January 12, 2021 | Saving Oregon’s Ailing Children’s Mental Health System

Even before COVID-19, Oregon’s mental health system was failing its children. Now kids are isolated at home and families are facing the worst economic and health crises in a generation, driving up rates of mental illness. Already-fragile mental health care providers are additionally poised for deep state budget cuts. This event will explore how stakeholders, advocates and policymakers can come together to protect and assist vulnerable youth.

Senator Arnie Roblan represented the scenic and rugged central Oregon coast comprising the 5th Senate District. Previously Senator Roblan served 4 terms as State Representative for House District 9, two terms as Co-Speaker.

In 2018, the Legislative Leadership tasked Senator Roblan with studying K-12 education and make recommendations on how to improve a system that has suffered through three decades of disinvestment. With his bipartisan committee, he traveled nearly 3,000 miles to 77 different schools across the state to listen directly to students, teachers, families and communities about what they needed to support Oregon’s public education system.  With the passage of the Student Success Act, and as part of his life-long commitment to fighting for education, Sen. Roblan was able to ensure that Oregon students were ready and able to learn during their educational path.

In 2019, legislative leadership established and tasked Sen. Roblan to Chair the Senate Committee on Mental Health to identify unaddressed behavioral health issues affecting Oregonians.  The Governor later declared Executive Order N. 19-06, establishing the Behavioral Health Advisory Council. Senator Roblan and members of the Council were tasked with setting priorities for the 2021-23 biennium and recommendations for concrete actions, policies and potential investments needed to preserve and improve services and supports for youth and adults with serious mental illness.

As a lifelong coastal resident, Arnie and his wife Arlene spent the last spent 45 years on the Oregon Coast where he raised our 3 children.

Senator Roblan can be reached at aroblan@charter.net.

Steve Allen, Steve Allen is the Behavioral Health Director for the Oregon Health Authority, where he provides direction and oversight of Oregon’s public behavioral health systems of care. He joined OHA in the role in April 2019. He is a clinical social worker who began his career providing direct care for people with developmental disabilities and people with complex mental illness and substance use disorders.

Before accepting his current position, Steve was a Senior Policy Advisor with the Council of State Governments Justice Center, where he provided assessment, consultation and technical assistance in 10 states with the goal of informing policy and funding development to improve statewide systems of behavioral healthcare for people with complex behavioral health conditions.

His current focus is to elevate and amplify the voices of our consumers and communities of color to create systems of care in Oregon that are simpler to access, more responsive to what people need and that lead to meaningful improvements in their lives

Steve Allen can be reached at steven.j.allen@dhsoha.state.or.us.

Sandy Bumpus, MSW, Sandy has over 20 years professional experience in developing and promoting family support and involvement programs in Oregon and nationally. She has worked in private non-profit, government agencies, and as a private consultant to ensure families raising a child with special behavioral health needs have access to services and supports as well as advocacy opportunities to ensure that these are responsive to their needs.  As Executive Director for the Oregon Family Support Network, Sandy provides leadership in developing ‘family driven care’ approaches and best practices in utilizing the role of Family Support Specialists across the system of care.

Oregon Family Support Network, (OFSN) has over 30 years of practice in the work of family peer support and has gained recognition for its work at state and national level for its programs supporting families, and in the family support movement.  OFSN’s services are focused on support and education and advocacy opportunities for parents and direct caregivers raising a child experiencing special needs related to mental health.  OFSN has also been a leader in the development of a Statewide Children’s System of Care.

Ms. Bumpus’ passion for this work comes as the parent of a child who has experienced significant mental health challenges since the age of 3.

Sandy Bumpus can be reached at sandy.bumpus@ofsn.net.

Jamie Vandergon, LPC, is President of Trillium Family Services, where she oversees community-based and residential programs across the state of Oregon. Over the past 18 years, she has held progressively higher leadership positions within the agency. She began her career working in community-based children’s mental health programs at Johns Hopkins Hospital and initially began working for Trillium Family Services in 2002 as a school-based Child & Family Therapist. She holds a Master of Science degree in Psychology from Loyola University in Maryland, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Oregon.

Jamie Vandergon can be reached at JVandergon@trilliumfamily.org.

Dr. Satya Chandrigiri MD is the father of two children who graduated from Salem-Keizer schools where he currently serves as the elected School Board Director and Chair of the School Board. He serves as a psychiatrist in his community for children, adults and families who have struggled with mental illness, addiction, and other serious challenges. Dr. Satya’s work has extended throughout Oregon for the past 18 years. He serves those with mental illness, addiction, traumatic brain injuries, and other neuropsychiatric conditions in long term care in the Douglas and Lane Counties in addition to his work in rural Oregon. He is passionate about preventing suicide in children and youth in the Salem community. As part of the Salem Health Team, he is working on a Zero Suicide Initiative. He formerly served the VA community-based clinic, is a former superintendent and chief medical officer of the state hospital in Oregon and has international experience in starting a mental health program in Saint Lucia. Dr. Satya went to medical school at the Bangalore Medical College and earned his MD in psychiatry from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India. Dr. Satya and his wife are immigrants originally from India and were naturalized as U.S. citizens in 2010. They have resided in South Salem since 2005.

Dr. Satya Chandragiri can be reached at chandrasclinic@me.com.

Michael Sorensen, MPA Michael Sorensen joined the team at Cedar Hills Hospital and Outpatient Services in 2019 where he works to bring awareness to the community about the programs they offer. Michael has worked in the healthcare industry managing efforts to ameliorate health disparities, end AIDS, support people with cancer, address mental health and substance use issues, and access primary care and more. Michael is suicide survivor himself. Michael is the father of a 24-year-old son adopted through foster care. He holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marylhurst University. Michael was born in Portland, OR and though he has lived in many cities across the country, Portland always calls him home.

Michael Sorensen can be reached at michael.sorensen@uhsinc.com.


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To share your ideas or if you are interested in sponsoring this event, please contact Robin Moody at robin@oregonhealthforum.org.