beckie joins the CRH as the new Site Coordinator. She looks forward to using her unique and varied background to facilitate students’ community projects, implement the course curriculum, build relationships with clinical partners, and fulfill many other integral duties needed to support the program.

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to work with this incredibly supportive and wonderful team, as well as groups of interprofessional students,” said Beckie.

A southern California native, Beckie holds an undergraduate degree in biological sciences from the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a master’s in wildlife from South Dakota State University. She also works part-time for the OHSU School of Nursing in La Grande as the Diversity Coordinator for a grant that aims to increase the diversity of the nursing program.

Fun facts:

Beckie spent time researching the cougar population in the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota and has an affinity for reading historical fiction.

“Beckie has exhibited a high level of approachability, along with excellent communication skills, which are such positive and supportive attributes,” said Carla Hagen, Regional Associate Dean of the CRH in northeast Oregon. “These will be so appreciated by both our students and our professional partners.”

Jill joins the CRH as the new Community Liaison. In this integral role, she will work to develop an engaging interprofessional project for student learners that will bring students and regional partners together to impact the health of the community. She hopes to develop a project that provides insight into the issues, concerns, and barriers to care in rural eastern Oregon.

“Since moving to La Grande in 2010, I have come to appreciate the ‘it takes a village’ concept of caring and nurturing for one another on an individual and community level,” explained Jill. “I believe this concept is a major part of overall health and wellness that is not taught in the didactic setting. I hope we can bring each student to understand how communities impact health, and help them find their village to live, learn, and grow.”

Outside of her position with the CRH, Jill has served as a Primary Care Transformation Specialist for the Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI) and the Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO) since 2015. She earned her master’s degree in public health from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in 2009 and has an impressive portfolio of community-based research. Jill’s wealth of experience also includes former positions with the Oregon Rural Practice-Based Research Network (ORPRN) and the Oregon Health Authority.

Fun facts:

Jill loves hiking and traveling! She has hiked Machu Picchu in Peru and is always looking for a new adventure. In addition, she lived in Thailand in 2005 and credits her passion for rural healthcare to the eye-opening experience.

According to Hagen, “Jill will bring her knowledge, expertise, and long-term relationships to students through contextual learning and community-based experiences.” She added, “We anticipate that the connections Jill will build between OHSU students and rural/frontier communities will be rich and beneficial to both.”

NEOAHEC and OHSU are confident that Beckie and Jill’s passion, experience, and invigorating energy will allow the CRH reach the next level as a beacon for rural and interprofessional healthcare education in Oregon.

“The Campus of Rural Health in Northeast Oregon and NEOAHEC are looking forward to hosting students from all disciplines and allowing them to experience a contextual and valuable learning experience, which will contribute to their future professional practice,” said Hagen.

For more information about the CRH, please visit https://www.ohsu.edu/xd/education/schools/rural-health.cfm

Celebrate National Rural Health Day with us!


*NEOAHEC and the Campus for Rural Health team would like to invite you to join the Office of Rural Health and Senator Ron Wyden on Thursday, Nov. 15th for a web-based conversation centered around practicing medicine in a rural community.


Connect Online: https://nexus.ohsu.edu/invited.sf?secret=BTirk4DWufrZJWjiGOMsLg&id=928351642

Call In: 503-444-9598 Meeting ID: 928351642#

Navigate HERE for more ways to celebrate National Rural Health Day