A Q&A with our Program Manager

Raquel initially joined OCO in 2020 as a Policy and Communications Intern. This past summer, Raquel joined the team full time as our Program Manager, managing our internship program, and supporting other efforts including the Children’s Agenda, youth engagement, and social media. She has worked within the health administration and public health sectors and is passionate about health policy and health equity. Raquel received her Masters of Public Health from Oregon Health Science University. Outside of work, Raquel enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, and exploring the city of Portland.

What does your role at OCO include? 

As a former OCO intern myself, my role includes managing the OCO internship program and recruiting interns to join our team. I help to understand interns interests and goals and ways their internship can be meaningful to them. I also provide support to youth engagement efforts, the Children’s Agenda and OCO social media platforms!

What brings you to this work? What values drive you? 

I believe all children should have access to resources to be successful during childhood and on to adulthood. Historically, our systems in place fail to provide adequate resources for historically excluded communities that need the most support. I am passionate about working towards systemic change and creating an equitable Oregon for children and future generations. 

What’s a passion of yours you’ve yet to act on?

I am passionate about health equity and weaving public health within all policies to support population and individual health. I would love to become a health policy analyst to ensure health care and public health resources are distributed to serve BIPOC and other systematically oppressed populations who need them the most. 

Standout books or podcasts that speak to you?

The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World by Micheal Marmot is a book I always recommend to those who are interested in learning about health disparities. This book shares that poverty isn’t the main driver of health disparities, inequality is. Across the world, communicable and non-communicable diseases are all linked to social disadvantages and shorter lives. We must do better to protect these communities and provide equitable resources to ensure all individuals have the opportunity to thrive. 

What superpower did you want as a child? What superpower would you want now?

I always wanted the ability to teleport! And I still do! I love traveling, seeing new places, and spending time with family outside of Portland. I wish I could do that at the snap of my fingers! It would save me so much time, money, and planning!