NACHC’s advocacy team is excited to announce the Outstanding Advocate for February 2015, Amanda Palmore, Director of Marketing and Government Affairs at Central Virginia Health Services (CVHS)!
After attending the Advocacy Leadership Program as part of NACHC’s Policy & Issues Forum in 2013, Amanda returned to CVHS with tons of ideas and eager to implement an advocacy strategy starting from the top down. With the full support of CVHS’ CEO, Rod Manifold (a very important factor in the success of your Health Center’s advocacy program!), she began to engage the Board of Directors by providing regular advocacy updates, provided training to the Advisory Councils at each of CVHS’ sites, and started to include both of these groups on Action Alerts that had previously only been sent out to staff members.
At the staff level, Amanda instituted advocacy as a standing agenda item at quarterly meetings, discussing various initiatives and how they could be implemented across all CVHS sites. On the Access is the Answer campaign, for example, Amanda tried to engage as many sites and people as possible and incorporated some friendly competition—the sites with the most petition signatures at the end of a given period would win a catered meal. Making advocacy fun at CVHS certainly paid off—they were one of our top-performing Health Centers on the Access is the Answer petition!
Beyond getting staff members themselves to participate, Amanda wanted to go the extra mile and empower them to engage patients, recognizing their importance and power as advocates. “One of the challenges of having fifteen sites serving fifteen counties and four cities in Virginia, is the vast number of legislators we have. At the state level, we have 20+ legislators we keep in touch with, and five Congressmen. With hot button issues like the Health Center Funding Cliff and Medicaid expansion, we NEED our advocates to speak up.”
Amanda took on the challenge of the expansive network by setting up trainings; staff members were given a brief history of the Health Center Program, introduced to their legislators, and brought up to speed on the Health Center Funding Cliff. After the training, most people felt more comfortable talking to patients about getting involved in advocacy and better able to speak to Health Center issues. CVHS also provided flyers and postcards with the contact information for Members of Congress, as well as talking points to guide patients when calling or emailing those Members.
Amanda’s hard work and dedication to advocacy hasn’t gone unnoticed, especially by Rick Shinn, Director of Government Affairs at the Virginia Community Healthcare Association. “Every health center needs someone like Amanda. She is in constant motion, keeping everyone up to date on advocacy. She works hard- and that is the key, it takes work and commitment- for advocacy to be successful. We are blessed to have her leading advocacy efforts for her Health Centers.” Amanda was also a NACHC Grassroots Advocacy MVP award winner in 2013!
Thanks for all you do, Amanda, and keep up the great work! Congratulations on being our February 2015 Outstanding Advocate!
Do you know an Outstanding Advocate who deserves this recognition? Let us know! Email Elizabeth Kwasnik at firstname.lastname@example.org.