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Community Health Needs Assessment 101: Yoncalla Early Works

Yoncalla Early Works takes a comprehensive approach to preparing kids for success in school and life. For the last two years, the project has combined early learning, health, and family engagement strategies to set young children on a path to third grade readiness. Third grade readiness is important because reading proficiently by the end of third grade is one of the greatest predictors of high school graduation. In fact, kids who don’t read at grade level by the end of third grade are 25 percent less likely to graduate.

EdScreen Shot 2017 06 14 at 4.15.49 PMIn the summer of 2016, the rural southeastern Oregon communities of Yoncalla, Drain, and Elkton joined together to gather critical information about how to improve the health of young children in their communities. With assistance from Children’s Institute and Portland State University, community members conducted a “Community Health Needs Assessment.” The term Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) may sound confusing, but the assessment is a way to determine a community’s needs and address them effectively. 


Read more: Community Health Needs Assessment 101: Yoncalla Early Works

9th Annual Make It Your Business Luncheon Recap

ChildInst Luncheon AW133 mediumOn Thursday, May 18, 300 early childhood advocates, educators, business leaders, and friends attended Children’s Institute’s Make It Your Business Luncheon at the Portland Art Museum. More than $153,000 was raised to continue our advocacy for strategic investments in early education and healthy development beginning with prenatal care.

Donalda Dodson, winner of the 2017 Alexander Award and executive director for the Oregon Child Development Coalition, spoke about the need for communities to come together to improve outcomes in maternal health and early education. “Nothing I have done has been done alone, but through committed team efforts,” she says.

Our keynote speaker, Professor Sean Reardon of Stanford University, delivered a timely and engaging presentation on education inequality. He said organizations like Children’s Institute that bring together “all aspects of the social safety net” have the best chance of changing children’s lives.

Read more: 9th Annual Make It Your Business Luncheon Recap

Interview with public health and early education expert Donalda Dodson

ChildInst Luncheon AW80 webDonalda Dodson, MPH, RN, will receive the Richard C. Alexander Award at the Make It Your Business Luncheon on Thursday, May 18. Ms. Dodson is a pioneer in public health who has dedicated over 40 years to strengthening the health of pregnant women, young children, and families throughout Oregon. She works at the nexus of early learning and public health as the executive director of the Oregon Child Development Coalition, where she oversees the innovative Migrant and Seasonal Head Start program among eight other services. Ms. Dodson sat down to talk with Children’s Institute staff to talk about the intersection of early learning and public health, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, and her definition of equity. 

Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

CI: What inspired you to pursue a career in public health? 
Dodson: I have always loved babies and children. When I was a teenager I wanted to have twelve children. Knowing that I could not have twelve children I went into maternal and child health instead. I liked the one-on-one care in nursing, but public health really intrigued me because you could serve 20,000 families or 200,000 families. And, maternal and child care is where it all starts. Good, positive prenatal care, healthy babies; if you start there, then you are going to get a better outcome. Public health is rewarding, preventive, and anticipatory. Public health has been my career for 40 years or so. 

Read more: Interview with public health and early education expert Donalda Dodson

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