NHCW Profile: Meet Shanako DeVoll, Old Town Recovery Center

Aug 14, 2015

When CCC’s Old Town Recovery Center searched for someone to lead its new Integrated Health & Recovery Team (IHART), a patient-centered behavioral health home with primary care integration, Shanako DeVoll was the natural choice. Perhaps it was her passion for CCC’s patient population, her broad and versatile clinical skill set (sharpened by time spent working at several other CCC health programs), and her undeniable leadership qualities. But, maybe, it was also that Shanako was simply born to do this work.

After all, she feels that she’s been a social worker since she was eight-years-old, when she began sticking up for her friends from bullies. The lives of several family members are affected by addiction and mental illness.

“I guess I’ve always been about helping people find their voice and advocating for them, even when I didn’t know that’s what I was doing.”

As the IHART manager, Shanako leads the team through a huddle each morning to talk and strategize about clients’ needs. She provides consultations and oversees the IHART patient population to ensure that each client remains engaged in the program. The work keeps her busy, but it’s her clients – the ones she works with now, as well as the all those she’s worked with before – who keep her motivated.

“I’ve learned so much from our clients. They’re often hilarious and warm and generous. There are pieces of their personality that come out when you get to know them that will make anyone realize, ‘Wow, these people are awesome.’”

Still, Shanako knows all too well the barriers and stigma that her clients face when it comes to attaining a decent quality of life. This is why she is so passionate about IHART, which seeks to bring patients into a model of care that is barrier-free, team-based, data-driven, and client-centered. And while she knows that helping a patient population with such complex needs will not be easy, Shanako maintains a perspective that, like everything else she does, is patient-centered.

“I think about their little steps forward, like coming in unaccompanied to pick up her medications. Knowing our patients helps me understand that everyone’s success looks different.”

• • •

Shanako's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.



NHCW Profile: Meet Kipp Bajaj, Old Town Clinic

Aug 14, 2015

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Kipp Bajaj, a naturopath physician at Old Town Clinic, has seen everything. After all, he’s worked in Central City Concern’s clinic settings for 14 years; he’s been with CCC even longer if you include his internships and rotations. But as it turns out, that’s not the case.

“I’m always seeing something new, learning something new. My time here has helped me become a better physician.”

Kipp started at Portland Alternative Health Center (then affectionately known as PAHC, and now known as CCC Recovery Center) and is now a primary care provider at OTC. Though he has seen buildings razed and erected, colleagues come and go, and patients of all stripes, Kipp has always been taken by the mission of Central City Concern. The work that CCC does to help individuals experiencing homelessness, in ill health, or living with addiction progress into a state of stability and wellness is, Kipp admits, idealistic. But time and time again Kipp has seen clients and patients find that better place.

“This place believes in people and it does so with compassion and honesty.”

And what does that belief in those that Central City Concern serves look life in Kipp’s work?

“I see my role as an educator. I hope that the knowledge about health and healing that I communicate to my patients can empower them and open pathways to wellness.”

While he holds himself to a high standard, he remains gracious and exceedingly kind to everyone with whom he crosses paths. These qualities make him beloved by his colleagues and patients, but to Kipp, it’s simply a matter of service.

“This is a place for me to fulfill the need to serve others. I hope my service shows my belief in transformation and change.”

• • •

Kipp's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.



NHCW Profile: Meet Donna Easlick, Letty Owings Center

Aug 14, 2015

When Donna Easlick speaks, her words carry a kindness that invites you to engage in conversation, a skill that comes in handy in her role as a counselor at Letty Owings Center. Donna knows firsthand how much of a difference that kindness can make, especially as someone with her own history of drug and alcohol addiction. When she first started her journey to sobriety, “I was vulnerable, but I was treated very well. I was listened to. I was helped and given the opportunity to thrive.”

Donna sees much of her past in the parenting and pregnant young mothers who receive residential treatment at LOC: vulnerable, accustomed to focusing on survival, and wanting to get clean and sober. “I became a counselor because I want to give back what was given to me.”

So she spends her day meeting with clients individually (to work through barriers to sober living, to teach healthy coping skills, to develop recovery plans) and in groups (to process and build community). Donna even supervises counseling interns at LOC, ensuring that her example infuses kindness into the practices of future counselors. Through it all, Donna remains upbeat, encouraging, and inviting.

“I really care about their process. I want them each to be successful.”

• • •

Donna's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.




NHCW Profile: Meet Amanda Guevara, Detoxification Services

Aug 13, 2015

Plenty of people start a new job and eventually grow into liking their work. But for Amanda Guevara, she was all-in from her very first interview for a position at Central City Concern’s Sobering Station.

“I had the opportunity to watch how the staff helped people when they were most in need, and I knew immediately – I wanted to do this,” she remembers.

That was 10 years ago. Since then, Amanda has grown from an on-call employee to a permanent Detox Worker, then to a manager. Today, Amanda is CCC’s Assistant Director of Detoxification Services, overseeing and ensuring the safety of the staff and clients of the Sobering Station, the CHIERS program, and the Hooper Detox Center.

While she spends much of her day providing support to her staff, she is intentional about staying closely in touch with the individuals receiving services. After all, it was the opportunity to assist individuals in vulnerable situations that resonated so much with her.

Despite her own penchant for establishing a rapport with the people who are admitted from the street as a result of being incapacitated due to substance use, Amanda knows how people in the public may judge the individuals served by the CHIERS van, Sobering Station, or Hooper Detox. After years of seeing people start their journeys to recovery as a result of receiving these services, what Amanda sees is potential and hope.

“Getting to know the people we serve is what changes everything. I love hearing someone say, ‘This is the day that I’m going to change my life.’”

• • •

Amanda's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.



NHCW Profile: Meet Petrus Oliphant, Old Town Recovery Center

Aug 13, 2015


Petrus Oliphant always knew that he wanted to work in healthcare. It was the matter of specialty that escaped him. He says that eventually he was “lucky enough to be around the right people at the right times” to be nudged toward pharmacy. Once he was on that path, Petrus found further fortuitous influences.

“I worked with a pharmacist who exemplified the impact you can make in a pharmacy. He showed me that pharmacy is and can be so much more than dispensing medication.”

Petrus had often walked through the streets of Portland’s Old Town, where he saw firsthand the effects of untreated mental illness. He decided to combine his new understanding of pharmacy’s potential to improve patient access to quality care with his acute awareness of the struggles that individuals living with mental illness experience by volunteering at CCC’s Old Town Clinic. Now, Petrus works at CCC’s Old Town Recovery Center as a pharmacist to extend OTC’s pharmacy services to patients who are managing mental illness.

With his focus on psychiatric medicine, Petrus spends much of his day meeting individually with patients, helping them understand their medications, educating them about any changes, and offering supports that increase the likelihood of patients staying on their medication plan. His position has made him a natural advocate for CCC’s continuing efforts to integrate primary care with mental health care.

Petrus understands that many of the patients he sees often don’t have access to the breadth of resources that others do, often marginalized or poorly served by the mainstream healthcare system. At the Old Town Recovery Center, Petrus sees a chance to impact those who need – and deserve – high-quality care.

“I really enjoy involving patients in their own care. This is what I want to be doing. This is where I want to be.”

• • •

Petrus's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.



NHCW Profile: Meet Kerith Hartmann, Old Town Clinic

Aug 13, 2015

For Kerith Hartmann, work is deeply personal. The commitment and creativity that she brings to her work as a health educator at Central City Concern’s Old Town Clinic stems from a desire to work toward equity and equality for all people, especially those living with chronic health hardships, addiction, and often without a home.

“We really owe it to the population we serve to give them the same opportunities and healthcare like everyone else.”

As a health educator, Kerith regularly screens patients for unhealthy alcohol use with the SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment) approach, coordinates a tobacco cessation program, puts on opiate safety classes, makes appropriate referrals, and otherwise works to improve her patients’ health literacy. With each patient she meets, Kerith gently works to find out not only what health changes they want to make, but why they want to change.

“It’s like detective work. But after I find out, that’s when I can completely devote my support to those reasons.”

Sometimes, the health behavior changes that patients work on take hold; other times, they don’t. The vulnerable individuals who access services at Old Town Clinic have often been given up on – by loved ones, by the mainstream healthcare system, by society. But Kerith is determined to do what she can to empower those she works with and instill in them a sense of belief. To her, her patients’ goals aren’t “a matter of can or can’t. It’s a matter of figuring out what’s right and will work for you.”

“I don’t think you can ever give up on somebody. I want to let our patients know that they are incredibly resilient and capable of so much.”

• • •

Kerith's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.



NHCW Profile: Meet Shauna Hahn, Old Town Recovery Center

Aug 12, 2015


Shauna Hahn doesn’t hesitate to admit that working at Old Town Recovery Center, Central City Concern’s flagship behavioral and mental health program, can be difficult. There, as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, she works with individuals who are homeless and impoverished. Most have experienced trauma; all live with severe mental illness. But in the midst of meeting with patients, coordinating care within and outside CCC, and collaborating with her team to problem solve patients’ crises, Shauna finds meaning and inspiration in those she serves.

“Sticking with this work and our patients lets me find the deeper layer. This work shows me the best parts of humanity.”

Her George Gordon First Nation heritage and upbringing shaped her commitment to service and compassion, which she’s translated into a decade-long career devoted to caring for OTRC’s vulnerable population. Shauna’s warmth and humor open up genuine relationships with her patients, some of whom have remained engaged with her for nearly 10 years, an exceptional length of continuous care in the world of community health.

Shauna is a tireless advocate for those she serves, working to ensure her patients feel as welcomed and comfortable as possible while receiving care. Still, she knows that so many of the individuals she sees have gone far too long without experiencing kindness, or having their suffering acknowledged, or being validated as fundamentally good people. Shauna seeks to remedy that.

“We love people here who aren’t loved in other places.”

Ten years in, Shauna still pursues continuous improvement in what she knows and how she relates to her patients. She approaches her work and her patients with soulfulness and humility, an approach she trusts will make this corner of the world a better place.

“I’ve experienced more than my share of moments of beautiful humanity here.”

• • •

Shauna's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.



NHCW Profile: Meet Ines Mena, Eastside Concern

Aug 12, 2015

Counselors and staff members of Eastside Concern, one of CCC’s outpatient substance use disorder and domestic violence treatment programs, are accustomed to a level of unpredictability in their work. So it’s no wonder that Ines Mena, Eastside’s administrative support specialist, and her hallmark reliability are so appreciated and admired by all her colleagues.

For the last 17 years, Ines has single-handedly managed medical records for the program. (Central City Concern began operating Eastside Concern, which was formerly known as ChangePoint/Southeast, Portland, in the fall of 2012.) Her co-workers know that she can counted on for many things: to file all client documents and counselors’ progress notes accurately, to ensure that counselors never have to go searching for a needed form, to be the first one at the office each morning.

Though Ines stays behind the scenes, her steadiness makes a tangible difference at Eastside Concern. “Providing support for the counselors is the best way I can help our clients,” Ines says.

Even as the number of clients Eastside Concern serves – and all the paperwork that comes along with them – has grown, Ines is willing as ever to do whatever it takes to keep the office rolling smoothly. Gabi Gallegos, Eastside Concern’s Operations Manager, has seen that Ines is “willing to drop everything at the drop of a hat to help anyone.”

As Ines approaches two decades of work at Eastside Concern, she remains devoted to her work, but even more so to those with whom she works.

“I love my co-workers. I feel like we’re family and I love to help them however I can.”

• • •

Ines's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.



NHCW Profile: Meet Scotti Warren, Recuperative Care Program

Aug 12, 2015

In college, Scotti Warren participated in a medical service trip to Honduras. While her fellow pre-med students shadowed doctors treating medical issues, Scotti found herself routinely gripped by other questions. Why were people showing up to the clinic sick? What situations led to their need for medical care?

Scotti, now a Team Lead at CCC’s Recuperative Care Program, couples her commitment to tackling the big questions with her dedication to providing direct service to a highly complex and vulnerable patient population. Every day, the RCP team makes sure that their patient residents are safe and supported, whether that means check-ins, providing transportation, or finding myriad ways to support patients’ goals.

“I want the people we serve – and the RCP staff, too – to know that I care, that I’m listening, and I’m available for whatever needs arise.”

More often than not, RCP patients aren’t in a position to navigate large systems, like affordable housing or specialized medical care, on their own. Scotti is passionate about speaking up on behalf of her patients who are often left feeling powerless and voiceless in their pursuit to access services.

“For me, caring for our patients translates into being willing to advocate, even when that means going up against large systems.”

Scotti is more invested in the big picture than ever before. She aspires to one day use what she has learned (and continues to learn) about her patients’ aspirations, needs, and barriers to inform and influence policy changes.

“I'm committed to continue using the social power we have as healthcare professionals to keep advocating and expressing concern on behalf of those we serve.”

• • •

Scotti's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.



NHCW Profile: Meet Dr. Lee Salsburg, Hooper Detox

Aug 11, 2015

Fifteen to 45 minutes. That’s the total amount of time that Dr. Lee Salsburg typically has with each patient she sees at Central City Concern’s Hooper Detox Center. Acutely aware of her time limitations, Lee is intentional about what she can offer to each patient besides making sure that all the medical loose ends – like medication and protocol – are tied up.

“I hope to bring a level of respect for each patient as a human being. Kindness. Generosity. Simple things our patients might not get elsewhere.”

Lee understands that the majority of the highly vulnerable individuals she sees have arrived at Hooper as a result of some combination of broken systems, the disease of addiction, and personal choices. The patients Lee works with are those without access to the resources that allow others in more fortunate positions to absorb and rebound from the ravaging effects addiction can have on lives. It has always pained Lee, who started her medical career in family medicine, to see patients without access to housing, education, or quality healthcare.

“Medicine is the way I can hopefully level the playing field even just a little bit.”

Working in such a transient setting can make it difficult to recognize progress. But Lee tries to catch and acknowledge even the smallest victories. Sometimes that comes from conversations with patients who are honest with themselves and to her about their addiction and have acknowledged the measures they need to take in order to make a change. Other times it’s the sight of a patient who becomes noticeably relieved after Lee assures him that their current level of hygiene is okay with her.

With each 15-to-45- minute patient interaction, Lee doesn’t only see the patient for the day’s needs. She acknowledges his past. She hopes for his future.

“We’ve all made mistakes, but there’s always possibility past that point to change. This is not a point of judgment, it’s a point of departure for better things.”

• • •

Lee's story is part of Central City Concern's week-long series to celebrate National Health Center Week by highlighting just a few of the many extraordinary people who make the work of CCC's health centers possible. The week of August 9 through August 15 is a time to recognize the services and contributions of health centers that provide affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.

Learn more about CCC and National Health Center Week by reading a post introducing this series from Leslie Tallyn, CCC's Chief Clinical Operations Officer.