What is Health Center Advocacy?
One person working to raise public awareness and build support for health centers can have a major impact. Many people working together can achieve exponentially greater gains.
The health center movement began with just two health centers in two communities over 45 years ago and has grown to encompass over 1,200 health centers providing quality, affordable health care to 20 million people in over 7,000 communities in every state and territory. Support for health centers has continued and grown through countless economic and political ups and downs because there have always been people at the grassroots who made sure policymakers always knew what health centers meant back home. In the 1980’s the Federal Health Centers program was almost undone, and were it not for a true grassroots uprising that hit Congress, we would not be talking about health centers today. That grassroots power was due to the fact that health centers are not just in, they are of their communities. Health centers ARE the grassroots and that is the power that sustains us.
As you consider how the benefits of past advocacy have helped your health center and your community, think about how much more still needs to be done. You can prepare to shape the future of health care in Americas by getting involved. Join the NACHC advocacy network and send messages to Congress. Create events to celebrate National Health Center Week. Write letters to the editor. Collect signatures of patients on a petition supporting significant legislation.
As the old saying goes, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease. Policy and opinion makers depend on advocates to help them understand and recognize issues that deserve their support. Without grassroots advocacy, health centers risk losing public support for their needs.
NACHC Advocacy Resources
- Guidelines for Health Center Advocacy
- Community Health Vote - NACHC Voter Registration Campaign
- NACHC Advocacy Tools
- Toolkit: Educating New State Officials
- Elected Leader Intro Letter Template