A Message on National Health Center Week from OPCA’s Executive Director

A Message on National Health Center Week from OPCA’s Executive Director

The OPCA team is so excited to be able to recognize and celebrate our Oregon health centers this year during National Health Center Week (NHCW). This year’s NHCW theme of Lighting the Way for Healthier Communities Today and in the Future, is fitting as health centers serve as a beacon of strength, service, and care in their communities. Over the last four months, we have had the opportunity to see how bright our health center members shine and I continue to be awestruck by your innovative work to meet needs in communities throughout our state. Your ability to pivot and ensure that you continue to support your patients and staff during one of the most challenging—if not the most challenging—times we’ve experienced in our lifetimes, is what continues to keep me motivated. On behalf of OPCA, I want to thank our Oregon health centers for all they are doing as leaders and partners on the front lines of COVID-19.

This year will look very different from years past, and while we may not be gathering in-person, it is still important to honor and celebrate health centers nationally and here in Oregon. OPCA has been looking at opportunities to support and showcase our Oregon health centers virtually during NHCW and we will be participating in activities throughout NHCW to remember and honor lives lost through COVID-19 and racism, and to take action.

OPCA is also sharing origin stories from members in the Aug. 5 Member Update and during National Health Center Week on our social media. Thank you to members who have shared their stories with us (see links to origin stories here). As you look at unique ways to celebrate virtually during NHCW and showcase the value of your health center, it’s also a great opportunity to reflect on the mission and roots of the health center movement, born through the civil rights movement and the War on Poverty.

If you don’t yet have an event planned or are looking for other ways to celebrate CHCs, you can:
Take action today, by writing your members of Congress to tell them why you are celebrating National Health Center Week!
• Consider a virtual reading of Gov. Kate Brown’s Health Center Week in Oregon declaration.
• Identify webinars, videos, or other opportunities for staff, patients, and community members to learn about matters that align with the values and mission of health centers and the communities they serve.

As you continue to light the way as a leader in primary care, NHCW is a great opportunity to shine a light on your health center and the value you bring to your community. Thank you for all you do for our Oregon communities.

Joan Watson-Patko, OPCA Executive Director
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