May 20, 2021 | Racism as a Public Health Crisis: From Declaration to Action

The Centers for Disease Control, American Medical Association and even Multnomah County have recently declared racism as a crisis for public health. Now the Oregon Legislature is considering it, too. Hear from health equity advocates, clinicians and policy leaders about what these declarations may mean, if anything, for marshalling new resources to combat health inequities, police violence, environmental injustice related to this crisis, as well as for health care policy, practice, and patient outcomes.


Izzy Ventura Meda is the Executive Director of Familias en Acción. He moved to Eastern Oregon in 1999 from Mexico and is a first-generation college graduate with a BA in Business Administration. Izzy has served on several Boards for racial and social justice nonprofit organizations. He has also participated in several POC leadership programs such as the Hispanic Chamber Latino Leadership Class, LGBTQ Racial and Social Justice Leadership, and Unid@s for Oregon, a statewide leadership development program that fosters cohesion, trust, and relationships among Latino leaders. Before joining Familias en Acción, Izzy had been focused on supporting Latino families and first-time homebuyers navigate the homebuying process using first-time homebuyer loan programs, down payment assistance, and leading community development programs. In his spare time Izzy enjoys photography and exploring Oregon with his pit bull, Romeo.

Contact Izzy Ventura Meda at izzy@familiasenacció


Ebony Sloan Clarke, LCSW, MSW, serves as the Interim Director of Multnomah County Health Department, and was previously the Multnomah County Behavioral Health Director. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 24 years of experience working in both the publicly funded and nonprofit behavioral health arena developing services and supports, providing leadership, organizational development, people management, and equity and inclusion. Ebony joined Multnomah County in 2010, stepping in as the Senior Manager of Direct Clinical Services. Before joining the county, she worked as a Service Director of Child and Family Services at Lifeworks NW where she oversaw child and family outpatient mental health, prevention, and culturally-specific adult mental health and addiction services. Ebony earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Oregon in Community and Human Services in 1999 and earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Portland State University in 2001. She was appointed to the Oregon Health Policy Board by Governor Kate Brown in October 2020, and appointed in 2013 by Governor John Kitzhaber to the Oregon State Board of Licensed Social Workers where she served two terms. She also volunteered her time on the Lake Oswego School District Board Appointed Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee serving as one of the co-chairs. Ebony’s mission is to build and support a continuum of care that yields equitable and quality services to promote individual, family, and community healing and wellbeing. During her off time, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 18 years and their two sons.

Contact Ebony Sloan Clarke at

Leslie Gregory, PA-C, is a certified Physician Assistant, navy veteran, and mother of two. She is a longtime Portlander and social justice activist focused on healing those affected by everyday racism. She believes in the importance of taking a dynamic, trauma-informed and clinical approach to teaching racial justice through health practices. From an early age Leslie has seen the toll on the human body and mind of fear of “other” and the ability of common interest to heal. The daughter of two civil rights activists and clinicians, her protocol to address racism as a public health crisis was adapted from a community-based mobile unit strategy that has demonstrated efficacy in screening and empowering those at highest risk, engagement in community participation and de-escalation of internal and external violence. Leslie is an experienced antiracist facilitator and conflict facilitation mediator. She writes and conducts research on the health impacts of racism for ALL Americans with a clinical and public health lens, accessing the humanistic and preventive approach. She encourages people to use empathy, introspection and intention around interpersonal and sociopolitical engagement and as a means of enhancing personal and community health.

Contact Leslie Gregory at

Danaya Hall, RN, has been a registered nurse for 14 years, working primarily in Maternal Child and Public Health. She is currently studying to become a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and is the founding president of the Alliance of Black Nurses Association of Oregon, which chartered last year. She sits on the Mini Nurse Academy curriculum committee with the National Black Nurses Association. When she is not studying, she enjoys spending time with her family enjoying Oregon’s natural beauty, and when the rains come, she enjoys cooking, karaoke, and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Contact Danaya Hall at

Rep. Courtney Neron (D), District 26 – Wilsonville, Sherwood, South Hillsboro

Rep. Courtney Neron is invested in the livability of our region for generations to come. She grew up in Tigard, Oregon where her heroes were the teachers who encouraged her to stand up for what is right. It was ultimately their inspiration in the classroom that led Rep. Neron to pursue teaching. Community involvement and communication have always been a part of her life, whether though service clubs or athletics, student government or political organizations, or theater or parent groups. For nearly a decade she taught French and Spanish in Yamhill-Carlton, Tualatin, and Tigard High Schools, and recently resigned to pursue public office to be able to support staff and students in public education in a different way. Serving in the House of Representatives, Rep. Neron is working to ensure schools have smaller class sizes and better funding. She is a champion for safe and equitable communities, logical transportation solutions, necessary environmental protections, and accessible and affordable health care. She advocates for working families by supporting equal pay for equal work, paid family medical leave, and affordable childcare. Rep. Neron is a member of the House Education Committee, House Veterans and Emergency Preparedness Committee, and the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources.

Contact Rep. Neron at

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