By MARGARET BRENNAN
To provide the best care for a community and its residents, you cannot do things alone, or by yourself. You need to establish and grow trusted relationships with your peers and partners to maximize the positive impact you can have on a population.
Community Health Centers, Inc. has been blessed with several outstanding partnerships since our founding in 1972. These relationships include academic partners such as Florida State University, Valencia College, University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, as well as close partnerships and alignment with health systems such as AdventHealth and Orlando Health, among others.
These valuable relationships contribute to our success as a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in many ways. From financial support to expand necessary services and facilities, to providing a training pipeline for the next generation of medical or dental providers, pharmacists, nurses, medical staff and dental assistants, we are grateful to those that share in our mission.
By having a strong community focus, a non-profit organization such as ours is able to develop a strong community reputation. By building trust with our patients, we are able to truly become partners in not only their care, but also their life. We seek to care for the whole person, and this includes assisting with nutrition and emotional health as well as physical wellness.
For example, we have developed innovative partnerships with local foodbanks to develop prescription health programs, that have a significant impact on managing conditions such as diabetes for our patients. We also work very closely with our local WIC and Healthy Start programs, as well as the Farmworker Association of Florida, to provide care to those that might not otherwise have access to quality options.
Our community partnerships also benefit us in staffing our facilities and health centers. As a region that is currently facing shortages in the workforce, it is important to develop programs that will help attract students to the medical field and help bridge the gaps that currently exist in filling our entry-level positions.
We are proud to serve culturally diverse communities and our workforce reflects that. There have been numerous instances where our patients eventually move on to become our employees. It is an amazing feeling to see a patient who trusts you with their care, want to give back and serve other patients in a similar way.
Our centers are staffed with friends and neighbors caring for other friends and neighbors. This is ultimately what partnerships are about and demonstrates the positive impact and influence a Federally Qualified Health Center can have within a neighborhood.
I invite you to learn more about our many partnerships, and the value that they bring to our patients and our community. For more information, or to view available career opportunities, please visit www.chcfl.org/about/chc/
Margaret Brennan is President/CEO of Community Health Centers, Inc.