Health Center News

Thinking Outside the Box in Workforce

On opposite sides of the U.S., two health centers are on the cutting edge of innovation when it comes to fostering a workforce that is trained and responsive in meeting the needs of the diverse communities they serve. These Community Health Centers’ efforts are highlighted in two new briefs on how health centers are pioneering new ways to redesign their workforce to produce effective results as Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH).

First, on the east coast, Community Clinic, Inc. (CCI) in Silver Spring, MD (a suburb of Washington, DC) provides primary medical care services, oral health services, family planning and behavioral health to more than 50,000 people.  There is a lot of diversity–more than 73 percent of the patient population are ethnic minorities.  Yet, most of CCI’s staff, which has grown from 84 in 2008 to over 250 people, are bilingual speaking (90 percent), with 22 languages. Read the CCI Issue Brief.

Seattle Indian Health Board (SIHB) in Washington state offers a range of services that include dental and traditional Indian medicine, but they are also known for being home to the Urban Indian Health Institutethe nation’s only urban Indian epidemiology center focusing on research, advocacy and education regarding the health disparities of the American Indian / Alaska Native (AI/AN) population. That is why it was critical for the center to have a pipeline of willing and able staff familiar with American Indian and Alaskan native populations. The center also looked at fostering important soft skills for entry level staff, such as customer service, communication, and cultural humility, all of which affect not only how patients experience care, but whether they utilize it regularly. Read the SHIB Issue Brief.

These two issue briefs, developed with support from the Hitachi Foundation, are worth a read because they underscore how health centers are improving patients’ healthcare experience by focusing on entry level care support; that is to say, what happens before and during a patient’s visit.  If you have any additional questions about these briefs, please contact Jason Patnosh, Associate Vice President, Partnership and Resource Development at NACHC (