By Amanda Pears Kelly – NACHC National Advocacy Director
Every year, with an increasing sense of excitement, the planning for National Health Center Week (NHCW) begins months in advance of the actual event. NACHC, State Primary Care Associations, Health Centers and even individuals start brainstorming, about what their NHCW celebrations will entail and how to best showcase the great work of health centers and the critically important role they play in their community. This year was no exception. Despite the usual deadlines, challenges and competing demands for time and resources, health centers from coast to coast planned and delivered some of the best celebrations yet!
Nearly every state in the nation participated in NHCW this year and more than 600 health centers held more than 1500 events during NHCW 2014. The Administration once again helped to kick off NHCW this year, when President Barack Obama issued an official proclamation recognizing August 10th -16th as National Health Center Week 2014. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell and HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield also helped celebrate NHCW by joining NACHC President & CEO, Tom Van Coverden and Health Center Leaders from around the country for a special NHCW 2014 Teleforum highlighting the countless ways that health centers are leading the nation in providing high quality, accessible care to all those in need. You can access the call transcript and recording on the Health Center Week website.
The NHCW success story goes on: more than thirty states, counties and localities also issued resolutions and proclamations in recognition of this year’s celebration. More than 80 Members of Congress participated in NHCW events, sharing kind words of support and pointing to the critical role health centers play in our communities and to the patients they serve. Hundreds of print, radio and broadcast media pieces also appeared throughout the week covering the wonderful events and celebrations happening around the nation.
We’ve done our best to document the success of NHCW 2014 by adding links to media coverage and posting event photos on the Health Center Week website and CFAHC Facebook page. If you haven’t yet had a chance, checkout the NHCW website to see this year’s NHCW in the News section. NHCW 2014 was also a big hit in the world of social media, garnering posts from dozens of members of Congress, state and local elected officials and partner organizations recognizing the vital role health centers play in the communities they serve. Thousands of NHCW tweets and Facebook posts went out using the #NHCW2014 hashtag, helping to spread the word about health centers and in recognition of NHCW 2014.
As a way to keep the celebration going throughout the month of August we encourage everyone to send us pictures and videos captured during your NCHW event celebrations. You can email them directly to email@example.com . Also be sure to submit the best images and videos as part of the NHCW Picture & Video Contest . The contest submission period is open through August 29th – visit the contest pages to access rules and submission guidelines. The contest is a great way to gain national visibility for your health center and showcase the great events and celebrations hosted during NHCW. Keep the celebration going and make your submission today!
Year after year we have proudly organized and celebrated National Health Center Week, and there is one thing we know for sure: NHCW is a success because of the tremendous hard work and dedication of the staff, board members and patients at health centers everywhere. We want to take this opportunity to THANK YOU for another wonderful year of celebrations and success and congratulate you on a job extremely well done.
We are already thinking about National Health Center Week 2015 (August 9th – 15th) and we hope you’ll join us next year to raise the bar once again and make NHCW 2015 even bigger and better than each year prior.
The NACHC Advocacy Team
Amanda Pears Kelly – National Advocacy Director
Alexandra Harris – National Advocacy Specialist
Elizabeth Kwasnik – Grassroots Advocacy Manager
Joshua Speiser – Manager of Grassroots Advocacy Outreach & Communications
Yvette Ammerman – Associate Director for Western Operations