NACHC’s Advocacy team is pleased to announce a new advocate recognition initiative, “Outstanding Advocates”. Each month, a different individual, group, or Health Center will be highlighted for the amazing work they are doing to engage not only the staff, board, and patients at their CHC, but also the larger community, in Health Center advocacy. The Outstanding Advocate for the inaugural month of June 2014 is Jennifer Jones, Marketing and Enrollment Specialist at Lifespan Health in Tennessee.
When NACHC launched the Access is the Answer campaign in February, Jennifer got right to work. She gave a presentation at the next staff meeting outlining the campaign and what a 70% reduction in funding would mean for Lifespan if advocates didn’t take action and urge Congress to fix the Health Center funding cliff that will go into effect next October if no action is taken. The first phase of the Campaign charged Health Centers with collecting 500 signatures on the Access is the Answer petition. With that goal in mind, Jennifer turned getting petition signatures into a contest. Each week, the person at the health center who collected the most signatures was honored with a trophy (donated by a local business—a great way to form community partnerships!), social media recognition on Lifespan’s Facebook page, and- of course- bragging rights.
The competition encouraged more than just Lifespan staff to get involved and continues to keep everyone motivated to collect more signatures. Jennifer noted that making their petition drive into a contest “has been a fun way to get our staff motivated to help with advocacy. It has also created a buzz in the community. With staff collecting signatures not only here in the clinics, but out in the community at ball games, etc., people are starting to ask us about the funding cliff, and we have now been approached by our local newspaper about an article.”
While engaging colleagues, patients, and the community at large in advocacy is not without its challenges, Jennifer has been successful in reaching many people generating wide support, underscoring the value of Health Centers in her community. Libby Thurman, Health Policy Director for the Tennessee Primary Care Association says of Jennifer, “her strategy of making advocacy fun has proven successful and her efforts will greatly benefit health center patients and her community.” To date, Lifespan has collected over 1,000 signatures on the petition—more than doubling the initial collection goal established by NACHC!
Kudos to Jennifer for her dedication to Health Center advocacy and for organizing a very successful Access is the Answer petition collection effort! Congratulations on being our June 2014 Outstanding Advocate!
To find out how your Health Center can get more involved in the Access is the Answer Advocacy Campaign, email us at email@example.com. Know an Outstanding Advocate who deserves this recognition? Let us know! Email Elizabeth Kwasnik at firstname.lastname@example.org.