Blog

2021 NHCW: Community Health Center Staff 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 Center Staff as Advocates
Federally Qualified Health Centers are deeply connected to the communities they serve. In addition to having patient-majority boards, many health center staff members come from the very communities they care for. The connections between health center staff and their patients enhances the ability of health centers to identify and respond to patient needs.
 
Health center staff are natural advocates because they understand the circumstances that shape their patients' lives. Health center staff serve as patient advocates everyday by providing patients with high-quality care and ensuring patients have the support and resources, they need to live healthier lives
 
Beyond their daily role serving patients, health center staff have a significant impact on advocacy at the local, state, and federal level because they are trusted providers and voices in their communities. Decision makers at all levels value the perspectives of health center staff members because they are familiar with health center issues but can also speak to specific provider and patient experiences.
 
Staff members are one of the most powerful resources health centers rely on to advance the health center movement. Below are some ways health center staff can advocate across different engagement levels:
  • Sign up to be a health center advocate and register others 
  • Develop social media posts for your health center 
  • Share your health center story 
  • Create an advocacy plan for your health center 
  • Create an advocacy committee at your health center 
  • Pass a board resolution to support advocacy  
  • Attend an advocacy training or workshop or provide one to other staff 
  • Attend an advocacy day at your state capitol  
  • Invite a local, state, or federal elected official to your center 
  • Draft an op-ed or letter-to- the-editor about an issue that affects your patients 
  • Testify in front of a legislative committee  
Health center staff members advocate for their patients and communities every day. Many of them also devote their time and resources to ensuring patients have a voice outside of the health center walls. We are grateful for every health center staff member for advancing the health center movement and sharing the health center story. 
 
Visit https://www.hcadvocacy.org/ to learn more about how you can get involved in advocacy!