NACHC’s advocacy team is excited to announce the Outstanding Advocate for November 2015, Erika Martinez, Grassroots Coordinator at the Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers (AACHC). Erika has worked hard, thought creatively, and has gone above and beyond in her efforts to ramp up Arizona’s participation and activity as part of NACHC’s Access is the Answer campaign.
Erika joined AACHC in June 2014, and brought with her experience in community outreach, as well as marketing, brand management, and media relations. She has a passion for creating an impact in her community, and does so not only in her role as Grassroots Coordinator, but also through volunteer work with various local organizations.
Erika is a graduate of the 2015 Advocacy Leadership Program, where her final advocacy project focused on taking lessons learned from NACHC’s Hispanic Advocacy Program training at Sunset Community Health Center in southwestern AZ, and helping other health centers engage their Spanish-speaking patients and staff. Providing culturally-competent advocacy resources not only mirrors the broader health center mission, but also allows for more advocates to speak up and make their voices heard.
Erika also uses social media to advocate by raising the profile of health centers and spread the word about Access is the Answer. Recently, she participated as a panelist on a national webinar (conducted in Spanish) about the power of social media and some of the guidelines health centers should follow when engaging in advocacy online.
In an effort to increased overall engagement on federal issues among AACHC’s member health centers, Erika, along with Chief External Affairs Officer, Tara McCollum Plese, is working hard to identify barriers to advocacy engagement and remove or lower them as much as possible.
Most recently, to reinforce NACHC & Health Center messaging, and to ramp up energy and participation from Arizona’s Community Health Centers on the latest menu of action steps for Access is the Answer, Erika created a short video laying out the different action items in simple terms. Easier on the eyes than paragraphs of text, the video is a creative way to reach advocates.
AACHC CEO John McDonald says of Erika, “It is a delight for any CEO to see a young professional’s job performance exceed his or hers wildest dreams and expectations; and so it is for me with Erika. She is creative, dedicated, and performance driven when it comes to supporting AACHC’s grassroots advocacy efforts with our health center members. Erika is graceful in her approach to engaging members and public officials. She has truly captured the attention of all of us who understand the importance of advocacy including Tara Plese, Chief External Affairs Officer, whom she works with daily.”
Thank you, Erika, for your active commitment to health center advocacy and for your hard work to engage and educate AACHC’s members and patients and for your efforts on the Access is the Answer campaign!
Do you know an Outstanding Advocate who deserves this recognition? Let us know! Email Elizabeth Kwasnik at firstname.lastname@example.org.