By: Jason Patnosh – National Director / Associate Vice President
Tuesday, August 9, 2011: Community HealthCorps
In honor of National Health Center Week, we wanted to provide insight why national service programs like AmeriCorps, VISTA and Senior Corps, matter to community health centers.
America’s Community Health Centers provide primary and preventive health care to over 20 million patients annually. Many of these health centers began with the support of local community boards; medical personal and a VISTA volunteer (Volunteers in Service to America). One of those VISTAs, who served in Texas to help develop the initial funding for a health center in the Rio Grande Valley, was Dan Hawkins, Senior Vice President for Policy and Research for the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) who indicated on Monday: “Access to quality affordable health care is increasingly becoming a problem for America’s middle class families. People who lose their jobs typically lose their health coverage too — and if they find new work, often it comes without the same health care coverage. This growing need is where Community Health Centers become critical…”
This growing demand on health centers year after year compelled NACHC to explore additional resources that can help to improve the care to medically underserved populations. Over 15 years ago, a vision was outlined to develop an AmeriCorps program that bridges the gap between the doctor and the patient when it comes to utilizing the health care system and managing one’s health care. That vision became the Community HealthCorps. With funding from the Corporation for National and Community Service and commitment from handful of health centers across the country the program launched.
The Community HealthCorps can now be found in over 250 service locations across 19 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. Similar programs have been modeled in Michigan, New York, Utah and Wisconsin through state primary care associations.
The remainder of the week we will look at the following:
Wednesday – Impact on Communities Served by Community HealthCorps
Thursday – Preparing the Future Health Care Workforce
Friday – Why AmeriCorps is a Smart Investment
To learn more how you can support national service programs, join a national service program, or how health centers are making an impact we invite you to check out the links below: