Congratulations ALP Class of Spring 2017!


We are so pleased to announce the graduation of the 25 outstanding individuals below from the Spring Class of the Grassroots Advocacy Leadership Program (ALP). Each of these Health Center Advocates completed a rigorous six-month education and skills-building program that began at the NACHC Policy & Issues Forum (P&I) in the Spring and continued through September. They dedicated themselves to learning everything the need to know to lead advocacy efforts in their communities - from the basics of grassroots advocacy, legal do's and don'ts, best practices for using social media for advocacy, to developing and maintaining relationships with elected officials. In addition, each of the individuals below completed an advocacy project over the summer, and most completed more than one! They became Advocacy Centers of Excellence, took National Health Center Week to a whole new level, engaged community and state partners in their advocacy agendas, and generally contributed to an empowering culture of advocacy in their health centers.

We have enjoyed working with this amazing group of talented advocates - administrators, clinicians, board members, and other health center and primary care association staff - and hearing about their creative ideas below for engaging their communities in Health Center Advocacy. We thank and applaud them for their energy and enthusiasm for supporting the Health Center Movement! Congratulations to the ALP Class of Spring 2017!

Alecia CyprianCyprian_Photo.JPG

CEO at Southeast Community Health Systems in Zachary, LA

"Access to health care not only helps improve health outcomes and quality of life, it also provides a platform for storytelling. I willingly accept being a storyteller for the underinsured and uninsured in the communities served by my community health center."

Christy Ward

CEO of Cares Community Health in Sacramento, CA

"As safety net providers, it is our responsibility to make sure that we have adequate funding to provide care to people who need it. We know from history that we must be ever vigilant in making sure the needs of those less fortunate don’t get forgotten among competing demands. Maintaining a strong advocacy voice from diverse sectors of our community helps ensure continued funding for those in need."

Connie Rhem

Communications Director at Greene County Health Care in Snow Hill, NC

"Advocacy is all about telling the good news every chance you get - everywhere you go and to everyone you see. The good news is community health centers are making our communities healthier - one person at a time. We’re doing good works and our communities benefit from our efforts. We must continue to move forward. And for that reason, we must continue to advocate. Our work is not done until every single person has access to high quality, integrated, affordable care. The good work must continue for our communities to thrive. The good news is we’re here to do good so our communities do well."


Deborah Woolford

Board Member at Park West Health Systems in Baltimore, MD

"Advocacy allows you to stop banging at the door to allowing you to sit at the table so your voice can be heard."

Fatima.jpgFatima Groom

Policy & Public Relations Manager at Sunrise Community Health in Evans, CO

I love the mission & vision of Community Health Centers, and I want to tell everyone about it! Everyone should be able to access health care—the elderly, the children, the poor, the rich, the homeless, the immigrant--everyone!  I want to see more CHCs around the country and quite honestly, around the world. Through the Advocacy Leadership Program I have learned how to pull information together so that I can ask for support, by sharing local stories!  As we think of highlighting the value of CHCs, we all have a story to tell… what is yours?”

JennyKaplanEldridge_Headshot.jpgJennifer Kaplan

Director of Marketing and Provider Recruitment at Cumberland Family Medical Center in Burkesville, KY

“The Advocacy Leadership Program was instrumental in helping Cumberland Family Medical Center, Inc. create a culture of advocacy. It was an honor to participate with community health center advocates throughout the nation who share the mission of providing affordable, accessible, health care.”

JRussell_headshot.JPGJessica Russell

Director of Employee and Public Affairs at MEHOP in Houston, TX

“Advocacy is instrumental to ensuring the future of health centers nationwide. The ALP class offered by NACHC ensures health centers will have strong, policy-minded voices advocating their needs for years to come.”


John_Lunardini.jpgJohn Lunardini

Communications and Business Development at Mississippi Primary Care Association

"We advocate for our health centers because we know the value they provide to our communities. Working with this group of advocacy experts this past year amplifies the desire to continue to break down barriers and build bridges for our patients so their voices are heard and CHCs can provide the health care they need.”

Katie Comando

Project Manager at HRHCare in Tarrytown, NY

“Our work is important, imperative, and impactful, and because that’s the case, we often feel like we can’t let up, not even for a moment. But I believe that attitude does a disservice to our ultimate advocacy goals. To motivate people to join our fight and carry our torch, we need them to see what they are fighting for, and feel the thrill and the joy of accomplishment.”

Kristie.jpgKristie Bennardi

CEO at Keystone Rural Health Consortia in Emporium, PA

“Participation in the ALP afforded me the opportunity to gain new insights into how CHCs can advocate.  In addition to the quality services we provide, advocacy now has become an integral part of the services we offer to our patients and the communities we serve.  Thank you for this wonderful experience.”   

Kristina Hoeschen

Administrative Services Manager at Sea-Mar Community Health Center in Seattle, WA

"Advocacy is at the core of Sea Mar’s mission, and we will continue long into the future to make sure we are a strong voice for the communities and patients we serve."

Gonzales-H_2012_(427x640).jpgRachel Gonzalez-Hanson

CEO and Community Health Development in Uvalde, TX

“One of the key reasons Community Health Centers have succeeded over these 55 years is because of the effective advocacy we have done. But it is not enough for just some of the health centers to be engaged. Advocacy must be embedded in the culture of health center operations at each and every Health Center!  It is an honor to work with so many who share the passion of our movement.”

Sarah Lang and Taylor Brown

Valley Healthcare System in Columbus, GA

“Advocate for what you believe in. No voice is too small to make a difference. If you don’t ask for help, others may assume you don’t need it!”

Allison Williams

Outreach at Community Health Care Systems in Tenniville, GA

Ana Melgoza

VP of External Affairs at San Ysidro Health Center in San Diego, CA

Eugene Market

CEO at First Choice Health Centers in East Hartford, CT


Jackie Concepcion

Director of Community Wellness and Development at Welsh Mountain Health Centers in New Holland, PA

Jim Godwin

Communications Coordinator at Nevada Primary Care Association

Leslie Wolcott

Communications Coordinator at the North Carolina Community Health Center Association

Marcela Vargas

Planning and Project Manager at North Country Health Services in Oceanside, CA

Nicole Davis

Director of Development at Damian Family Care Centers in Briarwood, NY

Rachel Davis

Marketing and Development at Carolina Health Centers in Greenwood, SC

Steve Miracle

CEO at Georgia Mountains Health in Blue Ridge, GA

Tiffany Strauss

Director of Community Relations at HopeHealth in Florence, SC

Verlina Lomick

Advocacy Coordinator at Gaston Family Medical Center in Gaston, NC

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