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MULTNOMAH COUNTY (PORTLAND)

Rachael Banks, MPA
Public Health Director
Multnomah County Health Department

Rachael Banks, MPA, is the Public Health Director for Multnomah County Health Department. She is also the Principal Investigator for Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH). She received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Gonzaga University and her Masters of Public Administration from Portland State University. She is a proud mother, dedicated wife, and faithful children's Church teacher.

In her professional role(s), she works with fabulous colleagues to convene partners to advance policy and systemic strategies to eliminate health inequities and support a community health improvement plan (CHIP) designed specifically to achieve health equity. She leads the public health division’s 300 plus employees in the core areas of environmental health, communicable disease prevention, chronic disease prevention and health promotion. The Public Health Division utilizes research and assessment, health policy, community engagement, culturally specific strategies and community-level education as core strategies to promote/protect the public's health.

During her past 15 years in Public Health, she has led the Multnomah County Health Department’s Healthy Birth Initiative (HBI), Healthy Families, and REACH programs. She has managed the tobacco policy program while it implemented Oregon’s smokefree workplace law to over 80,000 businesses. She has also led some of the County’s obesity prevention efforts, including the CDC’s Healthy Communities ACHIEVE Initiative and components of Communities Putting Prevention to Work, which increased healthy food access for over 60,000 people in faith-based settings, among numerous other outcomes.

In 2014 under Rachael's leadership, the County was awarded seven million dollars in grant funding for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health and National Healthy Start Programs. These funds are specifically allocated to decrease health inequities in the African American community. In collaboration with a network of community partners, these funds will provide increased fruit and vegetable access and decreased tobacco and nicotine exposure for over 45,000 African Americans in Multnomah County across 25 distinct settings.

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