We’re supporting Faith Community Nurses and Health Ministers bringing healthcare access to vulnerable and diverse populations in the Willamette Valley.
The Faith Community Health Network (FCHN) is a professional association that provides education, support, and networking for a growing group of dedicated faith community nurses (FCNs) (formerly called Parish Nurses) and health ministers from diverse faiths serving in their own faith communities in the context of their faith tradition. Some may also serve in the community-at-large. Faith communities differ, and members have unique needs, especially spiritual care needs. The FCHN welcomes all faith traditions and values and embraces the different needs among faith traditions – and among those who do not claim a faith tradition. The FCHN is not a membership organization; rather it exists to support, encourage, and equip health ministry teams in their own faith setting.
Trusted faith community nurses work autonomously within their scope of practice to assess the population to develop interventions to meet those unique needs, often leading a team of health ministers and others to meet the challenge. These trained professionals bring inclusive healthcare access to vulnerable and diverse populations in a non-traditional setting.
Our board is comprised of compassionate and dedicated Faith Community Nurses and other Health Ministry professionals.
Deb is President of the Faith Community Health Network, an interfaith non-profit organization serving faith community nurses in the rural areas of Oregon’s Willamette Valley and has an active nursing practice in her faith community, Am HaSefer Oregon – People of the Book, with a focus on social determinants of health. Deb has over 40 years in nursing, primarily in occupational health and faith community nursing. She volunteers for the Westberg Institute of Faith Community Nursing and is a member of the Health Ministries Association, Faith Community Nurses International, and the Spiritual Care Association.
Deb earned her Associate Degree in Nursing from Dakota Wesleyan University, her Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from South Dakota State University, and her Masters’ Degree in Public Health from Oregon State University. She retired as an Army Nurse Corps Lieutenant Colonel after serving 27 years in the National Guard in both South Dakota and Oregon.
Deb was raised in a loving home in Des Moines, Iowa by parents of strong faith. Her trust and commitment to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead in all areas of her life has taken her out of her comfort zone time and time again. She has found that she emerges from each challenge with renewed faith, ready to take that next step in her spiritual journey.
Linda is the vice president of Faith Community Health Network. Linda Graduated from Good Samaritan School of Nursing in 1973 and has been active in nursing for nearly 50 years. She began her career at Albany General Hospital in Critical Care serving 20+ years, including several years as manager. She then went on to become the Clinical Manager of Samaritan’s newly-opened Urgent Care/Geary Street Clinic and Manager/Clinical Coordinator of Samaritan’s Medical Home Clinic in Lebanon, OR.
Linda serves as a faith community nurse for Immanuel Lutheran Church in Albany. She completed the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing course in 2018. Linda says this class was life changing for her! She enjoys being able to share her faith and her nursing expertise with her church community.
Linda’s fun activities include quilting, kitting and caring for her four grandchildren.
Melissa currently serves as the Interim Secretary for the Faith Community Health Network. Melissa is passionate about quality of care and quality of life for everyone and has over 25 years of experience in healthcare policy and administration. Melissa began her career in Medicaid policy in Arizona and over the years has developed a policy education institute, implemented health care policy and programs across Oregon, managed federal compliance and quality activities, and most recently oversaw a Medicaid managed care plan in Oregon working on health care delivery and community impact. Her past roles include working as an Executive Consultant with Arizona’s Medicaid program, Deputy Director under Arizona’s former Governor Janet Napolitano, Program Director for the Oregon Health Authority, Associate Executive Director for a national managed care compliance and quality organization, and Assistant Vice-President of Medicaid Programs and Transformation with InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization.
As a driver for change in various leadership roles over the years, Melissa has long history of navigating complex regulations, enhancing value-based care, and implementing quality interventions through integrated care and social support services. She truly works from a collaborative perspective and understands the value of collective community impact in breaking down barriers to quality health care.
Melissa has a Masters Degree in Legal Studies from Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Conner College of Law and a Bachelors in Global Business also from Arizona State University. She has resided in Oregon since 2011 and currently lives with her family on a small orchard in Salem, Oregon. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, farm work, all things DIY, and traveling.
Faith Community Nurse
Marcy serves as the Ethics Officer for the Faith Community Health Network. She graduated with her BSN in 1987 from Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls and began working at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital that same year. She transitioned to a position in a general physician’s clinic and tried her hand at clinical instruction with nursing students from LBCC as a substitute. She joined the teaching staff at LBCC in the nursing program in 1996, feeling the need for a greater professional challenge after two years in the clinic setting.
Marcy earned a Master of Science in Health Education in 2002 from Western Oregon University, a Master of Science in Nursing in 2013 from Western Governors University and took the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing course in 2020. Marcy currently serves as Ethics officer on the FCHN Executive Board and as an FCN at New Hope Church in Lebanon. “My faith has been critical to understanding my calling in my life and in my profession.”
Education and Event Coordinator
Faith Community Nurse
Tawni Pfaff brings many years of nursing expertise to her Faith Community Nursing Practice. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Linfield School of Nursing and worked almost two decades at the Oregon Burn Center before starting for Samaritan Health Services in 1993. She left paid nursing employment in 2018.
Having taken the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course in 2020 and the Westberg Lead Educator Course in 2021, Tawni now serves as the Education/Events Coordinator and co-lead for the Faith Community Health Network and does a great deal of outreach for the organization. She also provides Zoom and other support to the Foundations of Faith Community Course.
Tawni enjoys dual roles as a faith community nurse. She serves as a backup Faith Community Nurse in support of the Lebanon, Oregon congregation, Am HaSefer Oregon – People of the Book and brings her nursing expertise to the thriving St. Martin’s Episcopal Church Homeless Outreach Ministry, also in Lebanon, twice each month. She loves the Lord and feels very much called to this work.
She is active in the community in other ways, as well, serving as a volunteer for Linn County Animal Rescue (LCAR) in Waterloo as the “Dog Lead,” where she cleans dog kennels and feeds and waters the dogs, among other things! She also serves as liaison between the owner and other volunteers. Tawni is also on the Board of Directors for LCAR.
Director of Engagement
Faith Community Nurse
Tiffany is the Director of Engagement for the Faith Community Health Network. For many years, she worked in Critical Care, Diabetes Education, and Wound Care at the Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. She is currently working at Obria Medical Clinics. She is developing a Faith Community Nurse Ministry at Southside Christian Church in Lebanon, OR. She has been active in nursing for over 25 years.
Tiffany has been part of the Faith Community Health Network since 2020. One of her favorite things about serving as a Faith Community Nurse is being part of a team that has compassion for their community and congregations.
Tiffany received her Associate Degree in Nursing from Linn-Benton Community College, her Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing from Liberty University and she holds a Master’s Degree in Ministry through Hope International University.
Health Minister Voice, Board Member
Kiersten represents Health Ministers in her role as Director on the Faith Community Health Network Board of Directors. She is a native Oregonian, born in Roseburg, growing up in between Brownsville and Tigard/Tualatin area participating with the high school band, youth group and youth choir with local Espicopalian communities.
Kiersten’s start in learning the art of ministering comfort and care was as a “candy striper” at Meridian Park Hospital where she was taught to lead through service. Learning about empathy, compassion, advocacy and assertiveness as a teen and how to administer them at the right time was great preparation for her career. She served as an Orthopaedic Trauma Medic in the Army for six years, and, after discharge, was part of establishing a “crazy fun!” orthopedic practice at Emanuel Hospital, in the heart of northeast Portland. The clinic had five surgeons specializing in trauma and reconstruction and taught first and third year Oregon Health & Sciences University Medical Residents the art of the professional bedside manner and how to think outside the box when needed. Kiersten trained and became licensed as a massage therapist while in this role, and her skills as a Licensed Massage Therapist, coupled with empathy gained through life experiences, brought a holistic aspect to the practice and equipped her to assist where conventional therapies were lacking the needed therapeutic results.
Kiersten lives in Sweet Home with her husband and three daughters, advocating for youth throughout the school district and veterans in her community. In 2022, she graduated from the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing/Health Ministry Course and is actively involved as a Health Minister with Am HaSefer Oregon – People of the Book in Lebanon, OR, as well as serving on the Faith Community Health Network Board of Directors.
Student, Central Linn High School
Heidi was born with multiple medical disorders that required frequent childhood appointments and procedures. The care she received from the many nurses she encountered impacted her in such a significant way that she knew by six years of age that she would be seeking a career in healthcare.
“I’ve had this interest all my life and I am constantly looking for opportunities to experience and learn as much as I can. I learned about the Faith Community Health Network and I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of with my interests in everything nursing and being a passionate Christian.”