National Health Center Week 2013, August 11-17, Event Spotlight – Guest blog post by Jennifer Neeley, Associate Director of Development, West County Health Centers, Inc., located in Guerneville, CA
West County Health Centers is a private, non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center providing medical, dental, and mental health services for those in need and empowering people to build healthy lives and communities in the western Sonoma County region of California. We celebrate National Health Centers Week every year by hosting an open house at one of our six sites in western Sonoma County and inviting dignitaries, national representatives, our community, business partners, supporters, patients, and staff to join us.
The Sebastopol Community Health Center will be the site hosting our open house event this year for National Health Centers Week on Friday, August 9th from 5-7pm. The Sebastopol Community Health Center (SCHC) was established in 2008 as the pilot site for our transition to an electronic health record. SCHC is the hub for our specialty care program in addition to integrated mental health services and expanded AIDS/HIV care. In just three short years SCHC has grown to be our largest site with 1500 patient visits per month. The unprecedented growth of our practice in Sebastopol continues to be an economic driver creating many new jobs. Our growth is also an indicator of the huge need for medical care for low income patients as well as a mirror for the spike in the numbers of uninsured in our community.
The Open House event itself is a social mixer, with tours offered of our health center by staff, board members, and volunteers. There is a formal speaking presentation that begins at 5:30 with our Executive Director, Board President, Medical Director, and special guests. Our open houses throughout the year are generally very well attended by our supporters, we have sent over 1,200 electronic invitations. We will provide an array of appetizers donated by local restaurants, as well as wine donated by local wineries, and a silent auction of a variety donated items from lodging to dinner at fine restaurants. We expect at least 125 people to attend and have made arrangements to utilize outdoor areas.
Each year the second week in August is dedicated to celebrating the services and contributions of Community, Migrant, Homeless and Public Housing Health Centers. While there are countless reasons to celebrate America’s Health Centers, among the most important and unique is their long success in providing access to affordable, high quality, cost effective health care to medically vulnerable and underserved people throughout the United States.
This year, please join us in Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Transforming Health Care in Our Local Communities during National Health Center Week 2013, August 11th-17th; learn more at www.healthcenterweek.org.