Advocate for Hearing Health
Did you know that this week is National Health Center Week? According to the White House Office of the Press Secretary, President Obama issued a presidential proclamation
recognizing August 7-13, 2011, as National Health Center Week. In it, he encourages "all Americans to celebrate this week by visiting their local community health center, meeting local health center providers, and exploring the programs they offer to help keep their families healthy."
This is good advice for hearing healthcare professionals, too. Volunteering at a local health center not only could provide wonderful community service to fill a great need, it also could help get the word out about hearing conservation and health to a huge audience at the grassroots level.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) describes community health centers as a network that "has created one of the largest safety net systems of primary and preventive care in the country with a true national impact" and offers the following statistics showing the growing importance of community health centers in the United States and its territories:
- There are more than 1,100 community health centers operating more than 8,100 service delivery sites;
- Community health centers supported by HRSA treated approximately 19.5 million people in 2010;
- Health centers serve all ages: 32 percent are children up to age 17, 61 percent are adults between the ages of 18-64 and 7 percent are over age 65;
- One out of every 16 people living in the U.S. now relies on a HRSA-funded clinic for primary care;
- Community health centers employ physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives in a multi-disciplinary clinical workforce designed to treat the whole patient through culturally-competent, accessible, and integrated care.
In his proclamation, President Obama reinforced the concept of multi-disciplinary healthcare, pointing to the Health Centers Advanced Primary Care Practice demonstration project, which will "use community health centers to test the impact of team-based treatment approaches on the care of elderly patients."
If you are looking for a community service project, check out HRSA's health center search function
to see if there is a community health center near your practice. You may not have to look any further than your own community to do a great deal of good, help a lot of people, act as an advocate for hearing health, and create valuable referral friendships among co-volunteers