Facing Race: the 2013 Oregon Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity

Facing Race is a collaborative effort of the Racial Equity Report Working Groups that includes: Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon, Causa Oregon, Center for Intercultural Organizing, Partnership for Safety and Justice, Urban League of Portland and Western States Center.

Click here to download the full report

In this report card, each member of the Oregon House and Senate was given an individual grade, based on both their votes and their leadership on 21 bills. Out of 30 Senators, there were 13 A’s, 3 B’s, 3 C’s and 11 Needs Improvement. Out of 60 Representatives, there were 29 A’s, 7 B’s, 3 C’s and 21 Needs Improvement.

A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From The Brink

From the website:

A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink will examine the rates of financial insecurity among American women and the children who depend on them, investigate the impact of it on our nation’s institutions and economic future, and promote modern solutions to help women strengthen their financial status.

Download the report and executive summary here.


The most common shared story in our country today is the financial insecurity of American families. Today, more than one in three Americans—more than 100 million people—live in poverty or on the edge of it. Half of all Americans will spend at least a few months churning into and out of poverty during their lifetimes. This economic immobility and inequality is a systemic and pervasive problem that President Barack Obama recently described as “the defining challenge of our time.”

The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink reveals this national crisis through the eyes of women. In an era when women have solidified their position as half of the U.S. workforce and a whopping two-thirds of the primary or co-breadwinners in American families, the reality is that a third of all American women are living at or near a space we call “the brink of poverty.” We define this as less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line, or about $47,000 per year for a family of four.

Forty-two million women, and the 28 million children who depend on them, are living one single incident—a doctor’s bill, a late paycheck, or a broken-down car—away from economic ruin. Women make up nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers, the vast majority of whom receive no paid sick days. This is at a time when women earn most of the college and advanced degrees in this country, make most of the consumer spending decisions by far, and are more than half of the nation’s voters.

This report details three major cultural and economic changes over the past 50 years that work against women and our economy:

  • While women represent a majority of college graduates, they are also more likely to work in poorly paid “pink-collar” service and caregiving occupations that leave them financially insecure. That’s because even though this job sector is among the fastest-growing sectors in the United States, there is a shocking lack of wage increases and benefits in it.

  • The American family has permanently changed, and women head up more families on their own. More than half of the babies born to women ages 30 and younger are born to unmarried mothers, most of them white. In our poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans and 85 percent of Millennials believe that government should adapt to the reality of single-parent families and use its resources to help children and mothers succeed, regardless of family status.

  • For women today, a post-high school degree is a ticket into the middle class, but that education is increasingly harder to obtain. In our poll, women living on the brink said they overwhelmingly regret not making education a bigger priority.

Failure to adapt to these real transformations in American culture not only leaves millions of women and their families in jeopardy, it also deprives our economy of a huge spending stimulus from the tens of millions of women eager to have money to spend on their families and in their communities. Closing the wage gap between men and women would cut the poverty rate in half for working women and add nearly half a trillion dollars to the national economy. But it goes even deeper than that. Studies show that for children, the trauma and chronic stress of poverty are toxic and have lifelong health impacts—physical, emotional, and mental.

Today’s challenges require new solutions, so we present a combination of public, private, and personal recommendations that can help reignite the American Dream for women and their families. We have brought together the best and brightest minds and challenged them to collaborate with us to develop fresh thinking around these issues. Taken together, these ideas present a modern social architecture designed to make individuals, businesses, and government stronger, more innovative, and better tailored to the realities of today’s hardworking families.

The report details a set of public policies that, if adopted, would boost women’s potential as breadwinners: a higher minimum wage, improved access to work and income supports, and better opportunities to access medium- and high-paying jobs. Additionally, women need policies that support their breadwinning and caregiving responsibilities. An overwhelming 96 percent of single mothers in our poll say paid leave is the workplace policy that would help them most, and nearly 80 percent of Americans say the government should expand access to high-quality, affordable child care.

Education: It Matters More to Health than Ever Before

From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation & Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health

We know with greater certainty than ever before that Americans with fewer years of education have poorer health and shorter lives. In fact, since the 1990s, life expectancy has fallen for people without a high school education, a decrease that is especially pronounced among White women.

Why is the link between education and health more distinct today? In the current knowledge economy, education paves a clear path to good jobs and a steady income. Completing more years of education creates better access to health insurance, medical care, and the resources to live a healthier lifestyle.

This brief and video are products of the Virginia Commonwealth University Center on Society and Health’s Education and Health Initiative, a program to raise awareness about the links between education and health. This is the first in a series of four briefs that will explain these complex connections, discuss the role of health care reform, and demonstrate why investing in education can cut health care costs.

Download the brief here.

Communities of Color in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile

People of color consistently lag behind whites on nearly every indicator, from poverty rates to jobs. This is why the report concludes that Multnomah County is a “uniquely toxic place” for people of color, especially when comparing Multnomah County to other counties throughout the United States. NWHF served as the primary funder of this report, which was one of the outcomes of a community-based participatory research project. 

Download the report (and other reports, disaggregated by community) here.

A Path to Prosperity: Four strategies to reduce Oregon’s poverty rate to 10% by 2020

At the 2013 Oregon Leadership Summit, the Oregon Business Plan issued a report with the help of the Prosperity Initiative Team outlining the opportunities to reduce poverty in Oregon.

Download the report here.

Whole Child Initiative


From ASCD:

Launched in 2007, ASCD's Whole Child Initiative is an effort to change the conversation about education from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the long term development and success of children. Through the initiative, ASCD helps educators, families, community members, and policymakers move from a vision about educating the whole child to sustainable, collaborative action.

Visit the Whole Child Initiative Website.

Investment in School Health Capacity: Payoffs in Health, Achievement and Stronger Communities

From Oregon's Center for Prevention and Health Promotion:

Health and education are deeply connected. The need for infrastructure--such as a school health coordinator and school health advisory councils—is often cited by researchers as a critical component to successful school health efforts. This detailed report examines the associations between Oregon student and school-level health and education data.  The association between school health infrastructure and high school graduation is explored and utilized as the starting point for a Return- On-Investment analysis.   The findings suggest that an investment to support school health infrastructure could provide longstanding social and economic benefits.

Download the report here.

Oregon Education Investment Board

From OEIB's website:

OEIB's vision is to advise and support the building, implementation and investment in a unified public education system in Oregon that meets the diverse learning needs of our youngest Oregonians through post-secondary student, and provides boundless opportunities that support success.

By doing so, we ensure 100% high school graduation by 2025 and that Oregon students are college and career ready.  Specifically, we believe that by 2025 we can reach the state's 40-40-20 goals: 40% completing 2-year degree; 40% completing 4-year degree; 20% career ready

Learn more here.

Health and Education in Oregon: Key Facts

The Oregon Health Authority has published “Health and Education in Oregon: Key Facts,” which provides state-specific data regarding the correlations between different facets of health and educational attainment, as well as proposed solutions for improving educational outcomes through public health interventions. 

Download the report here.

Philanthropy and Communities of Color in Oregon

“Philanthropy and Communities of Color in Oregon: from strategic investments to assessable impacts amidst growing racial and ethnic diversity” was issued by the Coalition of Communities of Color in 2012.

Download the report (PDF | 1.6MB)

Patient-Centered Primary Care Home Task Force Report

This report was funded by Northwest Health Foundation in order to provide Oregon with a road-map for widespread adoption of Patient-Centered Primary Care Homes. Read the report to learn more about primary care homes and how they can improve our health care system in terms of cost, quality and fairness.

Download it here (PDF | 719k)

America’s Tomorrow: Why Equity is the Superior Growth Model

From PolicyLink:

The face of America is changing, and the fate of America hinges on how we react to – and invest in – those changes. Written with our partner, the University of Southern California's Program for Environmental and Regional Equity, America's Tomorrow makes the case that racial and economic inclusion is critical to succeeding in the global economy.

Download it here.

Nurses Wanted: The Changing Demand for Registered Nurses in Oregon

Media coverage of the nursing shortage has focused on the difficulty that nursing graduates face finding employment, leaving many to ask “Is there still a nursing shortage?” The Oregon Center for Nursing answers this question in this 2011 report.

Download it here (PDF 2.9MB)

The Foundations of Lifelong Health Are Built in Early Childhood

From the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs:

A vital and productive society with a prosperous and sustainable future is built on a foundation of healthy child development. Health in the earliest years—beginning with the future mother’s well-being before she becomes pregnant—lays the groundwork for a lifetime of vitality. When developing biological systems are strengthened by positive early experiences, children are more likely to thrive and grow up to be healthy adults. Sound health also provides a foundation for the construction of sturdy brain architecture and the achievement of a broad range of skills and learning capacities. 

Download the report here.

Fetal nutrition and adult disease

From The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

The “fetal origins” hypothesis proposes that alterations in fetal nutrition and endocrine status result in developmental adaptations that permanently change structure, physiology, and metabolism, thereby predisposing individuals to cardiovascular, metabolic, and endocrine disease in adult life.

Download it here.

Childhood Origins Of Adult Health: A Basis For Life-Course Health Policy

From Health Affairs:

Many common chronic and mental disorders have modifiable precursors that arise during childhood. The life-course model of how health is produced provides a scientific basis for understanding the continuity between child and adult health. Life-course health policy seeks to promote the well-being of the young, both because of its intrinsic value and because doing so will improve the health of the population at all ages. It mandates increased attention to the promotion of biopsychosocial adaptability and other approaches to preventing the precursors to future disorders. Finally, it requires health policies to foster positive long-term outcomes focused on the individual, family, and community.

View the report here.


Health equity through action on the social determinants of health

From the World Health Organization: "Social justice is a matter of life and death. It affects the way people live, their consequent chance of illness, and their risk of premature death. We watch in wonder as life expectancy and good health continue to increase in parts of the world and in alarm as they fail to improve in others."

Download it here (new window).