Our Approach

How We Approach This Task

How healthy are Oregonians? That question goes to the well-being of individuals, families, communities, the state’s economy, and our quality of life.

Health in Oregon is a picture of scattered improvement against a backdrop of pervasive challenges. Pockets of innovative effort have promoted better nutrition, physical activity, and vibrant communities. These, in turn, have reduced obesity and tobacco rates, produced other positive outcomes and made Oregon generally healthier. Yet at the same time, smoking, obesity, and alcohol misuse account for one third of all deaths in Oregon and cost billions of dollars in healthcare costs and loss of productivity each year. Moreover, Oregon has one of the highest rates of depression in the nation.

Explore Our Current State of Health

Read and review the 2015 Oregon State of Oregon Health Report.


Oregon has not mustered the collective assets, expertise, and capacity to act on this dilemma. Instead, isolated programs or policies using different strategies and measurement systems do what they can. Yet their impact is limited for the most part to their own program boundaries. That’s because they lack the systems to share and learn together about how to improve the overall health of the state, particularly in our most vulnerable communities.

Over one hundred key-informant interviews across the state recognized that emphasis should be placed further upstream. From this work emerged two strategic areas where Oregon Healthiest State partners could have the greatest impact complementing existing efforts:

  1. Industry or community-wide actions from policies to investments – that change the context in communities and organizations to help make the healthy choice easier.
  2. Statewide Collective Impact, or gathering of partners to address an issue through shared measurement, a shared agenda, and aligned efforts.

Measuring Success

Oregon Healthiest State’s work will be driven by data, ensuring that our work is informed by evidence and we’re scaling up programs and policies proven to be effective. In 2015, a Strategy and Evaluation Committee guided the direction of the first State of Health in Oregon: Progress and Opportunities report.

The current focus of this committee is to develop a shared measurement / adaptive learning system to allow communities and organizations to self-organize around each pressing issue.

More about adaptive learning and shared measurement systems here: [insert resource here]

Thank you to our Strategy and Evaluation Committee members for their time and commitment:

Leann Johnson, Director, Office of Equity and Inclusion, Oregon Health Authority
Mylia Christensen, Executive Director, Oregon Health Care Quality Corporation
Elena Andresen, Interim Dean, OHSU – PSU School of Public Health
Jackie Shannon, Director, Integrated Program in Community Research, OHSU
Jeff Todahl, Director, Center for Prevention of Abuse and Neglect, University of Oregon
Bobby Cochran, Executive Director, Willamette Partnership

Strategy For Change

Oregon Healthiest State aims to achieve three overarching goals:

1. All Oregonians are healthy
2. Healthy equity increases
3. Oregon is the Healthiest State in the Nation

Informed by data, Oregon health and well-being experts identified six factors that contribute to poor physical well-being. Addressing these vigorously – especially for our most vulnerable populations – holds the greatest potential to reduce chronic diseases and conditions that lead to premature death, restrain sky-rocketing healthcare costs, and improve overall health and well-being in the state.

Oregon Healthiest State’s strategy can be best depicted using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health Impact Pyramid. The Health Impact Pyramid is used to describe interventions that improve health based on impact to a population. The first strategy (changing the context in communities and across industries) lives in the second from the bottom tier of the pyramid and the second strategy (Statewide Collective Impact) encompasses tactics at every level of the pyramid tackling a single pressing issue.