Coordinated effort: September launch for Service Integration Team

October, 2017 Posted in Community, Your Health

By Mary Owen

The recent restructuring of the Canyon Collaborative has led to the creation of the Santiam Service Integration Team.

“It’s always rewarding when our communities come together in service of others,” said Melissa Baurer, coordinator/community liaison hired by Santiam Hospital to oversee the SIT program.

After earning a degree in sociology and a master’s degree in criminal justice, Baurer worked for Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency as its Polk County Resource Center Coordinator, a position that introduced her to the Polk County SIT program.

Most recently as the former director of social services at The Salvation Army of Marion and Polk Counties, Baurer frequently collaborated with SIT partners to serve families with an efficient, dignified approach, making it possible to better meet short- and long-term needs.

“SIT brings together partners from all areas of expertise and eliminates the duplication of services, streamlines the services, and is efficient,” Baurer said. “Being from the small town of Colton and always having a heart for the rural areas, I was excited to learn Santiam Hospital was going to start SIT In the Santiam region.”

Modeled after the Polk County SIT program, Santiam SIT will facilitate team meetings, promote coordination of services, collaborate with providers, and support the community partners,
Baurer said.

“We will begin with the Stayton/Sublimity team which will cover the North Santiam School District catchment area,” she said. “We will then expand to Cascade Team and Santiam Canyon Team, eventually expanding to Jefferson.

“Community programs, case workers, advocates, pastors and community members are offering valuable and much needed services in the community,” she added. “SIT’s goal is to bring those partners together and facilitate resources and information for families.”

Each team will have a funding component, starting with $9,500 for the Stayton/Sublimity Team, which will begin this month. Santiam Hospital kicked off the funding with $3,500, Performance Health Technology added $500, and $4,500 is still needed to meet that goal by the first team meeting, Baurer said.

“It should be noted this program has been successful in Polk County for the last 20 some years, and they have been instrumental in helping with Santiam SIT,” she said.

“Last year, the Dallas Team in Polk County started with $9,500, and by the end of the fiscal year had leveraged $25,000. This program is successful, and we are looking forward to seeing the growth of Service Integration in the Santiam Region and the benefits that will come from SIT.”

Money raised allows team members to request funding for families participating in the SIT program, Baurer said.

“It may be the family needs a twin bed, and the provider can request funding for it. However, we may not use funding because someone around the table offers a twin bed that they have at home or they purchase one. Because of our multiple partners, SIT will be able to better leverage dollars.”

Stayton/Sublimity SIT meetings will be held at the same time and place on the second Thursday of each month, with the first slated for 9 a.m. on Sept. 14 at the DHS office at Santiam Center, 11656 Sublimity Road SE, Sublimity.

“This will be our ‘ribbon cutting’ meeting,” Baurer said. “Refreshments will be served, and we’ll have a brief overview of the SIT funding process and an introduction to our Facebook page and website. All service providers, faith-based organizations, nonprofits, government agencies, community businesses and community members who are invested in serving others are invited to participate.”

To date, Baurer has received confirmations from Ask Me About Recycling, Catholic Community Services, Community Action Agency, Early Learning Hub, Family Building Blocks, Finding Your Neverland, Marion-Polk Foodshare, Northwest Human Services, Santiam Senior Center, Shangri-La Youth and Family Services, Stayton Community Food Bank, The Salvation Army, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, North Santiam School District, Calvary Lutheran, Stayton United Methodist Church, Department of Human Services, City of Stayton Pool, Marion County Community Services, Marion County Health Department, Northwest Senior Service and Disability, Stayton Police Department, Stayton Public Library, MAPS Credit Union, Performance Health Technology, Santiam Hospital, Stayton/Sublimity Chamber and Budget Blinds.

“When families are in crisis, they need barriers to accessing services eliminated, and SIT helps with that,” Baurer said. “For example, a family who needs help with rent may also have other needs. The SIT ‘family’ wraps around a household and provides them with basic needs, health and education.”

Baurer is amazed by how deeply community partners care for those in need in their communities, which, she said, “is a strong and positive start for the Santiam SIT program.”

“It’s refreshing to be a part of a community that cares for their neighbors and shows appreciation for each other through their actions,” she added.

For information, call Baurer at 503-769-9319 or e-mail her at

Santiam SIT Launch
DHS Office, Santiam Center. 11656 Sublimity Road SE, Sublimity
Thursday, Sept. 14, 9 a.m.

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