Six years after the Flood of 2007 damaged the health clinic in Vernonia, the new Vernonia Health Center took another major step towards becoming a reality on Friday, March 28, 2014.
Over 100 friends, family, dignitaries and citizens joined members of the Vernonia Health Board to celebrate the official groundbreaking for construction of the new health care facility on a rainy but joyous day.
The event was held at the West Oregon Electric Cooperative truck bays and included speeches, light snacks and the ceremonial first shovels of dirt, which was held inside, due to the hard spring rain that was falling.
Health Board President Erika Paleck welcomed the crowd to what she called a ”…long, and overdue occasion.”
In her opening remarks Paleck lauded the efforts of the many groups, organizations, foundations, civic entities, professionals and individual volunteers who worked together to move the project forward. Paleck noted that, not only was the Health Board breaking ground on a new facility, they were also breaking new ground on the rural health care paradigm as well. “The old school paradigm said bring in a big conglomerate,” said Paleck. “In the new paradigm the Vernonia Health Board is entering into partnerships that emphasize not just primary care but partnerships that educate, that support mental health, that help clients navigate through the insurance mazes and in general support the whole human being.”
Paleck was referring in part to the new operational partnerships the Vernonia Health Board has created with Pacific University and The Public Health Foundation of Columbia County. These partners are continuing to develop a new model for delivery of health care services in a rural setting. Pacific University is supporting the Health Center with student internships, research and professional advice. The Public Health Foundation of Columbia County has provided care givers and staff. “Our new partners provide us an opportunity to deliver services in the community and at the same time train badly needed next generation health care providers,” said Paleck. Read More