Community Health Centers such as Wallace serve as a beacon of strength, service, and care in their communities. In moments of pain and loss, they offer support and love. In moments of triumph, they offer hope and a vision for the future.
That’s been true for over 50 years.
America’s Health Centers were born of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s, when a group of determined activists waged a fight to improve the lives of people living in poverty, who desperately needed health care. Their leader was H. Jack Geiger, a young doctor who had seen the success of community-based health care while he was a student in South Africa.
President Lyndon B. Johnson’s wide-ranging War on Poverty initiatives gave Dr. Geiger and other health care pioneers their opportunity. Their proposals to establish health centers in medically underserved urban and rural communities bore fruit with the approval of funding in 1965 for the nation’s first two Health Centers—in Mound Bayou, Mississippi and Boston, Massachusetts.
The Community Health Center movement has never looked back, exceeding the wildest expectations of those early activists. Today, more than 1200 health centers, including health centers specializing in health care to migrant farmworkers, homeless persons, and public housing residents operate in over 7500 sites, providing care to more than 17 million underserved patients throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories. Wallace is proud to be among them.
This National Health Center Week we celebrate the roles Community Health Centers have played in both our recent moments of loss and triumph. From the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Community Health Centers have been finding innovative ways to provide preventative and primary care to their patients—from expanded telehealth services to door-to-door grocery delivery.
During this week of remembrance, we honor those front line providers, staff, and beloved patients who have lost their lives during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As we commemorate their lives and celebrate the future of community health, let’s shine a light across the country that brings access to high quality primary health care to everyone – now and for the years to come