Deb Patterson has more than twenty years of experience in health advocacy and education, serving as the Executive Director of the International Parish Nurse Resource Center - now the Westberg Institute. Through the IPNRC she worked with more than 15,000 RNs in 23 countries, helping people gain access to needed healthcare in partnership with hospitals, medical schools, nursing schools, and faith communities.
She was the founding Vice President of the Deaconess Foundation, a children’s health philanthropy, where she researched and funded programs to improve children’s health, including early childhood interventions, school-based programs, and services to children in the foster care system.
She was on the executive management team of the Deaconess Incarnate Word Health System in St. Louis, where she served as Minister of Religion and Health, overseeing mission integrity, ethics, and community benefit programs.
In 2010 she was invited to the White House by the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives to share with other faith leaders her lifetime of experiences creating programs to improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens. In 2011 she was invited by Michelle Obama to be present for the start of her "Let's Move" campaign, the First Lady's historic initiative to improve the health of American children through healthy eating and exercise.
She has served on the national governing boards of many health-related organizations, including the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries, Faiths United Against Gun Violence, and Faiths United for Healthy Children.
She has spent the last two decades advocating for her daughter and other children and adults with developmental disabilities. She served as the board chair of Emmaus Homes, the largest provider of services to adults with disabilities in Missouri and is currently chair of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Advisory Committee for Marion County.
She has been appointed by the Marion County Board of Commissioners to serve on the Health Advisory Board, and named by Governor Kate Brown to serve on the Oregon Nursing Home Administrators Board.
Rev. Dr. Patterson has been an ordained Congregational minister for more than twenty-five years and currently serves at an historic Congregational Church near Canby. She is the mother of two young adult children and is married to Dr. Stephen Patterson, who is on the faculty at Willamette University. She is a member of the Salem Rotary Club and an avid musician.