We all know that it takes more than a village to care for the 28 million patients who rely on a health center for their care. It takes a multitude of dedicated health care heroes. In fact, more than 224,000 people work at health centers, including care coordinators, clinicians, community health workers, nurses, physicians, pharmacists, social workers, dentists, dental hygienists, behavioral health specialists, administrative support staff and more.
Many of these positions were represented in the applications we received for our first ever National Health Center Week Health Center Hero Award contest. While we did name a winner – Courtney Allen Cowardin, CNM, Associate Medical Director of Women’s Health at OneWorld Community Health Centers, Inc., in Omaha, Nebraska (read the press release) – we also want to acknowledge the more than 228 community health center heroes who were nominated from 42 states by their peers and the thousands of others serving health centers every day.
The nomination forms we read revealed stories of health center staff, board members and volunteers coming up with innovative ways to fight food insecurity; caring for substance use disorder patients (even one physician who saved a man’s life on the sidewalk outside of his health center when he noticed the signs of an overdose); registering hundreds of people to vote; signing up countless patients for insurance and greeting every patient with a smile, no matter the circumstances. We were amazed by the abundance of ways that health center heroes live and breathe the health center mission every day in their communities.
We plan to share these stories in every way we can throughout the rest of the year. Stay tuned.
Want to learn about the 2018 Health Center Hero Finalists? Read about them here: