Health Care News, Health Center News

Challenging Community Health Centers to Join in “Raising the Bar” 

Nalani Tarrant is the Deputy Director and Sarah Halpin is the Program Specialist, Social Drivers of Health, in NACHC’s Public Health Priorities Division.

Over the past two years, COVID-19 tested Community Health Centers, hospitals, and healthcare system. The social unrest across the country highlighted the need to improve health equity in the communities that need it most, prompting many leaders at the highest levels of healthcare to voice a commitment to address inequities in the communities they serve. 

To address these issues, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) convened key stakeholders, including the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), to identify how healthcare organizations can approach their oft-stated goal to increase equity. The resulting framework of guiding principles, roles, and action-steps for the health care sector, Raising the Bar: Healthcare’s Transforming Role provides healthcare leaders and their boards with a roadmap to meet this mission. 

Developed through an intentionally and deeply co-creative process led by the National Alliance to impact the Social Determinants of Health (NASDOH) and the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Raising the Bar framework identifies foundational principles that serve as healthcare’s gravitational force to continuously center equity work and essential roles healthcare must play. Each with corresponding concrete actions to help advance health equity. The set of roles and associated actions provide a framework for health care payers, providers, and organizations to implement the principles throughout their work. While Raising the Bar was influenced by powerful and innovative examples from community health centers moving the needle to advance health equity in their communities, there are still unique opportunities and responsibilities for all in the movement to continue “raising the bar.”  

NACHC has adopted and is committed to championing these principles, as they underscore our vision for the health center of the future. We challenge all in the health center movement to embrace this vision for equity and excellence. Many community health centers are already putting the principles, roles, and actions into practice with their progressive model for providing holistic, comprehensive services guided by their communities, but we hope that all health centers will assess their own progress and identify new opportunities to implement the full framework. To aid your health center on your journey, Raising the Bar includes examples from the field and a variety of resources to draw from. Health centers interested in Raising the Bar can lend their support and encouragement to the broader healthcare system, and share their stories with NACHC so that they can be elevated nationally.  

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