NACHC’s advocacy team is excited to announce the Outstanding Advocates for April 2015, Krista Dover, MSW Advocacy Intern at the Community Health & Service Center (CHASS) in Michigan and Cassie Hailey, Corporate Strategy Intern at HealthLinc in Indiana! Interns are an incredibly valuable resource when it comes to establishing or bolstering the advocacy programming and activity at your Health Center, and this month we wanted to recognize two women who have gone above and beyond.
Krista Dover began her internship with CHASS in January through the University of Michigan, where she is pursuing her Masters in Social Work. She brought with her experience as a caseworker for a homeless organization and as a community organizer in Southwest Detroit, which has served her well in the Health Center world and at CHASS. One of her two top priorities from the get go was working with the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) and NACHC on the Access is the Answer campaign to fix the Health Center Funding Cliff. She set to work immediately and directed her advocacy focus toward engaging local elected officials and collecting as many letters of support from them and other community leaders as she could, to demonstrate the broad support CHASS enjoys in Detroit and the impact that a 70% loss of funding to the Center would have on the community at large. In just over a month, she secured six letters to be sent to Members of Congress on CHASS’ behalf. “While it was no easy feat acquiring these letters in a short 6 week time frame, I must emphasize that it would not have been possible if it weren’t for the presence of strong community ties that each elected official maintains with their constituents, that CHASS maintains in its continued service to the community and the history I also have with this community that I call home,” Krista notes. In mid-March, Ricardo Guzman, CEO of CHASS and Chair-Elect of NACHC’s Board of Directors, attended the Policy & Issues Forum in Washington, DC, and met with Michigan’s congressional delegation. In large part due to Krista’s efforts on the ground obtaining letters and petition signatures, Mr. Guzman was able to present more than 200 petition signatures from staff and patients and over 1,100 letters of support to Michigan Members of Congress! He says of Krista, “she has done an outstanding job coordinating advocacy not only for CHASS, but also for the FQHC Council members of Southeastern Michigan. As noted by Wayne Bradley, CEO of Detroit Community Health Connection in Detroit: Krista has done a terrific job!”
Health Centers’ advocacy work is never done; now that the House has passed H.R. 2, which includes a two-year extension of Health Center Funding, Krista has turned her attention to the other FQHCs in Detroit to make sure they all work together to keep up the momentum and urge the Senate to pass their bill when they return from recess on April 13. Keep up the great work, Krista!
Our other outstanding advocate this month is Cassie Hailey. Cassie joined HealthLinc last fall as a Corporate Strategy Intern as part of her program in social work and international service at Valparaiso University, where she is currently a senior. She became interested in public health during a semester abroad in Costa Rica after taking a comparative study course looking at health care delivery systems in the United States and Latin America. When Cassie started at HealthLinc, one of her top priorities was to work with Health Center leadership and NACHC on the Access is the Answer campaign. She began to build upon HealthLinc’s culture of advocacy by engaging more patients, staff, and board members, ultimately increasing their overall involvement and participation in advocacy and the Access campaign. As part of a large advocacy email/letter push at the end of October, Cassie was responsible for collecting and sending over 1,500 support letters from all of HealthLinc’s sites to Indiana’s congressional delegation. In conjunction with Phase 3 of Access is the Answer, and in collaboration with HealthLinc’s site managers, Cassie is now focusing her efforts on creating “advocacy champions” at each Health Center location that will engage their fellow staff and patients in advocacy work- not just on Access is the Answer- moving forward. In addition to identifying these “champions”, Cassie is working to develop a training packet with information on the role and responsibilities of these individuals, as well as information on upcoming action items. These recent efforts also speak to the larger culture of advocacy that CEO Beth Wrobel has been instrumental in establishing at HealthLinc, something that is the foundation for creating a robust and successful advocacy program at any Health Center. But, like any good program, this has been a team effort. Beth notes that “we thought we were doing advocacy, but it was not until Cassie started as our intern that we realized we could have a “best-in-class” program. Our employees are better informed regarding the federal and state issues that are affecting HealthLinc and the Health Center world because of Cassie’s efforts.”
Thank you, Cassie, for all of your hard work on the Access is the Answer campaign and advocacy in general—a job very well done!
Do you know an Outstanding Advocate who deserves this recognition? Let us know! Email Elizabeth Kwasnik at firstname.lastname@example.org.