National Health Center Week

by Caroline Dickson, Health Educator

Health Center WeekAugust 10th marks the beginning of National Health Center week! These community-based organizations serve those with limited access to health care and improve the quality of life for many. In 1965, clinics were created as part of the Office of Economic Opportunity.  These clinics were initially called “neighborhood health centers” and were formed with the purpose of promoting empowerment and providing health and social services to locals in the community.  This week is dedicated to recognizing the importance of Health Centers all around the nation, allowing communities to appreciate the many services provided.  For almost 50 years, community health centers have delivered high-quality preventative and primary care to patients regardless of their ability to pay.  Health centers provide a variety of health-related services, including specialty care (orthopedic, cardiac, podiatric care), mental health services, and dental care. They also provide supportive services including nutrition education, care coordination, transportation to and from health care sites, and translation services. Studies have estimated that health centers save the U.S. health care system between $9.9 and $24 billion a year by eliminating unnecessary emergency room visits and other hospital based care. Overall, health centers serve more than 21 million patients annually, including 4 million new patients in the past 4 years. In addition, these centers have created around 148,000 jobs in the United States. It is important to take care of our bodies through healthy eating, exercise, and getting enough sleep. It is also important to take action when we are injured or sick by seeing a physician and getting quality care. With health care centers, this is made possible for millions of people around the nation. So, a big THANK YOU goes out to all health center staff for everything you do! Keep up the great work.