Oregon Health Authority Hires New Public Health Director
The Oregon Health Authority has hired its next public health director from the Multnomah County Health Department.
Rachael Banks, public health director for the Multnomah County Health Department, will become the director of the authority’s public health division. Banks will start Oct. 27 and replace Lillian Shirley, who retires this week after seven years as the authority’s public health director.
Banks, 41, has served for three years as public health director in Multnomah County, the most populated county in Oregon. Shirley also served as public health director in Multnomah County before moving to the authority.
The authority praised Banks’ background, which includes a focus on health equity issues.
That experience was a major draw for the authority.
In a statement, authority Director Patrick Allen said Banks is “a leader with professional acumen combined with lived and worked experience around promoting equity.”
Banks’ annual salary will be $207,000, according to the authority. Shirley’s salary is $206,903.76.
She started at Multnomah County in 2002, working as a deputy director before becoming director in 2017. Her work included a focus on prevention of sexually transmitted infections, drug overdoses and injury prevention education for families that suffer from health inequities. She also has focused on enforcement of Oregon’s Indoor Clean Air Act, which has the goal of smoke-free workplaces and has worked with community organizations on policies to reduce chronic diseases.
Banks has worked with coordinated care organizations, health systems and insurance companies to help pregnant African-American women receive community-based care.
She developed the county’s first disparity-focused community health improvement plan and oversaw culturally specific strategies to reach minority and marginalized groups, including Black people, Latinx people and Native Americans.
Banks’ work on the COVID-19 pandemic included policy work and the creation of metrics to ensure that the county meets the needs of minorities and people of color during the reopening process.
“Rachael’s perspective and skills on these and other critical agency efforts, such as our strategic plan and the roll out of our performance management system, will be an essential component of my leadership team, particularly as the state continues the reopening process and prepares for eventual recovery from the COVID pandemic,” Allen said.
Banks received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Gonzaga University in 2001 and a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State University in 2012.