Oregon Health Plan/ Healthy Native Kids Outreach Program

Objective: To reach underserved individuals, provide community education regarding health care options, and make strides to create a healthier American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) community.

Description: The Oregon Health Plan/Healthy Native Kids (OHP/HNK) Outreach program provides outreach and support to clients and providers through education on access and follow-up phone calls, consistent contact with staff through informational presentations, and community outreach at local events to create a referral network. Consistent contact with other staff through informational presentations and networking are used to create a referral system that meets the needs of individuals and the AI/AN community. Macro outreach in the community also serves to create a larger referral network. Macro outreach also allows Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc. (NARA) to go to local events and organizations that serve AI/AN individuals to educate people about health insurance access and enrollment processes to alleviate any barriers regarding those issues. Some of the general issues found in regards to health insurance access and enrollment issues for the AI/AN population include distrust in urban systems; a lack of understanding about available health insurance and health programs; and inability to complete needed documentation due to issues such as literacy, transportation barriers, and communication barriers such as being without a phone or home address. Outreach is conducted using specific outreach materials, support, and community events meant to meet the needs of the urban AI/AN population, such as Portland Public Schools Title VII Family Nights, Medical/Dental clinics for the uninsured, and local Native-owned business meetings such as the Oregon Native American Chamber. The OHP/HNK staff have been helpful in areas of training, updates, marketing material and general information. The OHP/HNK staff also utilize the Oregon Health Plan/HealthyKids’s Groupsite, which is runs off a social media platform and allows partners to share information, calendars, and also access pertinent information such as flyers, policy updates, training material, etc…

Results/Accomplishments/Evidence: Reaching underserved individuals, community education regarding available health care options for AI/AN  population, increase in individuals with health insurance, creating a healthier community, decreased use of emergency rooms, increase in access to preventive care, and creating opportunities for better success in schools for children. Enrollment numbers in the Oregon Health Plan and Healthy Kids have increased especially for AI/AN individuals through NARA’s efforts.

Population of Focus: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, White

Setting: Community center, Community health center, Faith-based organization, Media, Mental health clinic, Parks & recreation, Primary care facility, School, Urban, Community events

Level of Intervention: Community, Family, Individual

Resources/Qualifications Needed: NARA has employed Outreach Enrollment Workers through funding from the State of Oregon for many years. Most of the focused outreach has occurred since 2010 with the implementation of a Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) grant which allowed the creation of our Healthy Native Kids Team. Program staffing includes all NARA staff, AI/AN-serving community partners, and OHP/HNK staff. Additional resources include Powerpoint presentations, outreach materials, and tracking and reporting resources. Some examples include Native-specific outreach fliers, posters, and social media.

Partners: Other NARA staff share OHP/HNK information at community events where the OHP/HNK staff aren’t able to participate, and have provided tabling and craft table assistance. The AI/AN-serving community partners have allowed OHP/HNK to participate in their internally run activities, and allowed OHP/HNK to have free office space to connect with families needing Medicaid assistance.


Heather Joy-Gurko, Community Resources Supervisor
Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA) of the Northwest, Inc.
1631 SE Columbia St, Portland, OR 97201