Advocacy for Community Health Centers is critical to sustaining the growth of the Health Center Movement. NACHC’s Grassroots Advocacy department leads multiple initiatives in support of health centers engaging in advocacy efforts to educate elected officials and other policymakers about the incredible impact health centers make in their communities. One of these initiatives is the Advocacy Center of Excellence (ACE) program.
Advocacy helps to strengthen the Health Center Movement
“Advocacy is critical to fulfilling our mission at Health & Wellness Center and for sustaining the Community Health Center movement across the nation,” said Brooke Lattimore, Chief Operating Officer, Health & Wellness Center, Inc in Oklahoma. “Becoming a NACHC Gold Advocacy Center of Excellence was important to us, to show our board of directors, patients, team, communities, and other stakeholders, that advocacy is a commitment we value and take seriously on all levels.”
An ACE is recognized for creating a culture of advocacy within their organization to ensure policymakers at all levels of government commit to supporting the affordable, equitable, and innovative care that health centers provide.
Three levels of ACE designations
There are three ACE designations—Bronze, Silver, and Gold—that distinguish tiered levels of consistent engagement and demonstrate an ongoing commitment to making advocacy an organizational priority. NACHC is proud to have recently reached a milestone of more than 100 health centers achieving the ACE designation (see list). Additionally, ACE covers 29 states and 12 Primary Care Associations (PCAs).
We can’t stop there. NACHC encourages other health centers to join this program as Congress prepares to make critical decisions that could affect health center funding. Health center advocacy is critical work, almost as important as caring for patients. We must speak up for health centers and make sure that health centers are involved in discussions about policies that affect them.
ACEs meet specific requirements
ACEs must meet specific requirements and actively partner with NACHC on federal policy issues and partner with their state Primary Care Association (PCA) on regional policy issues that impact America’s 31.5 million health center patients.
We celebrate the many health centers that have taken impressive actions to obtain exclusive ACE status! Learn more about how your health center can participate in the ACE program and sign up for the weekly Washington Update to get the latest information about health center advocacy priorities.