Oregon School-Based Health Alliance

09/16/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/16/2019 19:49

Interview with OSBHA's New Board Co-Chair


OSBHA is so happy to welcome Sarah Fast as our new Board Co-Chair. In this interview, she explains what brought her to this work and where we're going from here.

Please describe your background and how it brings you to OSBHA.
I have dedicated the majority of my professional career to working with youth across the Portland Metropolitan Area to help them (and their families) live healthy lifestyles in ways that celebrate their culture, engages them in lifelong learning, and allow them to thrive. This has given me a deep understanding of the connection between access to services and the health disparities that historically undeserved communities experience. I value OSBHA's work in supporting health centers that provide equitable access to a basic human right, healthcare.

What excites you most about the current work OSBHA is doing and about where we are headed?
I am particularly drawn to the work OSBHA has done with Trauma Informed Schools, as demonstrates an understanding of how a holistic approach to education is key in supporting all youth and building thriving communities. Our youth spend nearly half of their time each day in schools, and to prioritize a trauma informed environment for them is a radical approach to ensuring lifelong learners, building resiliency, and in reducing overall health disparities many communities experience. I look forward to how OSBHA's policy and advocacy work can further support this cause, and build new opportunities to help dismantle oppression that exists in the structure of our education and health systems.

As our new Board Co-Chair, can you talk about how the co-chair model fits with our OSBHA equity goal of sharing power?
I am excited to be a part of this new model as it lays the groundwork for collective leadership and ongoing collaborative processes. I believe the core of governance is about making sure the organization is serving the community with integrity, which also means we have a responsibility to ensure diverse perspectives are represented in each decision we make. The co-chair model helps us to do so, while embodying a learning mindset which is key when centering equity in our work.

Did you catch this interview in our September 2019 newsletter? Read it here & if you aren't already subscribed, click here to sign up for emails from OSBHA.