Eugene Family YMCA Collaborates With OHSU to Improve Local Health Through Research

March 5, 2019 – Lisa Milton of the Eugene Family YMCA has been chosen as one of 21 statewide Community Ambassadors for Oregon Health & Science University to inform local residents about research projects.

The network of 21 Community Ambassadors—the first of its kind in Oregon— is an important connection between OHSU and communities statewide, bringing invaluable local perspective to researchers as they design, implement and recruit for research and programs. The first focus area for Community Ambassadors is cancer in collaboration with the Knight Cancer Institute, with the goal of expanding to other health topics in the future.

In her volunteer role as a Community Ambassador, Milton will engage the community regarding OHSU cancer research projects, share the newest cancer-related projects and resources with local community members and offer feedback to the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute regarding her local community’s needs and perspectives.

“I am excited to be a part of bridging the gap between researchers, cancer patients and our broader community,” Milton said. “Many in Lane County want to contribute to the critical scientific studies that will help researchers alleviate treatment side effects, empower individuals with actionable measures to prevent cancer and, of course, move us closer to a cure. This program will broaden opportunities for them to do just that.”

Milton’s role at the Y makes her a perfect fit for this volunteer position. She and Program Coordinator Colleen Glick launched and manage the Y’s evidence-based LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program, which guides cancer

survivors over 12 weeks to build muscle strength and endurance, increase flexibility, and improve balance and confidence. Milton also manages one-on- one personal training appointments, specially designed for cancer survivors that can’t fit the group program into their schedules. She actively keeps connected to those that she has worked with since the Y took on this work in 2016 – more than 100 survivors and their families to date.

Milton’s relationships with oncologists, oncology naturopaths, oncology physical therapists, lymphedema experts, cancer surgeons, reconstruction plastic surgeons and other organizations that serve Lane County, like the Oregon Cancer Foundation and the Positive Community Kitchen, give her access to thousands more cancer patients in Lane County and surrounding areas.

“Lisa Milton was an obvious choice for Community Ambassador because of her long-time and close relationships with cancer patients and related medical professionals,” said Jackie Shannon, Ph.D., R.D., co-director of the community partnership program and associate director of community outreach and engagement. “I have no doubt her connections will complement our cancer research efforts, help individuals and eventually end cancer as we know it.”

The Eugene Family YMCA’s commitment to chronic disease prevention includes encouraging staff to participate in volunteer roles that will further educate and support community members. The Y has always been at the forefront of responding to changing community needs and Milton’s new role represents the Y’s continuing commitment.

“Lisa’s new position with OHSU epitomizes our Y’s community role and how we engage, strengthen and support local residents,” said Brian Steffen, CEO of the Eugene Family YMCA. “We are so proud of Lisa’s energy and commitment to our community and we can’t wait to see the changes that are sure to come to help cancer patients.”