“Spotlight: ALP Masters of Advocacy” is a CFAHC blog series that shines a light on individuals who completed the Advocacy Leadership Program (ALP). Each year the ALP begins at NACHC’s Policy & Issues Forum continues throughout the year via advocacy educational webinars and an ALP Advocacy Project. Participants learn from both NACHC Advocacy Staff and each other how to develop and hone their advocacy skills in order to build advocacy capacity and develop a robust network on the ground in their communities. These blog articles feature the creative and successful advocacy work completed by some graduates of the ALP.
Today, we are celebrating the work of Soledad Vilela, 2014 ALP Master of Advocacy. About the ALP, Soledad says, “The Advocacy Leadership Program has been a great way to learn about what other health centers are doing and also to remind me of how we are all different but we all experience similar challenges. Thank you for this great opportunity!”
After graduating from NACHC’s Advocacy Leadership Program, Soledad was invited to participate on the Public Affairs Committee led by the Association for Utah Community Health (AUCH). Working with the Committee she focused her efforts on the Access is the Answer campaign, collecting letters of support to forward to Senator Orrin Hatch urging him to continue backing federal funding for Community Health Centers (CHCs). She emailed letters to numerous community partners. To make the process as easy as possible for each partner, Soledad developed a personalized letter which detailed how each particular agency works with her CHC. The partner agency only needed to print the letter on letterhead and send it back to her. Soledad was especially pleased when their Mayor who is very supportive of Midtown CHC sent the letter and received a timely response from Senator Hatch. By making the process as easy as possible, Soledad was able to garner 16 great letters from her community to the Senator!
With plenty of inspiration from Soledad, Midtown CHC in conjunction with AUCH developed and hosted a ‘Governor’s Medicaid Expansion Forum’ at two of their sites. The Lt. Governor and the Executive Director of the Utah Department of Health toured the clinics and met with community and business leaders to review the Governor’s Medicaid expansion plan. The Governor’s Plan, which still requires approval by Utah’s legislature, would assist an estimated 77,000 individuals. Regardless of the determinations of the Utah legislature, Midtown CHC remains committed to its mission to serve all those in need from their six sites in Salt Lake, Davis, and Weber counties.
Formerly with Midtown Community Health Center in Ogden, Utah
Congratulations, Soledad, on completing the Advocacy Leadership Program and being one of our 2014 Masters of Advocacy!