The second week of August is celebrated as “National Health Center Week” in the United States. Each year, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) hosts this event. The national campaign held during second week of August (from 9th -15th) aims to raise awareness about the mission and significant accomplishments of America’s health centers over the course of five decades.
The theme for 2015 celebration is – “America’s Health Centers – Celebrating Our Legacy, Shaping Our Future.” Health centers started functioning in the United States about 50 years ago as a pilot project during President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. However, over the years, health centers evolved significantly and now play an important role in reducing income and health disparities, infant mortality rates, and unnecessary hospitalizations as well as in increasing annual health system savings.
The week-long celebration recognizes the services and contributions of Community, Migrant, Homeless and Public Housing Health Centers in providing access to affordable, high quality, cost effective healthcare treatment to medically vulnerable and underserved people in the United States.
Local community owned and operated businesses, healthcare centers in the US reportedly serve over 23 million Americans at about 9,200 delivery sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories. It is estimated that about 1 in 15 people in the US depends on their services. They have of being ranked as the highest quality and cost-effective care providers in the nation.
As part of the 2015 NCHW campaign, more than 1,100 events including seminars, health fairs, health contests, open houses, patient appreciation events, free health screenings and more are planned across the country. In addition, three days will be set aside to identify special populations served by the health centers:
- Public Housing Health Centers Day – August 11, Tuesday
- Health Care for the Homeless Day – August 12, Wednesday
- Farm worker Health Day – August 13, Thursday
National Health Center Week has become a strong platform to recognize the major contributions made by specialty healthcare centers in the US in helping to achieve total healthcare access.