The Role of Clinicians in Promoting Advocacy

Community Health Centers serve over 22 million patients annually at approximately 9,000 sites across the country. That’s thousands of providers seeing, treating, and caring for our families, friends, and neighbors, day in and day out. But did you know that providers also have another incredibly important and valuable role?

Clinicians are among the strongest and most powerful advocates for Health Centers and the people they serve. They exist in a unique space in advocacy where the rubber meets the road—where policies born in Washington, DC are put into practice in local communities. They both see and experience how those policies translate relative to patient care as well as impact the Health Center as a business and economic engine. Clinicians are also trusted sources of information, held in high esteem by both their patients and Members of Congress. Many times, they are leaders in the community. When they talk, people listen.

Yet, in spite of the unique position they are in to affect meaningful change for their Health Centers and patients, clinicians may not feel empowered to stand up as advocates, or feel they don’t have the time to take part in advocacy efforts. But we need clinicians now more than ever to carry the Health Center message to Capitol Hill and beyond!

Recently, and in light of the Health Center Funding Cliff—an up to 70% reduction in grant funding that will take effect in October 2015 if Congress fails to act—the advocacy team worked with members of NACHC’s Clinical Advocacy Advisory Group to compose a short video about why it is so important for clinicians to get involved now. The video is below. Clinicians do have a unique and powerful perspective, and signing up to lend your voice as an advocate only takes a moment. Join us!

Clinician video screen shotNot only are we asking clinicians to get involved by becoming advocates and talking to Members of Congress about issues impacting Health Centers, we’re also asking them to reach out within their communities to get others involved. Whether it’s to patients, colleagues, or their own families and friends, the Health Center message delivered by a trusted voice can be very impactful.

That’s where NACHC can help. We have many resources available for all advocates, clinician or otherwise, to ensure that everyone is up-to-date on our latest issues, like the Access is the Answer campaign to fix the Health Center Funding Cliff, and feel comfortable talking about our policy priorities to folks in the community and Congress alike. Sending an email up to Capitol Hill takes less than five minutes and each message makes a difference! We’ve tried to make advocacy easy and accessible so that everyone who works at, for, or receives care from a Health Center can speak up and make their voices heard!

Please share the above video with your colleagues, and encourage clinicians that you know and who work at your Health Center to sign up as an advocate today! If you’re a clinician and want more information on how to get further involved, contact Elizabeth Kwasnik at ekwasnik@nachc.org.

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