Thousands of Americans marked the seventh annual AmeriCorps Week in March, recognizing AmeriCorps members, alumni and programs that address the country's most pressing challenges through service.

One of them, Jessica Delaney, is in Brookings, working with Curry Community Health by completing a comprehensive Community Health Assessment, a Community Health Improvement Plan and collecting and organizing documentation.

"Each day, AmeriCorps members are building stronger, healthier, and safer communities and are improving the lives of millions of citizens," said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. "These members and the millions of volunteers they manage are an indispensable resource to our nation, and AmeriCorps Week is an opportunity to recognize their impact and express our gratitude for their dedicated service."

Delaney came from Montana to serve with the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) VISTA Partnership Program.

"I was searching for opportunities to volunteer and I also wanted experience in the public health field," she said.

"AmeriCorps VISTA is such a great program because it focuses on creating sustainability. I know that after I leave, quality programs improving the health of the community will continue."

In December 2008, OHA staff member Akiko Berkman launched a plan to leverage federal, state and local resources to create partnerships and build a training program for future public health leaders.

Over the past three years, VISTA members have provided Oregon local and state government with more than 75,500 service hours andndash; an estimated $1,700,000 in savings.

As of April this year, the OHA VISTA Partnership Project will have managed 70 VISTA members. The OHA VISTA team serves local health departments and non-profit agencies and works on projects around accreditation and quality improvement, Medical Reserve Corps, Vulnerable Populations Planning, HealthEquity and Inclusion, Project Connect, Wellness and Community Health.

Curry Community Health, the new public health non-profit for Curry County Oregon is seeking accreditation to ensure quality services and continuous improvement. To become accredited, health departments must meet certain standards and measures as prescribed by Public Health Accreditation Board.

"I decided on Curry County because quality of life is extremely important to me," Delaney said. "Curry County is such a gorgeous place to live, work and play. I've already learned so much about how public health departments function and the impact of community health on all levels. The experience thus far has definitely helped me grow personally and professionally."