2021 NHCW: The Community Health Center Story

This week is National Health Center Week! National Health Center Week (NHCW) is annual celebration to raise awareness of the mission of community health centers and recognize their accomplishments. Join us as we take time to reflect on how health centers, their staff, and their patients each play a part in advancing the health center movement
Patient Advocates
Patients are the most powerful voice for the community health center movement and have been propelling it forward since the first health centers were established. As patient-driven and patient-centered organizations, health center patients are uniquely positioned to make an impact on their communities. One of the most profound ways patients exercise their influence is through storytelling.  
What is a Health Center Story?
A health center story conveys value of community health centers through a patient's individual experience. Every patient has a story about why they chose their health care home. Sharing stories is a way to celebrate patients, honor the work of community health centers and gain support of key decision makers.  
Why are Health Center Stories Important? 
Community health centers and their patients are affected by choices made by many different decision makers at the local, state, and federal level. Key decision makers such as state legislators or Members of Congress appreciate hearing personal experiences from the folks they serve. Stories serve as a reminder that the decisions they make affect someone's everyday life.  
How do You Tell Your Health Center Story? 
Everyone's health center story is unique, but there are some common considerations that can shape effective stories. Below are some questions to get you started in crafting your health center story. 
Who are you? 
Share a little bit about yourself as an introduction. Who are you? Where are you from? What is your community like? How did you find your community health center? 

What was your experience like? 
Share details about why you chose your community health center and what you have experienced since becoming a patient. Who at the health center has taken care of you? How have those staff members shown they care about you and how did they make you feel? What do you want others knew about your community health center? 
How has your experience affected your life? 
Share information about how your experience at the health center has affected other aspects of your life. How did the care you received help you and your family? Were you able to enroll in health insurance or other programs? Were you able to get the medication you needed? Were you able to control your diabetes? What have improvements in your health meant for other areas of your life? 

Don't be afraid to ask for what you need 
If you are sharing a story with an elected official, make sure to let them know how they can help! Clearly ask for what you need. Do you want them to vote yes or no on an issue? Do you want them to pass a bill? Do you want them to provide funding to support a cause? 
Telling your health center story may seem overwhelming at first, but sharing your story is one of the simplest and most powerful tools to show the importance of community health centers. Patients are uniquely positioned to advocate through storytelling because they both govern community health centers and receive care from them. We are grateful for the patients who trust community health centers with their care and value each and every story.



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