The great thing about Community Health Center conferences is that they gather together in one place dedicated community health leaders who are passionate about their work. The general session held yesterday at the NACHC Community Health Institute and Expo featured great speakers who reminded us that inspite of the fiscal uncertainties challenging health centers, the work that we do now is critical. And expanding care to more communities in need is what matters still.
Carmela Castellano-Garcia, President and CEO of the California Primary Care Association underscored that same sentiment at today’s general session when she mentioned the Affordable Care Act and said, “This great victory did not occur in a vacum, as many Primary Care Associations, including my own, coped with severe state budget cuts at a time when the economy continued to falter and thousands of new patients were seeking us out for care. Despite our circumstances, our clinics stayed true to their mission of providing access to quality, compassionate care. This is what sets us apart from other providers.”
Keynote speaker and surgeon M. Tray Dunaway, MD, picked up the theme of compassion in his own lively presentation that hit all the right notes about health center patient-centered care. He said, “When we are compassionate we suffer with our patients. This is what you health centers do. And what you do makes a difference for thousands of people every day of the year.”