Patrick Butler: January 2015 Outstanding Advocate

pbutlerNACHC’s advocacy team is excited to announce the Outstanding Advocate for January 2015, Patrick Butler, CEO of Northland Community Health Center (NCHC) in Turtle Lake, ND!

Patrick Butler joined the Northland team in January 2012 after serving as the director of a Texas Health Center for a number of years. Bringing with him 25+ years of business experience and a passion for advocacy, he set to work to raise the profile of NCHC.

In his short tenure at Northland, Patrick has already done much to create a culture of advocacy among not only the board and staff, but also within the community.

He started with a top-down approach, incorporating basic advocacy training (including signing up as a NACHC advocate) into new board member orientation. Finding it difficult to motivate folks to get out in the community at first, he began to present NACHC’s Washington Update at board meetings and charge members to take action on important items. NCHC’s strategic plan now includes a provision for board members to venture out into the communities served by Northland and educate the public on what FQHCs do and why they are so vital to local communities.

Once he got the board engaged, Patrick then turned his attention to NCHC executive staff. He implemented many of the same activities- discussing NACHC issues and action alerts monthly, and having the COO and outreach staff join him at community events, like fundraisers and parades, to raise NCHC’s visibility in the community. Patrick has also worked hard to form community partnerships and foster productive relationships with other organizations. When NCHC expanded to open a medical and dental site in Minot, ND earlier this year (thanks to a New Access Point grant), Patrick and his staff put together a 15-minute presentation and visited public health offices and VA facilities among others to not only introduce Northland to the community, but also talk about the Health Center Funding Cliff and its impact on more than just FQHCs.

When Patrick started in 2012, NCHC was about ten years old and experiencing some friction with local hospitals and rural health clinics, all of whom fight for patients. “They didn’t know how to work together,” he said. “But in promoting who we [FQHCs] are, what we do, and why we do it- including telling them about some of the challenges that we’re facing, like the funding cliff, and how they might be impacted, as well- relationships among the major providers have definitely improved in the last year and a half.” He goes on to say that the hospitals, rural health clinics, and FQHCs in the area now meet quarterly to discuss how best to collaborate to serve the community.

Patrick’s work at Northland serves as a great example of how to build a culture of advocacy at Health Centers and beyond. By engaging his board and staff, advocacy has become an institutional priority, and something that people expect to take part in when they get involved with NCHC.

Great work, Patrick, and congratulations on being our January 2015 Outstanding Advocate!


Do you know an Outstanding Advocate who deserves this recognition? Let us know! Email Elizabeth Kwasnik at



  1. Christine Morgan says:

    What a great approach for all CHC’s. A guide to help replicate would be useful, including how to get students involved!

  2. The same approach could be used by other agencies. I am with a Community Action Agency in Pinal County, Arizona and found the article and Patrick’s advocacy work very interesting. A guide as Christine suggests could be used by any agency.

  3. Hi Christine and Mary Lou, here are some resources from the CFAHC website on how to create a Health Center Advocacy Team:

  4. Congratulations Patrick! What a great guy with a great organization!
    – Brooke (fellow UCLA HCEP alum)

Leave a Reply