Q. How did you get involved in Northwest Health Foundation?
A. I was recruited to the board. I am not sure how my name came up.
Q. What is your role on NWHF's board?
A. Currently I serve as chair of the Equity Committee, and also as a member of the Community Engagement Committee.
Q. What have you learned so far from NWHF’s Learning Together & Connecting Communities project?
A. It has been very inspiring to learn about some of the amazing work that is being done to address the needs of people with disabilities. Also, I think my thinking has deepened a lot about how important it is to treat persons with disabilities as whole persons and not just make their disability the focus. That sounds so obvious when you say it, but it is a common mistake that I have made myself.
Q. How do you think the Learning Together & Connecting Communities project will change NWHF’s foundational practices?
A. It is not enough to have the intention to fund more of the work of organizations who work with people with disabilities. Without relationships, we leave our own blind spots intact and cannot make decisions that are likely to have the most impact. We need to empower others who have been working for a long time on such issues to broaden their impact and find ways to collaborate. I think this project will help us be a more effective participant in work that has already been done. It will help us to ask better questions of others and ourselves.
Q. What has been your favorite moment at NWHF?
A. There are so many. I really doubted what I could contribute early on but have found work to do that is deeply meaningful to me. I still doubt how much I have contributed but am so grateful for the opportunity to work on equity issues in an organization that is really willing to ask hard questions and work on such issues. NWHF is often the only place I can ask certain questions or raise certain issues and not pay a heavy price, and have some hope of others engaging with those questions and issues.
Q. How do you relate to NWHF’s mission and values?
A. I have spent my career harboring deep concern for the overlooked experiences and needs of oppressed and underrepresented communities. Most of my work has been in the arena of law, but NWHF has deepened my awareness of the health impacts of the same disparities that have troubled me for my entire career.
Q. What do you do for your day job?
A. I am a judge on the Oregon Court of Appeals. I preside over a panel of three judges and we review all kinds of cases that come through the state courts and administrative agencies.
Q. How do you define “health?”
A. My idea of health includes the whole person: their physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. Health also includes all that is true about a given individual: his or her cultural context, family of origin, gender and sexual identity, and physical gifts and limitations. All of us need healing from time-to-time, but we don't need fixing. We do need understanding.
Q. If you could change one thing in your community, what would you change?
A. I would like for all of my communities to be more genuinely embracing of difference and to be constantly interested in hearing perspectives that are currently unrepresented or have been historically underpresented.
Q. Would you rather be a deep sea diver or an astronaut?
A. An astronaut.