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Iris Hilburger

Whether it was volunteering in middle school to provide childcare for a teen parent support group or most recently working at a free acute care clinic in Olympia, Iris Hilburger has demonstrated a strong desire to help people throughout her life and is passionate about supporting others in their endeavors to get involved in their community. Hilburger joined the Mason Health team in November 2021 as the new Volunteer Coordinator.

Hilburger grew up in Hillsboro, Ore., and graduated in 2008 from Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore., with a major in Environmental Studies and a concentration in Conservation Biology.

In college, Hilburger got her first taste of community medicine when she and a couple of friends were awarded grant funding to support a rural health clinic in Nicaragua. In Nicaragua, cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women. In the rural community served by this clinic, most women worked at banana plantations where their wage did not cover the cost of bus fare to the nearest city to receive cancer treatment. With the grant they funded pap smears, purchased medical equipment that removed abnormal cervical cell growth and hired community health workers to provide a series of workshops on reproductive health.

After university, Hilburger completed an AmeriCorps fellowship at the Josiah Hill III Clinic in Portland, a clinic focused on environmental justice. Hilburger created in-home health assessments for immigrant and refugee families — ensuring that their homes were free of toxins, such as lead and mold — and worked with families to create affordable non-toxic cleaning kits.

Hilburger went on to work as an instructor for an outdoor school for sixth-grade students, and later became a backpacking and sea kayaking instructor. She moved to Olympia in 2014 and worked as the Farmers Market Coordinator and then Sales Director for OlyKraut.

Before joining Mason Health, she worked as the volunteer and program coordinator for The Olympia Free Clinic (TOFC). At TOFC, she recruited and trained medical and non-medical volunteers, developed student internship programs with local colleges, implemented a Gender Health Clinic, and acted as clinic supervisor when needed, ensuring that patients received appropriate care.

Hilburger is taking prerequisite classes at South Puget Sound Community College, with the goal of becoming a registered nurse.