Access All- Stars Blog: ALABAMA

As part of an ongoing effort to recognize Health Center Advocates across the country for their amazing work, NACHC’s advocacy team is excited to announce our “Access All-Stars” blog series. The purpose of the Access All- Stars Blog series is to recognize and appreciate advocates, from across the nation, who have gone above and beyond in actively engaging in the Access is the Answer Campaign.  

Each week, the CFAHC blog will feature Access All-Stars from each state who exemplify stellar advocacy action and commitment to grassroots advocacy efforts as part of the Access is the Answer Campaign. To kick off the series, we will learn about the excellent work of four All-Stars from the state of Alabama. The advocates listed below played a crucial role in the effort to fix the cliff by providing advocacy leadership in their communities and effectively communicating the value of Health Centers to lawmakers and beyond.

Alabama’s Access All-Stars

roweWayne Rowe
Chief Executive Officer of Quality of Life Health Services, Inc.
Gadsden, AL

As Health Center Advocates know, among the of the most important elements to effective advocacy is issue education and commitment to taking advocacy action. Mr. Rowe is a prime example of a CEOs that has actively engaged his staff and board members on the importance of Health Center advocacy for continued funding.  Recognizing the critical need to first educate and engage his staff, Mr. Rowe provided key education about the impact the funding cliff would have on Health Centers in Alabama and across the country. Armed with the knowledge and localized information about the potential impact of the funding cliff at their Health Center, Mr. Rowe’s staff were poised to step up as Health Center Advocates to spread the word to others in the community and with elected officials.

Deborah-Culpepper-thumbnailDebbie Culpepper
Chief Executive Officer of Northeast Alabama Health Services, Inc.
Scottsboro, AL

Commitment, persistence, teamwork and telling the Health Center story – each of these tactics define the approach Ms. Culpepper chose to take in recent months earning her Advocacy All-Star status… Recognizing the critical need to meet with her Members of Congress in person to explain to potential impact of the funding cliff on her Health Center, Ms. Culpepper traveled to D.C. with three board members from Northeast Alabama Health Services, Inc. to meet Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator Richard Shelby, Congressmen Robert Aderholt, and Congressmen Mo Brooks. During the meetings, she and her team presented the potentially devastating effects that the primary care funding cliff would have on Northeast Alabama Health Services, Inc. and the patients it serves. While she and her Board Members acted as the voice for the Health Center and community during their visit to DC, Ms. Culpepper wanted to make sure the patients back home had a direct line of communication as well.  To illustrate the needs of patients, Ms. Culpepper brought a video of a patient testimony as a “leave behind” for each Member of Congress she visited.  The video was very influential as 5 out of 7 House members voted in favor of H.R.2 which extended funding for Health Centers for two years.

john waits_0Dr. John Waits, MD
Chief Executive Officer and Faculty Physician of Cahaba Medical Care Foundation
Centreville, AL

One of the most unique and highly effective voices in the network of Health Center Advocates are those advocates that are both providers and administrators. For Cahaba Medical Care Foundation, Dr. Waits serves as the Chief Executive Officer and a practicing physician.  Cahaba Medical Care also happens to be both an FQHC, and a Teaching Health Center. As an advocate, Dr. Waits has been highly effective in putting in context the potential harm that the health center funding cliff would have on the clinical workforce especially in Alabama’s rural areas.

In addition, Dr. Waits was actively engaged in ALPHCA’s annual Legislative Day, acting as a powerful voice on behalf of Health Centers in Alabama and challenging state legislators to expand Medicaid.

charlesWhiteCharles White
Chief Executive Officer of Franklin Primary Health Center, Inc.
Mobile, AL

Mr. White exemplifies what it is to be an Access All-Star.  Recognizing one of the golden rules to effective advocacy, Mr. White has been deliberate and masterful in building relationships with his elected officials, opinion leaders and community partners in his community. He was then able to leverage those relationships and work with his local representatives to support and secure funding for Health Centers.

To help build his relationships and provide personal understanding and connection to the Health Center, Mr. White frequently invites local, state, and national leaders to tour Franklin Primary Health Care, Inc. He is very aware that when it comes to advocating for Health Centers, there is nothing more powerful than having the opportunity to see the Health Center in person, to meet patients and staff, and see firsthand the potentially devastating effect the funding cliff would have on Health Centers locally. His consistent engagement with legislators raised the profile of Health Centers in his district and contributed to the passage of H.R. 2 providing extension of Health Center mandatory funding for an additional two years.


Access All-Stars, Alabama: Thank you for your commitment to Health Center Advocacy and for your active involvement in the Access is the Answer Campaign.

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