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Celebrating National Health Center Week 2022

Thursday, August 4, 2022

National Health Center Week (August 7 – 13) is an annual celebration with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades.

CCC is a Federally Qualified Health Center and provides services at multiple locations. Our providers meet our patients where they are, offering judgment-free treatment and support.

Thanks to our passionate and hardworking staff, in 2021 we:

    • Delivered health care to 9,283 people in need. Of those patients, 6,228 were homeless when they sought care.
    • Cared for 7,027 patients seeking primary and preventive care.
    • Treated 3,028 patients in need of mental health support.

This year, we’re celebrating by introducing you to a few of the amazing folks behind CCC’s health services. 

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Senior Director of Pharmacy Arsalan Shah

When previously working at a for-profit pharmacy, Arsalan says, “we saw that people were not able to afford their medication, and the medications were so expensive, and patients didn’t have a lot of options.  As a pharmacist, I felt powerless in my ability to help.” But at CCC, his team works hard to make sure medications are accessible to patients— and this means more than just providing affordable medications. It can also mean storing medication for patients, providing it in alternative packaging or injecting medications for patients who can’t inject themselves.  

“The work we do requires compassion, and just seeing that compassion around me really motivates me, inspires me and helps me get up every day and go do my job,” says Arsalan. 

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Lead Peer Case Manager Lisa Greenfield

While Lisa’s role falls under supportive housing, the integration between housing and health services is a big part of what makes CCC special. Blackburn Center offers housing and health care under one roof.  

“We’ve always worked very closely with the clinic,” says Lisa. “On a day-to-day basis, this job could include taking one of the residents to detox or walking them over to the clinic and getting them set up with their first primary care appointment or assessment for intensive outpatient treatment, or sometimes just even getting their medications sorted and situated.”  

Like many CCC employees, Lisa began her journey as a patient. She entered Hooper Detoxification Stabilization Center in 2016 when she was struggling with substance use disorder and homelessness. . Through Hooper, she accessed CCC’s substance use disorder programs and supportive housing. “Supportive housing was just that missing piece in my recovery that I really needed. It really changed my recovery. It changed my life.” 

Lisa started in an on-call position with Central City Staffing in 2016 and explored different areas of CCC until she landed at Blackburn Center in 2019.  

The most rewarding part of her job? “When a client and I are able to talk, and they share with me that the services they receive at Blackburn are like nothing they’ve ever received before.” Lisa loves using her lived experience to help others. “It feels like my suffering, my pain, just the stuff I went through, it wasn’t for nothing. It serves a purpose now.” 

Person standing in front of tree outdoors

Karibu Program Manager Tori Hatter-Smith

Tori was living in New Orleans when she was recruited by Central City Concern to work at Imani Center. Now she is the program manager for Karibu, a new culturally specific program providing stabilization and treatment preparation (STP) for Black and African American adults.  

One thing she loves about working in culturally specific programs is that “the staff is culturally specific as well. So we’re able to be ourselves and not have to say, speak a certain way or act a certain way. We just come to work as we are, and we understand each other.” 

She’s also a fan of CCC’s integrated approach. Karibu, like many CCC programs, will combine clinical services with supportive housing. “You have a lot of people who are in housing who also need mental health services, or peer support, or case management, or substance use disorder services, or all kinds of other services. With our program, we bring it all to you.” 

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Senior Medical Director of Primary Care Dr. Richard Bruno

Dr. Bruno first got to know CCC a decade ago as a medical student at OHSU on clinical rotations. “I was just so impressed with the incredible work and dedication that people had for caring for some of the most under resourced folks in our communities,” he says. After practicing for years in Baltimore, Maryland, he jumped at the chance to return to Portland and CCC last year.  

Dr. Bruno was excited to be a part of the CCC team because “it’s an amazing national model on the cutting edge in terms of blending housing, health care and jobs.”  

He loves working with an interdisciplinary team to solve “really, really complex problems,” he says. “It’s just a very gratifying and rewarding experience.” 

The most rewarding part is seeing patients succeed. “It’s just incredible to be able to see how amazing it is when people can get the right care they need to stabilize their life…maybe we’ll see them once. And then maybe we won’t see them again for a few months. And they’ll come back and say, all right, I want to reengage. I always tell people, don’t feel bad about that or embarrassed. If you fall off track and you need to get back on, we’re here for you. We’re here to support you. We have lots of options for you. And when we can provide that care for people, it can be like a very stabilizing force in their life.” 

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Substance Use Disorder Counselor Bobby Tsow

After struggling with substance use disorder for 30 years, Bobby entered Hooper Detoxification Stabilization Center. What he didn’t know was this would be the beginning of a decades-long relationship with Central City Concern—first as a patient at Hooper, then as a participant in the Recovery Mentor program and a resident in FAN housing, where he lived with his wife and children, then as an employee. Today he has worked at Central City Concern for over 20 years. 

Bobby had never been employed before when he was offered a position as a UA technician. His colleagues “saw some things in me that I didn’t see in myself at that time,” says Bobby, and soon he also doing case management. As more opportunities to learn about the recovery field opened, he decided to become a counselor. 

“My passion is with the people, and that’s what I love to do,” he says. “I have been gifted the blessing of working with a wonderful team of counselors here…and I do still have the same passion I did when I started. Because I believe in the agency, in the  mission and in the wraparound services. That’s why I stay.” 

Achieving Central City Concern’s mission would be impossible without dedicated, compassionate people. CCC’s work environment is collaborative, supportive and offers generous benefits. Want a career that makes a difference?

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