Healthy Start Team Member Spotlight: Juliet Rutter

HCCSO was incredibly lucky to have found a Douglas County native who is passionate in Collective Impact and working with partners to improve rural health equity. Meet Juliet Rutter, HCCSO’s Community Engagement and Outreach Coordinator and helm of the Perinatal Task Force!

My name is Juliet Rutter, my pronouns are they/them, and I am the Community Engagement and Outreach Coordinator for Healthy Start. My job is to get organizations together to take action that will help lower infant mortality rates in Southern Oregon (specifically Douglas and Josephine Counties). I also help them find and take advantage of resources that can help their organizations perform better, such as training and funds.

The health of rural communities and uniting people to take action are two of my greatest passions, which is what makes me very excited about my role with HCCSO and Healthy Start. It is also important to me to be able to work in my home community of Douglas County. I believe in giving back to the community that raised you, to leave it better than you found it.

My Personal Journey to Healthy Start

As I was going through college trying to figure out how to make myself useful I found… ART… yes, ART! I am a theatre kid with a well-rounded background in a bunch of other subjects (including science, math, classics, and philosophy). The twist happened when I started learning how the theatre industry works, and what happens behind the scenes.

My journey deeper into the rabbit hole of how theaters work landed me in community cultural development. Lost? That’s okay. Community cultural development is a movement or initiative that purposefully works to enhance a local way of life, art, etc. to lead to a better economy and quality of life for those in a given community. Yes, it’s a pretty niche field, but I knew that rural areas could really take advantage of this kind of work.

In my hometown of Roseburg (shout out!) I was able to get an internship that helped me to learn about how local organizations and government work. I had two things that I was especially proud of after this internship:

  1.  Completing a list of artistic and cultural assets that exist in our community and presenting the list to local organizations and government officials explaining how we could use them to increase our local economy.
  2. Organizing an equitable, county-wide photography competition that got local photographers in contact with galleries. People who entered the competition did not need to pay to enter, and were offered resources for printing and framing that many of them did not have access to. (It is expensive to print and frame just about anything.)

“So, if you’re an arts person, how did you get into an organization that is focused on equity in health care?”

The quality of services in this rural area was something I was already focused on, but instead of focusing purely on art, I am now looking at health care. My love of working with groups of people from multiple backgrounds and areas of interest drew me to this position in my hometown.

Since joining HCCSO I’ve been able to use my training from theatre, arts administration, and other disciplines to enhance our communications and keep our relationships with our partners steady throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

My Major Goal for Healthy Start

I want to facilitate and organize a robust network of organizations and community members that is action-oriented and supportive. Many times, in groups I’ve seen and been a part of, the biggest hurdles are deciding who is leading it and having a shared vision of how to proceed with whatever goal the group has set.

My greatest hope is that we will continue to nurture a unified front with all of our partners, and include others in our area who are passionate about working to get our infant mortality rate as low as possible.