The NACHC advocacy team is excited to announce the Outstanding Advocate for December 2016—Ellen Adlam, Board Member at Peninsula Community Health Services of Alaska (PCHSAK).
Ellen’s involvement with Health Centers reaches far beyond the leadership and direction she provides at PCHSAK. She is currently the Consumer Board Member Representative for the Alaska Primary Care Association’s Board of Directors, and has previously served as the Health Center Consumer Board Member Representative for the NACHC Board of Directors. She brings a dogged determination to advocacy and draws on both her clinical background as well as her experience in nonprofit management to further the Health Center mission.
Recently, Ellen was working on an event with the Alaska Professional Hunters Association (APHA), when she was introduced to their lobbyist, whom she recognized from her annual trips to the state capitol to advocate on behalf of Health Centers. In trading “Juneau war stories” from their many visits, it suddenly occurred to them that there was a unique opportunity for partnership between the organizations so key to their advocacy. Member organizations of the Hunters Association employ many seasonal workers, whose families may be unaware of, but could certainly benefit from, services provided by PCHSAK. Moreover, Health Center patients and other community members may not be aware of the work that APHA does, not only to protect hunting rights, but also to advocate for and help those in remote villages and other rural areas of Alaska. Ellen and her contact are currently working on a plan to bring more awareness to both organizations’ issues, and in particular where their work and advocacy aligns.
Partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, and will look different for each Health Center. But regardless of whether you partner with the “usual suspects” (like local banks and chambers of commerce, or like-minded/health-related organizations) or a previously overlooked partner like APHA, building relationships with other businesses and organizations can be mutually beneficial and contribute in leaps and bounds to collective advocacy success. In her own words, Ellen says, “my passion and understanding for the work that we do allows me to advocate for our centers with a wide variety of different people. Advocacy for me is about connecting the dots so that we can help as many people as possible through our centers.”
Thank you, Ellen, for all your efforts to engage others and bolster our national advocacy network! Given all of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for Health Centers in the coming year, NACHC will be putting together a toolkit to help advocates seek out and build community partnerships around issues impacting our communities and patients, as well as providing more information on the partnerships NACHC has at the national level. Stay tuned for more information on that and other new advocacy resources in the coming weeks!
Do you know an Outstanding Advocate who deserves this recognition? Let us know! Email Elizabeth Kwasnik at firstname.lastname@example.org.