Health Center Advocacy 2016: A Year In Review

As we look back on 2016 the list of advocacy accomplishments and successes should serve as a huge inspiration for what can be accomplished when Health Center Advocates join together to advocate and support America’s Health Centers. The successes of 2016 should also motivate us to take on the challenges and opportunities we will face in 2017 with confidence and a renewed commitment to advocacy in a new year.

While the list of advocacy victories and growth is too lengthy to list in entirety, please enjoy a review of some of the advocacy high points in 2016 and join us in celebrating what can only be called year of growth and success!


100K in 100 Days – Health Center Advocacy Network Surpasses 100,000 Advocates!

In an effort to grow and embolden the Health Center Advocate Network, the Advocacy Department launched the 100,000 Advocates in 100 Days Challenge – 100K in 100 Days. The challenge began in mid-May and ran through the end of August. The results of this initiative can only be described as a huge success. Over the course of this challenge we added more than 25,000 Health Center Advocates to the Health Center Advocacy Network, meeting our goal to grow the network to 100,000, and reaching beyond our traditional reach to engage a new and enthusiastic group of advocates. Thanks to the efforts of Health Center Advocate across the nation, more than 100,000 voices now stand ready to fight for the Health Center Program. The importance of this growth in our Advocacy Army cannot be overstated as we prepare to take on the challenges that lie ahead. Health Center Advocates are at the heart of the Health Center Program – those who stepped up and reached across their network to bring new advocates into our community to help achieve this ambitious goal and ensure a bright future for Health Centers and their patients. This is indeed a major benchmark in Health Center Advocacy efforts, but should be viewed as just the start of our work. With nearly 200,000 staff and board members and more than 25 million patients, all of whom have a stake in the success of our advocacy, there is potential for an even larger and even more powerful army that we are committed to building in the year ahead.


Celebrating Americas Health Centers: Innovators in Community Health – National Health Center Week 2016

Advocates once again went above and beyond during NHCW 2016 – more than 650 Health Centers hosted close to 1,700 events in celebration of National Health Center Week.  Over 80 Members of Congress and countless state and local elected officials joined Health Centers and their communities to celebration NHCW 2016. In addition, countless states, counties, and other localities official proclaimed August 7th-13th, 2016 National Health Center Week as did President Obama in a proclamation for the seventh consecutive year. The visibility of NHCW 2016 was also a major success across traditional and social media. With more than 200 state and local media clips and more than 12,000 #NHCW16 tweets. In sum, #NHCW16 drove more than 30,000,000 twitter impressions this past year, touching both traditional and non-traditional audiences to educate about the value of America’s Health Centers.

Advocacy Leaders Shined Bright in 2016

Every year leaders in the Health Center Advocacy Network continue to go above and beyond the call of duty in their fight to protect and grow the health center program. This year, NACHC advocacy recognized several of these advocacy leaders via the Outstanding Advocate initiative.

This year’s Outstanding Advocates include:

  • Emily Fetterhoff- HRHCare
  • Tyler Clark and Layza Lopez-Love- Community Clinic
  • David Waters- Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers
  • Steve Schilling- Clinica Sierra Vista
  • Alex Cragun- Association for Utah Community Health
  • Kelley Pate- Valley View Health Centers
  • Tina Sopiwnik- NorthLakes Community Clinic
  • Rich Napolitano- Greater Lawrence Family Health Center
  • Ellen Adlam- Peninsula Community Health Services


We also proudly recognize a new class of graduates from the NACHC’s Advocacy Leadership Program. Each graduate completed the rigorous advocacy training that kicked off during the 2016 Policy & Issues Forum, regular webinar series and culminating advocacy project this fall. These ALP alum, along with alums from previous years, continue to multiply the voice of the Health Center Movement in the communities they serve by organizing and mobilizing their colleagues, Boards, and patients alike. Take a look at the graduates of the 2016 ALP program here.

Advocacy Centers of Excellence (ACE) Program

In 2016 the NACHC Advocacy Team launched a new program called the Advocacy Centers of Excellence (ACE) Program. In consideration to ongoing efforts across the Health Center world to focus on operational excellence, the ACE Program was designed with this theme in mind. The Program foundation supports advocacy as an element of overall operational excellence, including clear goals, quality measures, and recognition for achieving excellence. This new initiative establishes a standardized framework that makes it easy for Health Centers to build a solid foundation of advocacy and make it an organizational priority. There are three tiers to the program; bronze‐level ACEs which focuses on advocacy infrastructure and planning, silver‐ and gold‐level ACEs which build upon their foundation by focusing on outcomes, response rates, and innovative or creative ways to engage their board, staff, patients, and community.


The response to the ACE Program by Health Centers and Primary Care Associations across the nation has been outstanding and constant! As we close out 2016 we are proud of the six Primary Care Associations that have entered into Memorandums of Understanding with NACHC to promote and drive ACE achievement in their state. We are also bursting with pride for the four Gold ACE Health Centers, seven Silver ACE Health Centers and thirteen Bronze ACE Health Centers – all of whom have set the advocacy bar for colleagues around the nation and are leading by example the level of advocacy excellence that can be accomplished when the organization – from top to bottom – commits to creating a culture of advocacy at the Health Center!


2016 Advocacy Centers of Excellence Achievers:


Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (MA)

Piedmont Health Services (NC)

Salud Family Health Centers (CO)

Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers (WI)


Cares Community Health (CA)

Community Health Care Systems, Inc. (GA)

Community Health Development, Inc. (TX)

Georgia Mountains Health Services (GA)

Greene County Health Care (NC)

Lorain County Health & Dentistry (OH)

Valley Healthcare System (GA)


Bakersville Community Health Center (NC)

Community Healthcare Network (NY)

Diversity Health Center (GA)

Family Health Centers of Georgia (GA)

Golden Valley Health Centers (CA)

Medical Associates Plus (GA)

MedLink Georgia (GA)

Metro Community Provider Network (CO)

Mountain Family Health Centers (CO)

Promise Community Health Center (IA)

Siouxland Community Health Center (IA)

Westside Family Healthcare (DE)

White House Clinics (KY)


PCA Partners

Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers

Colorado Community Health Network

Community Health Center Association of Connecticut

Georgia Association for Primary Health Care

Ohio Association of Community Health Centers

Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association


The Health Center Movement was truly a force to be reckoned with throughout 2016, but the work of a Health Center Advocate is never complete. As health centers continue to serve more patients through increasingly innovative models of care and serve as a critical part of the foundation of America’s Healthcare System, the strength of their advocacy voice at all levels of government will only become more necessary for continued support and success.

The Health Center Program was built by a passionate group of Health Center Advocates, that stood up, took action, and fought tirelessly to ensure those in need had access to high quality, affordable care, regardless of ability to pay.  As we look ahead to 2017, Health Center Advocates must continue to commit themselves to advocacy and to provide a unified and passionate voice, taking action on behalf of America’s Health Centers and the patients they serve. It is that VOICE and commitment to Health Center Advocacy that will determine the future of this great Program. And we, the NACHC Advocacy Team, look forward to being by your side each step of the way.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2017.

The NACHC Advocacy Team,

Amanda Pears Kelly – Director of National Advocacy & Civic Engagement

Alex Harris – Grassroots Advocacy Manager of Special Populations

Elizabeth Kwasnik – Grassroots Advocacy Manager

Dorian Wanzer – Grassroots Advocacy Manager of Communications & Outreach

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