2017 Champions 4 Health Tour, Building Relationships One Community at a Time
As August came to a close, the Mississippi Primary Health Care Association and the 20 Mississippi Community Health Centers throughout Mississippi toured the State a to speak to audiences about the important and dynamic work that the 20 community health centers provide in Mississippi.
As a mechanism to compliment National Health Center Week, The Mississippi Primary Health Care Association took a grassroots approach to celebrating the work of community health centers while developing important relationships that speak the needs of Mississippi’s citizenry.
The Champions 4 Health Tour introduced lively debates and discussions in three regions of the state. Particular attention was placed on how community health centers can best partner with education, workforce development & physician recruiting, the fight against opioid addiction and the strategic relationship between Medicaid and managed care organizations in Mississippi.
Each Champions 4 Health panel discussion was preceded by a tour of a local community health center to allow panelists and community members.
The health center movement began with just two health centers in two communities over 50 years ago and has grown to encompass over 1,200 health centers providing quality, affordable health care to 20 million people in over 7,000 communities in every state and territory.
In Mississippi, the first CHC was born in Mound Bayou, MS. Today, over 300,000 people can call community health centers their invaluable resource for human need. Support for health centers has continued and grown through countless economic and political changes because there have always been people at the grassroots who made sure policymakers always knew what health centers were created to achieve. In the 1980’s the Federal Health Centers program was almost undone, and were it not for a true grassroots uprising that hit Congress, we would not be talking about health centers today. That grassroots power was due to the fact that health centers are not just in, they are of their communities.
This is why each year we celebrate National Health Center Week with various activities at health centers across America. Health centers in Mississippi held free health fairs, free dental screenings and cleaning, homeless healthcare, healthcare safety, patient appreciation events, and public housing outreach during the week long celebration.
MPHCA was excited to add to the weekly celebrations with The Champions 4 Health Tour, sponsored by Capitol Resources, Magnolia Health, United Health Care Community Plan & Mississippi Primary Health Care Association. The panel discussions brought together community health center CEOs, legislative & municipal officials, educational, law enforcement and career readiness leaders throughout the state. The 1st Annual Champions 4 Health Tour also brought community stakeholders to the table in an effort to share some of the challenges and concerns that citizens face regarding comprehensive issues.
Tour stops included, Jackson (Central High School), Cleveland (Mississippi Grammy Museum) & Ellisville (Jones County Community College).
The 2017 Champions 4 Health Tour raised public awareness and support for health centers which have significant economic and workforce impact on the communities they serve while aligning synergies that provide exponential gains for families.