Hear Tom in an interview by Dr. Don.
Tom has been a resident of NE Portland since moving here with his family from Michigan in 1987 to work as Nurse Practitioner for Multnomah County, first in the jail and then in the School-Based Health Clinics for the last 25 years primarily in Northeast Portland. His children attended Portland Public Schools. During this time he has done extensive volunteer work in the schools and other settings.
Tom was born in Detroit and raised in Michigan with five siblings. His grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe. His mother first spoke English at school. Neither of his parents finished high school. Through the encouragement of his family Tom graduated from Michigan State University and Yale University and has now been a Family Nurse Practitioner for 32 years
First a mathematics teacher, Tom soon realized that there were personal, family and systemic barriers that interfered with kids education and that these barriers Interfered with the ability of people and communities to address the issues that were important to them. Tom decided he wanted to work over, under, around and through these barriers. He do this he pursued a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing at Yale University and became a certified Family Nurse Practitioner.
Tom takes a holistic view in working with his patients and their families and has extended this view to his extensive community volunteer work including that with local, state and federal government.
Through listening to those that he has engaged, he has drawn understanding across many cultural and language barriers about their challenges in education, health care, employment, housing and discrimination. In the past, this has included: an African-American/Puerto Rican community on the East Coast, the rural poor of East Tennessee, the Board of a Migrant Head Start Program, the Saginaw Chippewa people of Michigan, and the incarcerated in this County.
He has had interaction with thousands of families in this county both as a professional and a volunteer. He have worked with Veterans families, child victims of sex trafficking, and youth work force programs. Working from the Eastside Teen Health Center to Roosevelt in North Portland, at the 3 High School Clinics in District 45 (Grant, Parkrose and Madison); and with the kids who are homeless at the Community Transition School. He has spent time in the homes of Vietnamese families in Columbia Villa and SE Portland while mentoring their children; and with Latinos in Hacienda and African refugee families in Kateri Park housing through his work as President of the Northeast United Soccer Club.
He has taken his philosophy and background to neighborhood, County, State and federal policy levels with demonstrable success. (See Accomplishments) It is this broad perspective, passion and courage that he brings to to his work as a progressive activist. Much of his current efforts are in advancing Health Care for All Oregons with the Health Care for ALL Oregon Organization and Nurses for Single Payer.
A few other bits of information about Tom:
- Although now working as a volunteer nurse, he continues as a member of Oregon Nurses Association and AFL-CIO
- Serves on the Oregon League of Conservation Voters Multnomah Leadership Committee.
- Participates in the NE350pdx group
- Served on the Oregon Health Policy and Research Patient Centered Primary Care Home Pediatric Standards Advisory Committtee
- Adjunct Professor Concordia University School of Nursing in Community Health (6 years)
- Adjunct Faculty Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine (15 years)
- Past President of the statewide Oregon School Based Health Care Network (4 years)
- Past President of the Northeast United Soccer Club (5 years)
- Past Umpire in Chief of the Wilshire Little League
- Served on PPS Local School Advisory Councils at all levels and been an active PTA Member
- Is a licensed soccer coach
Tom has wide ranging work experience prior to his later in life decision to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. These include: Newspaper delivery, dish washer, cook, auto assembly line worker (UAW), truck driver, landscape laborer, janitor, cabinet maker, live-in juvenile detention counselor.
He enjoys, gardening, biking and beekeeping and service to community.
Memberships and Donations: AFL-CIO Oregon Nurses Association, Jobs with Justice, Planned Parenthood, KBOO, BUS Project, Community Alliance of Tenants, Sisters of the Road, Oregon Food Bank, March of Dimes, Crohns and Colitis Foundation, Health Care for All Oregon, Community Transition School, Children First for Oregon, Alliance for Democracy, Oregon Fair Trade, Columbia River Council, Oregon Environmental Council, Sierra Club, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, National Wildlife Federation, Food and Water Watch, Center for Earth Leadership, National Resources Defense Council, Portland Urban Beekeepers, Eco-Viva, Greenpeace, Common Cause, Food and Water Watch, Bicycle Transportation Alliance and BARK.