PHFO fellow's work results in better understanding of hunger in minority communities

Contact: Patti Whitney-Wise

Executive Director

Email, (503) 595-5501, ext. 302

How does hunger impact Oregon's communities of color?

America's anti-hunger advocates have long known that hunger hits communities of color particularly hard. How does Oregon compare?

In 2009, PHFO sponsored Amber Roberts, a Bill Emerson Congressional Hunger Fellow. Amber worked with us for six months to better understand how hunger impacts Oregon's communities of color. Her report, Strength in Numbers: Opportunities to Improve Food Security Data and to Assess the Needs of Oregonians of Color (PDF, 472 KB), found a shortage of good data limits our understanding of hunger in these communities.

Opportunities to improve our understanding

In the past, Oregon used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to understand hunger. Food Security questions haven't appeared on the survey consistently every year, and too few Oregonians of color were surveyed to draw any conclusions from the data.

Over the past six months, PHFO has worked with the Oregon Department of Human Services and the Oregon Department of Housing & Community Services to add food security questions back to the BRFSS survey in Oregon. In future surveys, people of color will be oversampled to collect enough information to draw statistically significant conclusions.

These changes to BRFSS will allow PHFO and other public health advocates to better understand how Oregonians of color are impacted by hunger, access to health care, and other health indicators. We extend our great thanks to Amber Roberts, DHS and OHCS for their collaboration!