August 9-15 is National Community Health Center week! During this week, Community Health Centers across the nation celebrate their organizations and bring awareness to their mission of providing quality healthcare to those who need it most. We throw that term around a lot, but what exactly is a community health center?
America’s non-profit Community Health Centers (CHCs) started as a pilot project over 50 years ago during President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. The purpose was simple – improve access to health care in underserved rural and urban areas across the country.
Community Health Centers are not just healers, we are innovators who look beyond medical charts to address the factors that may cause poor health, such as poverty, homelessness, substance use, mental illness, lack of nutrition and unemployment.
We are a critical piece of the health care systems and collaborate with hospitals, local and state governments, social, health and business organizations to improve health outcomes for people who are medically vulnerable. We have pivoted to serving our communities through telehealth, drive-through COVID-19 testing, and still ensuring our patients can access basic necessities like food and housing resources.
“The current global pandemic has shown me the true commitment and care the team at Sterling Health brings to the community,” said Tina Bryant, Sterling Health’s interim CEO. “It’s been a challenge, but I could not be more proud to be a part of this Community Health Center.”
Sterling Health Care is proud to be one of these Community Health Centers. We now serve over 17,000 patients annually. We are working to put the community in “Community Health” by forging new partnerships and identifying innovative ways to reduce barriers to care in our area.
By initiating discussions with community partners over the past year, we are working to improve food insecurity and access to transportation. We have partnered with other organizations, building initiatives dedicated to providing treatment for opioid addiction and substance use. We are also partnering with schools to increase access to high-quality affordable health care.
As we celebrate Community Health Center Week, we invite you to check out our Facebook page to follow other ways we are impacting our community. Throughout the week, we will be highlighting different facets of our holistic care model, and giving shout-outs to some of your favorite doctors and teams! Community Health Centers are able to fulfill their mission through the receipt of federal funds and advocacy plays an important role in the survival of these centers. To become a CHC advocate, visit www.hcadvocacy.org.