Emergency Broadband Benefit
Multi-million dollar grant awarded to state health department for cancer screenings
A Statement on Racial Inequities from Aaron Todd, CEO and Ron Kemp, Board Chair of the Iowa Primary Care Association
The Iowa Primary Care Association (Iowa PCA) adopted a new vision statement in early 2020: Health equity for all. The concept is bold. Four short words that mean a lot more than perhaps is understood at first glance.
Health equity means every person has the opportunity to achieve their highest level of health. Of course, this means access to timely, necessary health services at an affordable price. But it means a lot more than that. It also means access to safe, affordable, and dignified housing. It means access to employment and entrepreneurial activities that support a good life and a family, if desired. It means access to affordable, healthy food and opportunities for rest and relaxation. It also means freedom from injustice, prejudice, and discrimination. These are essential ingredients for health.
We purposefully applied our vision statement to “all.” Not just Iowans. Not just the patients served at community health centers. All persons.
In the short time since we adopted our vision statement, two events of national prominence have vividly illustrated inequities in our society. The first is the COVID-19 public health pandemic. Data from across the country demonstrates that persons of color are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic either through infection or economic loss due to their place of work, living situation, socio-economic status, and other reasons. Our data right here in Iowa anecdotally tells the same story.
And now, the horrific murder of George Floyd. One of the most recent casualties of a centuries-long struggle of Black persons to simply be treated as human, with all the dignities, protections, and rights that are afforded to–and frankly taken for granted by–white people. These privileges extend beyond treatment by the police. White neighborhoods, schools, employers, governments, and healthcare providers all share an institutional blame for current disparities between white and Black life expectancy, infant mortality, home ownership, unemployment, and so on. Allies abound in every organization, but the indignity of these institutions is a feature, not a bug. And Black people have always been at the receiving end.
Community health centers are local providers that respond to local problems with local solutions. They grew out of the Civil Rights Movement as a commitment to treat the most marginalized of us with compassion and excellence in care. As we mourn together, we must look squarely at the conditions that have made this violence possible and that exacerbate inequities and stand together as we urgently work to change them for the better.
Our new vision statement brings our work into clearer focus. We call on our elected leaders to take meaningful action; your words are appreciated, and your actions required. The Iowa PCA and Iowa’s community health centers stand ready to work with elected officials and community partners to listen to the needs of our communities, and to find and implement solutions. The work will be hard and may be uncomfortable, yet it is essential. And to any person who may not feel like they have a dignified, safe, and affordable medical home, you have a standing invitation at Iowa’s community health centers.
Community Health Centers of Southeastern Iowa (CHC/SEIA) Mask Update
Community Health Centers of Southeastern Iowa. (CHC/SEIA) places patient safety as a top priority. For this reason, we are continuing to require masks of all individuals entering our facility for care. We are aware that national guidance states that fully vaccinated persons do not need face coverings, and that the city and county are no longer able to enforce mask requirements. However, individual businesses may choose to continue their own mandates, based on individual needs and populations served.
At present, strong recommendations from state and national medical and dental organizations continue to recommend the use of masks in healthcare settings. We are following this guidance, with the perspective that it ensures the highest possible level of safety for those vulnerable individuals that seek care with our organization. We also do not want anyone to be pressured to disclose their personal choice to be vaccinated or not, so if everyone is masked, then no one needs to be confronted for those choices. We want to be done with masks, too, but not at the cost of patient safety. We will continually reevaluate the situation, and appreciate everyone’s patience at this time.
Mental Health Awareness Month:
- CHCSEIA teams wears grean to show support for Mental Health Awareness Month. We support #MakeItOK and ending the stigma of mental illness in our community. Learn more at Make It OK – Stop mental illness stigma
NACHC Veterans Interest Group, Gina Capra, Vice President, Training and Technical Assistance has delivered a heart-felt thank you to all you are doing on the frontlines in caring for local communities, families and neighbors.Thank you Community Health Centers!
Burlington’s Winter Parade:
We had a float in Burlington’s Winter Parade this year. Thanks again to our employee’s and friends who volunteered to help make this happen!
New Dental Site:
Community Health Centers of Southeast Iowa is expanding! New dental site has opened in Keokuk Iowa. This brings more dental support for the community with an additional dentist and hygienists. Schedule an appointment by calling: (319) 524-5734 or stop in at: 1618 Main Street Keokuk, IA 52632.