Health For All

A community of caring – local leaders discuss how to help Portland thrive

04 January 2024

Candace Beeke, the president and publisher of Portland Business Journal, came together with a panel of influential local leaders for an insightful conversation on the role of community partnerships in fostering a thriving, healthy city.

Joining her were Jasmine Eppelsheimer, a health equity organizer at Oregon Food Bank; Regena Frieden, the chief administrative officer at Providence Health Plan; Juliana Lukasik, the senior director of public affairs at Central City Concern; and Caresse Sakagawa, the chief marketing and product officer at Providence Health Plan.

Each of these remarkable women brought their unique perspectives and experiences to the table, discussing how collaborative efforts between various sectors in Portland can not only help the city survive but also prosper in terms of health, inclusivity, and overall well-being.

We have a deep commitment to serving the community while also recognizing we are not experts in every need as our populations change over time. That's why it's critical for us to partner and support other organizations.

Sakagawa noted that Oregon has one of the highest per capita tax revenues and some of the highest prevalence and severity of homelessness, psychosis, and drug use, making it crucial for organizations like Providence Health Plan (PHP) to partner with and support organizations like Central City Concern, Oregon Food Bank and many others who have deep expertise in solving some of these difficult things.

Partnerships with community organizations are relationships. We've seen great success with our partnerships because they are integrated into our culture.

Frieden addressed the importance of partnerships with community organizations, saying it should be easy for teams to participate and prioritize opportunities to give back because it’s truly an outward expression of the PHP mission.

“Now is the time when organizations and community leaders need to lean in and make positive change,” said Frieden. “The things we do to address the needs of our Portland community now will influence our quality of life for years to come.”

You can read the entire conversation at or by visiting

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