The third week of August is observed is observed as National Health Center Week (NHCW) in the United States. Sponsored by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), the annual celebration aims to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the past five decades. In 2018, NHCW is from August 12-18.
Healthcare centers initially started functioning in the United States about 50 years ago as a pilot project during President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Over the years, these centers have evolved significantly and now play a predominant role in reducing income and health disparities and unnecessary hospitalizations, and in increasing annual health system savings. Today, Community Health Centers are located in about 10,000 communities in every state and territory and the District of Columbia and serve over 27 million people (of which 8 million are children). It is estimated that pain management centers serve more than 27 million patients, or 1 in 12 people, in rural and urban neighborhoods across America and the U.S. territories.
The theme for the 2018 annual celebration is: “Celebrating Health Centers: Home of America’s Health Care Heroes”. 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. NHCW is the time to educate the public about the important work of these healthcare centers.
Healthcare centers across the US provide quality pain management and rehabilitation services for people of all ages. As part of the 2018 NCHW campaign, a host of campaigns including health fairs, health contests, open houses, community breakfasts, patient appreciation events, free health screenings and more, will be held across the country. Each day of NHCW 2018 is dedicated to a particular focus area –
- August 12 (Sunday) – Legislative Appreciation Day
- August 13 (Monday) – Honoring Health Center Heroes
- August 14 (Tuesday) – Public Housing Health Centers Day
- August 15 (Wednesday) Healthcare for the Homeless Day
- August 16 (Thursday) – Agricultural Worker Health Day
- August 17 (Friday) – Patient Appreciation Day
- August 18 (Saturday) – Children’s Health Day
It is estimated that more than 205,000 people work at health centers in positions such as clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, dentists and dental hygienists, behavioral health specialists and much more. NHCW recognizes the work/contributions of these professionals which have helped reduce health care costs and chronic diseases.