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Marylhurst Faculty, Students Advocate for Seniors

Dr. Jim Davis and two Marylhurst students were among a team of advocates whose work led to the creation of a budget note in the Oregon Department of Human Services and the Oregon Health Authority budgets, which could result in significant support for seniors experiencing mental health and addiction problems.

Dr. Davis authored the final report issued by the Legislative Work Group on Senior and Disability Mental Health and Addictions. The report was enhanced by the excellent work of two Marylhurst students who served as research assistants: Jane O'Brien, a psychology major, and Glenna Wilder, a social sciences major. Jim Davis teaches in the Department of Human Sciences at Marylhurst University.

Excerpt from an article by Amanda Waldroupe in The Lund Report, July 2, 2013.

Advocates for the elderly and disabled believe they scored an important victory this legislative session that will pave the way toward creating new mental health and addiction services for an increasingly aging population.

They succeeded in having a "budget note"—something written into an agency budget that directs state agencies to take specific actions, reforms or generate reports that might inform future legislation and policy—included in the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services budgets, which are expected to be approved by the Legislature later this week.

"That was a real victory," said Jim Davis, who co-chaired the work group and lobbies on behalf of United Seniors of Oregon and the Oregon State Council for Retired Citizens. "This essentially puts their feet to the fire."

The inclusion of the budget notes comes on the heels of a final report created by the Legislative Work Group on Senior and Disability Mental Health and Addictions.

That committee made 11 recommendations on how the state can increase services to seniors suffering from mental illness and addiction problems, as well as increase the work force that provides those services.

Over the next few months, Davis intends to form a coalition with other work group members and begin meeting with legislative and agency leadership. The effort to implement the various recommendations will be a "multi-year" and a "meticulous, strategic" process, he said.

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