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Advocacy Center of Excellence (ACE) Program

What is an Advocacy Center of Excellence?

“Our job is to teach people how to care about each other before they need health care.” – Vernita Todd, VP & CSO – San Ysidro Health


An Advocacy Center of Excellence, or ACE, is a Health Center or Primary Care Association that creates a culture of advocacy to ensure that policy makers at all levels of government commit to investing in affordable, equitable, and innovative care that health centers provide. ACE levels recognize consistent engagement, success, and demonstrated ongoing commitment to making advocacy an organizational priority. ACEs are actively engaged and involved with NACHC and federal policy issues, as well as their state Primary Care Association and key state and local-level policy issues impacting health centers and their patients. There are three levels of ACEs – Bronze, Silver, and Gold, with each designation valid for two years. There is a checklist of items a health center must complete in order to become an ACE.


Download more information on the ACEs program here


Why should my Health Center become an ACE?


Health centers are American success stories. As federal and state budget priorities and policies shift, it is critical for health centers must rally support to promote access to affordable, equitable, and innovative care for which we are known. By becoming an ACE you ensure that your health center, the patients you serve, and the community at large have a voice in the process and critical decisions being made by policymakers. Health centers are renowned for excellent patient-centered care and efficient use of funding. In order for health centers to thrive, the same commitment must be given to integrating advocacy into the mission and operation of the organization.


By becoming an ACE, you can be confident knowing that your health center’s commitment to advocacy furthers the mission of our 50-year movement. ACEs will be listed on the Health Center Advocacy Network website, highlighted on social media and in the weekly Washington Update, given a web badge for the Health Center’s website, and sent a sticker to display at the Health Center.


The NACHC ACE Checklist


Download a copy of the checklist to review the various action steps a Health Center must complete in order to become an ACE (either Bronze, Silver, or Gold). We’ve provided some templates and samples below for guidance.


How does my Health Center become an ACE?


1) Complete the online form (BronzeSilverGold)  Use the supporting resources below (template advocacy plan, sample board resolution, etc.) to help you complete the checklist.


2) NACHC will review completed applications.


3) NACHC will contact submitter with any questions or to confirm approval as an ACE.


To renew your status, please use the following links:  BronzeSilverGold (Note: if you are looking to change statuses, you must fill out a new application form for the status you desire)


Please note: ACE Certifications must be renewed every two years. If your ACE Certification was up for renewal in 2020, you must submit a renewal application by December 16, 2020. 


Supporting Resources




Click here to check out the list of ACE Health Centers!




For any questions about the ACE program, or for more information, please contact Kristin St. John at kstjohn@nachc.org.