One of the things I love most about my job is that it involves advocacy. Advocacy at the state and national level on behalf of community health centers and the nearly 6 million patients they serve each year. Advocacy and supporting the mission of community health centers is what the California Primary Care Association (CPCA) was built on and continues to play a strong role in our day to day work. Over the past 20 years we have accomplished a tremendous amount, in large part because we have come together and been united as a single voice in Sacramento and in Washington, DC. IMG_6968

That voice is most pronounced during our annual lobby day at the State Capitol, where for more than two decades California’s community clinics and health centers have descended the halls to speak with their legislative leaders about issues important to them and their communities. Health center staff and patients are able to share their stories and advocate for and against important legislation and budget issues. Over the years CPCA has sponsored many pieces of legislation which assisted California health centers in their growth, expansion, and financial viability.

This week, once again, more than 300 health center staff, providers, and patients will take part in our annual Day at the Capital activities, but with a new and exciting feature. California health centers will be advocating under CPCA’s new affiliate organization, CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates. They will be moving forward a substantial legislative agenda aimed at advancing community health centers in California and addressing their workforce needs under this new entity.

CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates is an independent 501(c)(4) social welfare organization that was recently created by the California Primary Care Association to support our statewide advocacy efforts. The CPCA Board voted to create CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates in January of 2016 and the organization was incorporated later that month. This new entity will have more flexibility and the capability to advocate in new and exciting ways. It also affords community health centers an additional opportunity to unify and to create a distinct voice in the Capital.

CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates is committed to promoting healthy people and healthy communities by strengthening California’s system of more than 1,000 community health centers. United in single voice, CaliforniaHealth+ Advocates will advance the core values of community health centers to the benefit of their patients and communities.

I continue to love what I do because advocacy continues to be at the heart of why CPCA exists. I am excited to be a part of this new and exciting time within the organization, when we are making bold decisions and daring steps forward into the future.