MVHCA Board of Directors

Karen Christianson,  Chair
Mike Huntington, Vice Chair
Jean Schumer, Secretary
Louise Ferrell, Treasurer
Sandra Bean, Communications Chair
Marc Betz, Outreach chair
Catherine Soward, Finance Chair
Bruce Thomson, Legislative Chair
Jennifer Carlin, at large
Dagmar Johnson, at large
Betty Johnson, at large
Dianne Farrell, newsletter editor

Karen Christianson—Chair
Karen is a  retired attorney and a member of Mid-Valley Healthcare Advocates since 2016.  She has been frustrated by the escalating cost of health insurance, medical care and drugs for many years.  Consumers have no effective way to “shop” for these services.  Karen believes that the only way to have an affordable sustainable system that is open to all is to move to an expanded and improved Medicare for all.  She is excited to use my time and skills to make this concept a reality.

Michael C. Huntington—Vice Chair, Speakers Bureau Coordinator
Mike grew up in Southern California. He attended Oregon State University and the University of Oregon Medical School, now Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU). He was an Army flight surgeon in Vietnam in 1969. He received his residency training at OHSU, was a Radiation Oncologist for 35 years, and served as Medical Director of the Radiation Oncology Department at Samaritan Regional Cancer Center in Corvallis from 1984 to 2006.

Since his retirement he has joined with physicians and other activists in Corvallis and Oregon to engage colleagues and the public in discussion about the urgent need for health care reform.   The group has co-sponsored public forums and given talks to civic groups in Corvallis over the past eight years. In 2007 this group became the Oregon Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. He was President of Health Care for All Oregon in 2012.

Jean Schumer—Secretary
Jean E. Schumer is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked in a variety of practice settings including but not limited to psychiatric, medical, long-term care, and substance abuse.  She has witnessed great human suffering due to the lack of affordable health care in the U.S.  This policy failure inspired her pursuit of a doctorate in public health policy.  Dr. Schumer conducts research on intervention programs for children of incarcerated parents and reentry programs for incarcerated adults.

Louise Ferrell—Treasurer
Louise retired from tax accounting and has spent many years on the boards and as treasurer of other non-profit organizations.

She is particularly irritated at the inefficiency of  our present healthcare insurance system in which your healthcare is dependent on how old you are, where you are employed (or not employed), whether you are married to someone who has insurance, whether you are a veteran, or if you still have a big deductible for this year.  Louise looks forward to a system in which everyone has the same kind of healthcare ID card.

Sandra J. Bean—Communications Chair
Sandi received her doctorate in public health from Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences in 2014. Before moving to Corvallis for her studies, she worked for eight years as a health communications specialist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Her bachelor’s degree is in journalism and she spent nearly 30 years in organizational communication and enjoyed a varied career, primarily in public relations, external affairs, and media relations.

Because Sandi's family had benefited from her father’s full-coverage military health care, her parents never had to think about whether to seek medical care, nor ever faced medical bankruptcy.  She has come to realize how fortunate she was, and now works for everyone to have access to health care as a human right, the same right enjoyed by the rest of the industrialized world. 

Marc Betz—Outreach Committee Chair
Marc received a degree in History from the University of Arizona, and then obtained a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language. He worked in Corvallis from 1980 to 1982, teaching Southeast Asian refugees and foreign students at LBCC, and then taught English in China from 1982 to 1984. After a few more years of teaching, he migrated into the computer industry, where he worked in software documentation for 30 years.

Searching for a way to make a contribution to society in retirement, he ran into MVHCA at the Farmer's Market. It was commitment at first sight. While Marc has enjoyed good access to health care in his life, he knows many both in his own family and outside of it who have not, and who have paid dearly for that lack. He is fully committed to health care access and equity, both for moral and ethical reasons, and because he believes it would make the United States a stronger, happier, and more just society.

Catherine Soward—Finance Committee Chair
Cathy grew up in Portland, and after graduating in Forest Management from OSU in 1979, planned timber sales and reforestation for the Oregon Department of Forestry and taught forestry courses at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. After several years at home with her daughters, she obtained an MBA from PSU and worked at HP Corvallis for more than 20 years, primarily in Finance, retiring in late 2016..Following a health crisis in 2016 which fortunately was covered by insurance through her husband's employer, Cathy realized that without insurance, her options would have been a) no health care and resulting death, b) bankruptcy or c) lifelong debt . This realization, the political climate, and a simple door hanger from MVHCA brought her to help, so that others eventually don't have to face lack of insurance.

Dianne Farrell—newsletter editor
Dianne has always been fascinated with foreign lands and languages. She gained experience studying and living in Europe both on her own, and later with husband, John, and their two sons.  Dr. Farrell completed her PhD in Russian history in 1980 and taught full-time at the university level until 2002. Her husband died in 2011.

Dianne explains, “Having lived and studied in various European countries, I have always been aware that all advanced countries extend health services to their entire population.  And I have always felt keenly that we ought to do the same. I discovered Health Care for All Oregon (Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates) when representatives from Vermont’s movement came to town.  Health care for all has been my chief civic endeavor ever since.”

Bruce Thomson—Legislative Committee Chair
Dr. Thomson practiced family medicine in Corvallis for 21 years. During that time he served on the Board of directors of hospice as well as the board of Directors for the Oregon academy Foundation. He continues to serve as Public Health Officer for Benton County, a position he has held for the past 17 years. In 2001 the Oregon Academy of family physicians honored him as Family Doctor of the Year for his activism in tobacco education.
In the past 10 years Dr. Thomson has become increasingly concerned that the health-insurance industry has lost its compass as to how to best serve its clients.  Health care in the US is unlike healthcare systems in numerous other advanced societies whose focus is on service to their clients. The healthcare financing industry in the United States increasingly appears to be focused on maximizing profits by denying services and increasing co-pays and deductibles. Too many Americans still cannot afford health insurance. If they do have insurance many cannot afford to take care of their health because of high deductibles and co-pays.

Oregon, along with more than 15 other states, is pursuing the goal of a publicly funded system of universal access to healthcare for all Oregonians. In the past 5 years many legislative milestones have been reached.

Jennifer Carlin, at large
bio to come

Dagmar Johnson, at large
Ms. Johnson has a BS in Recreation from San Jose State University and received her Masters degree in Adult Education and Training from OSU. She moved to Corvallis in 1975 from California. Her professional background includes work in both the private and public sectors. She has worked in marketing and sales in both large companies and two small businesses with her husband. She has also worked in Corvallis for the State of Oregon providing information, referral and emergency services to people who fell between the cracks of eligibility for public agencies. She is retired from the Training and Business Development Center at Linn Benton Community College.

Dagmar has seen the effects of our patchwork health care system when working with people struggling to improve their lives through education while working part time and trying to support a family. Since her husband has always been self-employed, her job at LBCC provided health insurance for their family. Other independent business people are not so lucky. They may pay exorbitant rates for catastrophic-only health care. Contemporaries of her daughter, in their 20s, struggle to pay insurance premiums even with the Affordable Care Act, and many have opted out of insurance completely.

She became involved with MVHCA by attending a “front-room conversation” in a friend’s home. She went in with skepticism, and left with a resolve that not only can our nation do this, we must if we are going to compete in a global business climate and ensure that current and future generations of Americans do not have to choose between their health and their other basic needs. The goal of universal health care in Oregon is achievable.

Betty Johnson, at large

Bio to come