Courtney Allen Cowardin, CNM, Associate Medical Director of Women’s Health at OneWorld Community Health Centers, Inc. in Omaha, NE, has been honored as a “Health Center Hero” for National Health Center Week 2018 (NHCW). Cowardin was selected among the finalists from hundreds of nominations sent to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) from health centers across the country and received the most votes online from peers and other Community Health Center supporters.
Since arriving at OneWorld 14 years ago, Cowardin made it no secret that providing excellent holistic care is a top priority, going beyond traditional health care to meet the needs of her patients. Last year, after realizing that many patients who receive care at OneWorld’s Women’s Health Center were hungry and often going without food, she connected with Saving Grace Perishable Food Rescue, a local nonprofit that delivers excess perishable food to nonprofits that feed the hungry. Thanks to Courtney’s efforts, patients who struggle with food insecurity now leave with bags of fresh produce, dairy products, meat, bread and other healthy groceries.
Cowardin’s service to her community also extends to providing warm coats and clothes for young patients. Last October, Cowardin was the force behind OneWorld’s drive to give hundreds of children’s coats, mittens, hats, scarves and more to needy patients.
“[Courtney] is, without a doubt, a hero at our health center. Not only is she unfailingly kind to the vulnerable families, new mothers and young children she sees every day in the clinic, but she also spends her free time creating new and innovative ways to care for underserved and underprivileged populations in Omaha,” writes Andrea Skolkin, Chief Executive Officer of OneWorld Community Health Centers, who nominated Cowardin for the award.
National Health Center Week is a weeklong national campaign sponsored by NACHC to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of Community Health Centers and the dedicated staff who provide care to millions of medically underserved people across the country. The theme of National Health Center Week 2018 is Celebrating Health Centers: Home of America’s Health Care Heroes. More than 220,000 people work at health centers in positions that include clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dentists and dental hygienists, behavioral health specialists, administrative support staff and much more. These health care heroes drive innovative solutions to the most pressing health care issues in their communities. They reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness, homelessness, substance use disorders (including opioids), and other social determinants of health. It is their work that has helped reduce health care costs and reduce chronic disease, generating a record of success and, along with it, a long tradition of bipartisan support in Congress.
The Health Center Hero contest is one of more than 1,600 NHCW events scheduled across the country, including health fairs, visits by Members of Congress and state officials to local health centers, press conferences, back-to-school drives, community breakfasts, patient appreciation events, free health screenings and dental cleanings, and much more.
To learn more about NHCW and the listing of events please visit: www.healthcenterweek.org.
You can also follow the conversation using #NHCW18 on Twitter.