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2021 NHCW: Community Health Centers as Advocates

 
National Health Center Week, coming up August 8-14 this year, is an annual celebration to raise awareness of the mission of community health centers and recognize their accomplishments. As NHCW 2021 approaches, we are taking time to reflect on how health centers, their staff, and their patients each play a part in advancing the health center movement.  
 
 
Community Health Centers as Advocates 
The health center movement is driven by the health center mission to care for underserved patients and improve the health and well-being of entire communities. Building and maintain a strong advocacy presence has been key to the broad bi-partisan support of health centers since the program began more than 50 years ago.  
 
Advocacy Center of Excellence Program 
One way health centers can advance the health center movement is by becoming an Advocacy Center of Excellence (ACE) through the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC). ACEs are health centers that incorporate advocacy practices into their everyday operations. The ACE program has evolved over the years to ensure health centers are recognized current efforts while providing support to grow as advocates. 

The program allows health centers to earn points by completing a variety of activities designed to integrate advocacy into the organization. Accumulated points correspond to different levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.  
 
Below are a just a few of the activities that earn points: 
  • Establish a social media account 
  • Pass an advocacy board resolution 
  • Host an elected official 
Health centers are natural advocates for their patients and for members of their broader community. Patient -majority boards ensure health centers are tuned in to patient and community needs. The ACE program provides opportunities for health centers to effectively advocate on behalf of patients and community members and develop the structure to sustain these efforts. 
 
Tennessee has three community health center ACEs: Community Health of East Tennessee, Connectus Health, and Lifespan Health, which operate with a culture of advocacy.

Learn more about how your health center can become and ACE! 

Please contact Emily Waitt at emily.waitt@tnpca.org with any questions about the ACE program.