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 Community Health Center or Primary Care Association that creates a culture of advocacy to ensure that policymakers 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 an 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 – BronzeSilver, and Gold, with each designation valid for two years.

ACE Program Information

Frequently Asked Questions About the ACE Program

Community Health Centers are key to America’s primary health system. As federal and state budget priorities and policies shift, it is critical for Community Health Centers to rally support to promote access to the 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. Community 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. You will also be joining a nationwide network of your ACE peers. We hold quarterly calls with all ACE affiliates allowing you a chance to support and engage with advocacy leaders.

In order to achieve Bronze ACE status, you must complete all of the below requirements. Click here to download the ACE program brochure that includes a checklist for ACE requirements. Once completed, please fill out this application to receive Bronze ACE certification.

Establish advocacy coordinator(s)
Develop an advocacy work plan
Pass an advocacy board resolution
Host a NHCW event
Engage 50% of staff and board as advocates: -Host staff training* -Register for Advocacy Alerts on HCAdovcacy
Host one elected official or their staff annually – virtually or in-person
Establish at least one social media account

To achieve Silver or Gold Status, you must complete all Bronze Requirements as well as a combination of additional tasks. Click here to download the ACE program brochure that includes a checklist for ACE requirements. Each task is assigned a point value: 

  • To achieve Silver Status, you must earn at least 40 points.
  • To achieve Gold Status, you must earn at least 75 points.

Is there something your Community Health Center is doing to engage in substantial advocacy that you don’t see on this list? Let us know! We will evaluate your application holistically and want to reward ALL of the work you are doing! Once you’ve completed all Bronze requirements and a combination of the other tasks, please submit an application here to apply for Silver or Gold status?

Task/Achievement Point Value
Advocacy Response Rate of 10% 5
Advocacy Response Rate of 15% 10
Advocacy Response Rate of 20% 15
Write and Place An Op-Ed or LTE (can be published in local media or sites like LinkedIn or Medium) 10
Post an Advocacy Video on Social Media (Tag MOCs and local media) 10
In-District Office Visit with Staff or MOC 10
Staff or Board member participation in NACHC’s Advocacy Leadership Program 15
Staff attends NACHC Policy & Issues Forum 10
Community Building Efforts – GOTV, Census, Partnering with Local Community Organizations 10
Host a staff or board member advocacy training 10
Register 100% of Staff and Board Members as Advocates on 5
Host a virtual round table with Elected Officials 15
Host a candidate forum/town hall with elected officials 15
CEO letter to elected officials or agency administrators 5
Establish an Advocacy Committee 5
Testifying/adding written remarks for local/state/federal hearings or proposed rules 5

Once you have completed all the necessary tasks, it’s time to submit your application to become an ACE!


  1. Complete this short online application. Use the supporting resources below (template advocacy plan, sample board resolution, etc.) to help you complete the requirements for Bronze, Silver, or Gold.
  2. The NACHC Grassroots Advocacy Team will review completed applications.
  3. NACHC will contact the submitter with any questions or confirm approval as an ACE.
  4. Please note: ACE certifications are valid for two years. You will have to reapply every two years to maintain your ACE status. 

For any questions about the ACE program, or for more information, please contact Sarah Francois at