Community HealthCorps Alum Wins Rising Star Award

By Kellie Perkins, Research/ Data Associate, NACHC-Community HealthCorps®

Each year, the Superstar Foundation highlights and rewards individuals demonstrating exceptional achievements in the areas of direct service and performance measurement. Award recipients embody the organization’s philosophy of keeping the transformational relationship with clients at the core of human services work and demonstrating the effectiveness of that approach through measured outcomes. Last fall, Martin Garibay Jr., a Community HealthCorps® AmeriCorps alum who served with the 2013-2014 Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC) team, was nominated for recognition by the foundation for his passion, leadership, and enthusiasm in his service.

Rosa Ortiz, the Community HealthCorps® Program Coordinator at YVFWC, praised Martin’s dedication to helping underserved communities, explaining that he always went above and beyond for his patients and took every opportunity to learn about those he served. Martin1For example, Martin met with an 85-year-old patient who could not provide the necessary documentation to apply for prescription assistance and receive the insulin she desperately needed. Martin refused to accept the obstacles in his patient’s way, and after talking with the pharmaceutical company, persuaded them to allow a signed note from her physician as a form of documentation. After submitting the application, she was approved within a few days. Martin recalled her gratitude and relief for his help. Because of his perseverance, Martin was able to develop trusting relationships with his patients and help them overcome the social barriers blocking their access to health care. Martin enjoyed helping people and believed that doing so helped create a better America:

“I was raised to be passionate about what I do, always give it my best, no matter the task, have a strong work ethic, and always be a service to others—never to do things for recognition or monetary value.”

Martin’s performance measurement data shows that his focus on empowering his patients by going above and beyond was impactful, resulting in him being awarded $500 as a 2014 Rising Star from the Superstar Foundation! Out of 500 Members, Martin had one of the highest success rates in administering the Community HealthCorps® outcome measures, a testament to the success of his philosophy to inform his service with data. At YVFWC, Martin had the largest percentage of patients improve their health-related financial knowledge, at an amazing 80%. Even though the outcome measures were introduced about 10 months into Martin’s service, he was willing to take the challenge head-on and prove that he was making a difference because he believes

“That’s what being an AmeriCorps member is about, being adaptable to change so that we can be a service to our communities.”

In addition to Community HealthCorps® measures, Martin also tracked and utilized data for the Prescription Assistance Foundation to intentionally build transformative relationships with his patients. Martin2He determined the amount of money his patients saved by receiving medications through the Prescription Assistance Program (PAP) in comparison to the amount they would have had to pay out-of-pocket, and when compared to his three other teammates serving with the PAP, Martin was able to save his patients the most money overall, at $1.2 million, nearly $5,000 per patient! Martin was constantly updating the status of applications to determine which patients needed follow-ups, which were approved for medications, and which were ready for their 6 month renewal. His diligence in ensuring each of his patients was completely supported paid off.

Martin thanks Community HealthCorps® national staff, Rosa, and his supervisors, Andrea Jimenez and Amy Brown, for the nomination and award:

“I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to have been a part of AmeriCorps, and to not only serve the patients but also to be serving with Rosa, Andrea, and Amy. Like I would always say during my evaluations, they were more than supervisors. They were also our mentors. I can say that I’ve learned a lot from serving with them and [my Community HealthCorps®] team.”

Posted in AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps Alums, Community Health Centers, community healthcorps, Corporation for National & Community Service, performance measurement, Superstar Foundation, Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community HealthCorps Celebrates its 20th Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service as “A Day On!”

By Anastasia Romanova, Program Specialist, NACHC-Community HealthCorps®

Community HealthCorps® was founded by the National Association of Community Health Centers in 1995, just one year after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday was officially proclaimed as a national day of service by Congress. For the past two decades, Community HealthCorps® AmeriCorps members across the country have honored Dr. King’s legacy through service, and this year was no different. In fact, this year’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day held a special meaning to the program’s AmeriCorps members, alumni, staff, and partners, as it coincided with the launch of celebrating the 20th anniversary of Community HealthCorps®. HOTCHC-MLKDay-Team (1)Proudly engaging over 7,200 AmeriCorps members who dedicated over 8.1 million hours of service to America’s medically underserved, Community HealthCorps®’ mission emulates Dr. King’s message of leveraging community action to address social problems, such as inadequate access to health care. Last Monday and throughout the holiday weekend, all 535 of Community HealthCorps®’ AmeriCorps members served side-by-side with fellow AmeriCorps members and alums, community members, local leaders, and other volunteers in honor of Dr. King’s legacy of equality and service. Throughout 16 states and D.C., Community HealthCorps® teams planned, led, and participated in projects focused on improving the health, spirit, and civic engagement of over 200 communities. Below are snapshots describing the impact of four teams in Washington, California, Colorado, and Maryland.

Seattle, Washington
Community HealthCorps® AmeriCorps members serving with Sea Mar Community Health Centers held the Program Site’s third annual MLK Day Food and Household Goods Drive. Throughout the two weeks leading up to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the team solicited, collected, and sorted over 3,000 items of food and household goods from community members across seven counties. These items were donated to local food pantries, homeless shelters, and other social services agencies providing support to individuals and families in need.

San Francisco, California
LifeLong-MLKDay-HealthFair (8)
LifeLong Medical Care’s Community HealthCorps® team took part in the Northern California Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation’s annual MLK Day celebration. As a part of the event’s Health and Wellness Fair, Community HealthCorps® AmeriCorps members provided free health and wellness services to the celebration’s attendees. The team facilitated free health screenings, healthy cooking demonstrations, and various health education games and activities focusing on chronic disease management, sexual health, and physical exercise.

Denver, Colorado
Salud-MLKDAY-RonaldMcDonaldHouse (1)The Community HealthCorps® team with Salud Family Health Centers supported Denver’s Ronald McDonald House by providing its residents with a free warm dinner. The non-profit provides housing for families that need to be near their seriously ill children during hospitalization. Salud’s team of 12 AmeriCorps members solicited food donations from a local Walmart allowing them to cook a healthy and delicious dinner for the 50 family members currently staying at the Ronald McDonald House.

North Bethesda, Maryland
Community HealthCorps® AmeriCorps members serving with the Community Health Integrated Partnership spent their MLK Day at Montgomery County’s annual MLK Day service and volunteer fair. The team engaged local youth and family members in creating colorful healthy advice cards, including messages on eating healthy and staying active. The team gave the finished cards to Manna Food Center, a non-profit striving to eliminate hunger in Montgomery county that plans to place the cards inside of food donation boxes distributed to local individuals and families in need. Read more about the day in the team’s blog, here.

To learn more about what other Community HealthCorps® AmeriCorps members did for their MLK day service, check out our Facebook album, here!

Posted in AmeriCorps, Community Health Integrated Partnership, community healthcorps, Community HealthCorps 20th Anniversary, Jr. Day of Service, LifeLong Medical Care, Martin Luther King, national service, Salud Family Health Centers, Sea Mar Community Health Centers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community HealthCorps kicks off its 20th Anniversary Celebration with a State of the Program Address to Remember!

By Anastasia Romanova, Program Specialist, NACHC-Community HealthCorps®

One week ago today, Gerrard Jolly, Community HealthCorps®’ recently appointed National Director, delivered the first annual “State of the Program Address” to provide an overview of the program’s impact, progress, and future goals. This tradition is particularly fitting to launch in 2015, as it coincides with the inauguration of Community HealthCorps®’ 20th anniversary celebration. Several special guests joined Gerrard to share their support for Community HealthCorps®, representing the program’s parent organization, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) and one of its 36 Program Sites, Hudson River HealthCare. Speaking on behalf of NACHC were its Chief Operating Officer, David Taylor, and Jason Patnosh, former Community HealthCorps® National Director and NACHC’s current Associate Vice President of Partnership and Development. Representing Hudson River HealthCare was the community health center’s Chief Operating Officer, Allison Dubois-Adach, who is also a Community HealthCorps® [AmeriCorps] alumni and current Steering Committee Chair.

Allison began by discussing her personal connection to the workforce development mission of Community HealthCorps® . “I didn’t know about community health centers before becoming an AmeriCorps member with Community HealthCorps® ,” she explained. As a community health center COO, Allison directly credited Community HealthCorps® as a main influence in her career trajectory. David Taylor followed by expressing how the mission of the Community HealthCorps®  and NACHC are “totally aligned” in supporting America’s health centers to increase health care access in the nation’s medically underserved communities. He continued by pointing out the program’s most significant contribution,“The energy and commitment of our [Community HealthCorps® AmeriCorps] members is infectious and inspires us.” The address continued with Jason Patnosh sharing his personal experience of going from a Community HealthCorps®  intern to National Director and witnessing the program grow from placing 100 AmeriCorps members in nine health centers to becoming the largest health-focused national service program in the country. Patnosh passed on the torch to Gerrard Jolly, describing him as a passionate and driven leader who will undoubtedly foster continued growth and increase the impact of Community HealthCorps®.

Gerrard continued the high energy of the address by recounting the program’s most recent achievements: “What an exciting time this is to be a part of this program! This is our largest class yet, with 535 individuals serving full time in over 200 service locations through nearly 40 operating sites made up of community health centers, primary care associations, health center controlled networks, and a university partner.” Jolly then turned his focus on the incredible accomplishments of the program’s 2014 AmeriCorps class, serving a combined 710,000 hours and earning $2.2 million in post-service educational scholarship awards. For example, they assisted over 37,000 economically disadvantaged individuals with financial literacy services, helped 14,000 older adults and individuals with disabilities to live more independently, and enrolled over 52,000 individuals in health insurance, health services, and benefit programs. These services, along with the many others Community HealthCorps®  AmeriCorps members provide, help to alleviate the many complex issues Americans experience as a result of limited understanding of how and when to use the health care system. Jolly explained, “Through their service, our Members help to lift the cloak of confusion that often covers the health care system and help individuals create simple, realistic care plans to which patients and clients can confidently commit.”

Reflecting fondly on Community HealthCorps®’ participation in last year’s 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, Jolly excitedly announced two reasons to continue celebrating: the 20th anniversary of Community HealthCorps®  and the 50th anniversary of America’s health centers. Wrapping up the address, he invited current Community HealthCorps®  AmeriCorps members, alums, Program Site staff, partners, and supporters to spread the word about Community HealthCorps®  and achieve our ten-year goal of becoming a 50-state solution to lack of health care access!

“We know that the challenges [our nation faces in health] are not limited to the 16 states in which we currently operate. Community HealthCorps®  can be that resource that keeps on giving by identifying community assets and cultivating partnerships to strengthen their capacity and enhance their ability to assist those in need.”

To listen to the full State of the Program Address, click here.

Posted in 20th Anniversary of AmeriCorps, 20th Anniversary of Community HealthCorps, 50th Anniversary of America's Health Centers, AmeriCorps, Community Health Centers, community healthcorps, National Association of Community Health Centers, national service, volunteer, Workforce Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment