Oregon School-Based Health Alliance

02/16/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/16/2020 13:56

Read our February 2020 Newsletter

This month, we talk with Danni/y Rosen, who is OSBHA's newest Board of Directors Co-Chair. Danni/y talks about her experience with social justice work, what brought him to the OSBHA board, and the value of youth input in our work.

Please describe your background and how it brings you to OSBHA.

I've lived in Oregon almost all my life. I was born in Klamath Falls and have lived in Portland Metro and Eugene areas. All my education has been in Oregon Schools including my college and university work. Since my years in high school I have been sensitive to social justice causes, especially those impacting youth.

My professional career was in information technology, starting at the University of Oregon, then Tektronix, Freightliner and finally Blue Cross Blue Shield/Regence, where I spent 25 years, retiring in 2009. During my time at Blue Cross, my interest increased in the relationship between insurance, providers and various policies and laws.

I have been involved with youth programs throughout my life. For 10 years my spouse and I were part of a youth leadership seminar that had youth meeting with various business leaders for three and a half days. One high school sophomore from each high school in Oregon was invited. In 2009 I joined the board of the Oregon Chapter of GLSEN. GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. In 2014 I was elected Chair and last year the chapter moved to a co-chair model. I was re-elected as one of the co-chairs. I was also on the board of Basic Rights Oregon between 2015 and 2020.

As a member of GLSEN Oregon I have worked with various schools and districts on policies and policy implementation. I have worked with LGBTQ student groups within the schools. During one of these efforts I worked with the North Clackamas School District. It is there I met the previous OSBHA Chair/Co-Chair Michael Ralls. Michael was the person who first asked me about joining the OSBHA board. I joined the board in 2018 as a member of the first board expansion effort. In January I was elected as the second co-chair.

As our new board co-chair, what excites you most about the current work OSBHA is doing and where we are headed?

This is an exciting time to be on the board. With the passing of the Student Success Act and other legislation and funding there are opportunities for OSBHA to provide valuable input and expertise built over the years that our organization has existed. Increasingly there is an understanding that health is a prerequisite to learning. Recognizing that access to inclusive health care is often difficult or unavailable, OSBHA's relationship with school-based health centers and partnerships with school-based health providers and mental health services, offers an important voice. The network of youth in Student Health Advocates, Youth Advisory Councils and various youth led and presented workshops and training brings youth together with decision makers. Through these relationships youth have direct input related to their health care needs.

You've been involved in the committee working to bring youth onto the OSBHA Board of Directors. Can you share why it's so important that we bring youth onto the board?

As a youth focused organization it is important to have youth perspective and input in the decision making process. Often this is accomplished through advisory councils or specifically focused committees. After some discussion the current board realized that what matters is youth engagement in the decisions and leadership within the organization at the highest levels. The needs and experiences of youth, especially when it comes to health care, can be fluid. Having a youth cohort join as an expansion of the board brings that input into every aspect of the board leadership. During this last year a group of youth have developed a proposal that was submitted to the board and accepted. Applicants are being interviewed with a target date of March 1 for final recommendations.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it to advance health equity?

So many to choose from… the power of persuasion. I would use it to convince those who are steadfastly resistant to recognize that investing in the health of our youth is a magnificent idea. Closely followed by teleportation - so traveling to various meetings and events did not take so much time.