National Health Center Week 2023: Shining a Light on Oregon CHCs

National Health Center Week (NHCW) aims to raise awareness about the mission and accomplishments of community health centers (CHCs), also known as federally qualified health centers (FQHCs). These centers are nonprofit organizations that provide primary healthcare services to underserved and medically vulnerable populations, including those without insurance or access to affordable healthcare.

NHCW typically takes place during the second week of August and involves various activities, such as open houses, health fairs, community outreach programs, educational events, and recognition of the contributions made by health centers. It’s an opportunity for health centers to showcase their services, engage with their communities, and emphasize their commitment to providing quality healthcare for all, regardless of patient’s ability to pay.

This year, 7 of Oregon’s CHCs hosted a total of 13 events at their health centers, community spaces, and farmers markets to engage with their patient populations and community members. This year, OPCA staff were lucky enough to attend several events hosted by Oregon CHCs.

Northwest Human Services- Employee Appreciation Event/Safety Fair 8/8

On Tuesday, August 8th, five OPCA staff members volunteered at Northwest Human Services’ (NWHS) Employee Appreciation Event/Safety Fair. This event, put on by NWHS’ Quality Management team, combined fun games, raffles, and connection time with safety education.

“Volunteering at our health centers was such an amazing experience for me! Getting to meet the staff was such a great experience, and their passion for their work was evident. Seeing their newly constructed facilities and chatting with staff and providers left me thinking, Wow! This is a community that really cares about its people.”
-Rachel Boisselle, OPCA Health Policy Analyst

Northwest Human Services has been providing residents of Marion and Polk counties with comprehensive medical, dental, mental health, and social services for 50 years. Their programs are integrated and designed to help support those in the community who need it most.

Wallace Medical Concern & Multnomah County Community Health Centers- Back-to-School Fair 8/10

On Thursday, August 10th, Wallace, Multnomah County Community Health Center, and East County Community Health (a program of Rockwood Community Development Corporation) held a Back-to-School community health fair in the Downtown Rockwood Plaza, providing a day of health services, community resources, food, and fun for over 300 community members!

A few of the services provided during the fair included sports physicals and immunizations, fluoride varnishes and other dental resources for kids, COVID vaccinations and Oregon Health Plan information and community resources—plus free sports equipment and books for children and youth, a free lunch, locally-grown veggie tasting, balloon animals, face painting and more.

“It was inspiring to see health centers like Wallace and Multnomah County come together for a Back to School Community Fair and provide an engaging event for some of our most vulnerable Oregonians. The kids were so excited to collect prizes as they learned about the services available in the area (OHP application assistance, dental, food prescription programs, and more!)”

-Ada Catanzarite, OPCA Quality Improvement Manager

Collectively, Wallace and Multnomah County Health Department serve over 55,000 patients, many of whom are at or below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level. Wallace has been providing comprehensive care to the community for over 38 years and has been recognized by the State of Oregon as a Tier 5 Patient-Centered Primary Home, the highest level.

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center- Newberg Wellness Center Groundbreaking Ceremony 8/10

Several OPCA staff members pose at the Newberg Wellness Center groundbreaking with hard hats and shovelsIn 2021 Virginia Garcia (VG) purchased their newest location in Newberg and was awarded $2.12 million from the federal omnibus spending package. Since then, Virginia Garcia has been hard at work preparing for the transformation of the Newberg Clinic to the Newberg Wellness Center.

With a nearly 13,000-square-foot expansion, the clinic will increase access, provide additional services, and create an inclusive, safe community health center with more exam rooms, a teaching kitchen, an expanded pharmacy, and more!

Several of OPCA’s staff were lucky enough to be in attendance during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Newberg Wellness Center on Thursday, August 10th. “I noticed a deep sense of community and camaraderie amongst all types of providers and clinic-wide staff. Their interactions illustrated how CHCs are strong hubs for interdisciplinary collaboration,” noted OPCA Program Manager, Joanna Peterson.

National Health Center Week shines a spotlight on the essential services that community health centers provide, promotes health equity, and advocates for the expansion of access to quality healthcare for all members of society. OPCA’s board and staff extend a sincere thank you to all of Oregon’s health centers who participated in NHCW 2023 and allowed our staff the opportunity to volunteer with your staff and community.