August 24, 2017 by Tammy Howell
North Country HealthCare celebrated National Health Center Week last week.
During our celebration event, presenters highlighted North Country’s health education impact in northern Arizona.
We look forward to continuing to serve our communities and raise up more doctors in rural Arizona.
On Wednesday August 16th, North Country HealthCare hosted a breakfast and presentation in celebration of National Health Center Week. Presenters from North Country discussed the topic of “Health Policy Challenges & North Country HealthCare’s Health Education Impact in Northern Arizona.” Several state and local leaders attended to join the conversation.
A highlight of the presentation was a discussion about North Country HealthCare’s Family Medicine Residency Program, which is currently being developed. Sean Clendaniel, director of the Northern Arizona Area Health Education Center (NAHEC), discussed the shortage of primary care physicians in Arizona. By 2035, there is expected to be a shortage of over 33,000 primary care physicians in the state, and that need is especially great in rural communities, like many of those in northern Arizona.
Once established, North Country’s residency program aims to address this doctor shortage by training residency students in the communities with the greatest need for primary care. Research shows that residents who train in federally qualified health centers like North Country are twice as likely to practice in medically underserved areas – and to feel more prepared to do so.
The event was attended by Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen, Flagstaff Vice-Mayor Jamie Whelan, representatives from the offices of Senator Jeff Flake and Congressman Tom O’Halleran, as well as other local business leaders.
In 1996 North Country HealthCare obtained its status as a federally qualified health center (FQHC). Since then, it has become the medical home for nearly 50,000 patients and provides 500 jobs throughout northern Arizona.
Over 1,500 events like this one were hosted around the country as part of National Health Center Week (NHCW). The national campaign runs August 13th – 19th with the goal of raising awareness about the mission and accomplishments of America’s health centers over the course of more than five decades.
One of the bright spots in America’s health care system, community health centers serve more than 25 million Americans, a number that continues to grow along with the demand for affordable primary care. Community health centers have compiled a significant record of success that includes:
Health centers not only prevent illness and foster wellness in the most challenging populations, they produce innovative solutions to the most pressing healthcare issues in their communities. They reach beyond the walls of conventional medicine to address the factors that may cause sickness, such as lack of nutrition, mental illness and homelessness. Because of their long record of success in innovation, managing healthcare costs, and reducing chronic disease, health centers have a proud tradition of bipartisan support in Congress.
There are NHCW events scheduled across the country, including health fairs, visits by members of Congress and state officials to local health centers, press conferences, back-to-school drives, community breakfasts, patient appreciation events, free health screenings and dental cleanings, and much more.
To learn more about NHCW, visit healthcenterweek.org.
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