Upstream Public Health Announces New Executive Director to Lead the Organization

Portland, OR – The Upstream Public Health Board of Directors today announces the appointment of a new executive director to lead the Portland-based health policy and advocacy organization.

Samantha Shepherd will lead the organization to fulfill its mission of improving the health of Oregonians. She brings experience in policy development, community advocacy, and public health practice. Her background includes working with several local nonprofits, labor unions, and the Oregon Health Authority.  Additionally, she has worked as a consultant for policy advocacy initiatives and campaigns.

“I am thrilled to join an organization that has been so effective at promoting better health for all Oregonians through innovative policy change,” says Shepherd.

Current Executive Director Mel Rader is stepping down after more than 10 years of working at the organization. He was the first staff person at Upstream beginning in 2006 and was the founding director of the organization.  Mel was instrumental in creating and advocating innovative policies and programs that are being implemented statewide. These include Farm to School, School and Community Gardens, and Early Childhood Dental Education.

“I am confident that I am leaving the organization in good hands,” says Rader. “Ms. Shepherd has the experience and skills to lead the organization to the next phase of positive impact on Oregon’s health.”

Upstream Public Health (Upstream) was founded in 2003 to improve health and reduce health disparities in Oregon by implementing innovative solutions to prevent the root causes of premature death and disease. Upstream advances policy and program solutions designed to change the factors that contribute to poor health - the places where we live, work, and play. Upstream is currently working to fully implement physical education standards that have been passed by the legislature, to expand Oregon’s Farm to School and School Garden program, to prevent youth from initiating smoking and to develop innovative new policy approaches to promote health.

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