Clinician & Community Newsletter
August 12, 2020
Dear Advocate,

As COVID-19 continues to ravage the United States, National Health Service Corps funding hangs in the balance. This moment offers us a unique opportunity to advocate for quality care for people in underserved communitiesand to improve the care we deliver. This week, we're highlighting how you can take action to support the NHSC, what you'll learn from our Virtual Conference's opening keynote speech on health equity, and highlighting new civic engagement and workforce resources to improve your practice.
Policy Update: NOW Is the Time to Support Funding for the National Health Service Corps!

Right now, the U.S. House and Senate are negotiating a fourth stimulus relief package in response to ongoing challenges with COVID-19, including whether or not to include funding for critical programs like the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). While initial House Democrat and Senate Republican proposed relief packages did not included NHSC funding, current negotiations provide an opportunity to insert funding into the upcoming relief package. As advocates know, the NHSC has a long history of bipartisan support, and in the midst of negotiations countless House and Senate members have signaled their support and appreciation of the NHSC.

To this end, Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Rubio (R-FL) came together to lead a key piece of legislation that includes $5 billion in increased funding for the NHSC immediately. The Strengthening America's Healthcare Readiness Act, S. 4055, offers an ideal model for critical NHSC funding in the present environment and a plan for how these funds can be deployed during the current crisis. As negotiations persist, advocates have an opportunity to make the case for NHSC funding as part of the upcoming stimulus package. NOW is the time to contact Congressional members to ask that S. 4055 be included in this COVID-19 stimulus package. Congress needs to hear from as many NHSC advocates as possible about the urgent need for NHSC funding and the importance of expanding the critically needed healthcare workforce to care for the underserved. Contact your Members of Congress today and urge them to include funding for the NHSC as part of the stimulus package. Visit ACU's action center to take action now.
Dr. Gary Puckrein, NMQF President and CEO, to Address "Transforming Healthcare in the Age of Pandemics: Can Health Equity Be Achieved?" in the Opening Keynote of the ACU Virtual Conference

The ACU is excited to announce the opening keynote speaker of our upcoming Virtual Conference: Dr. Gary A. Puckrein, President and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF). A celebrated health equity leader, he led the NMQF in launching the National Health Index in 1998, creating a centralized database linking vital statistics, demographics, and other data to create a portrait of health statusesand disparitiesacross communities nationwide. Puckrein will lend his unique perspective to a keynote address on how clinicians, administrators, and advocates can work for health equity even in the midst of crises like COVID-19. Register now for this exciting presentation headlining our CME-accredited conference featuring 20 workshops, general sessions, and keynotes on emerging issues and innovative practices in health care for underserved populations from Sept. 14-18.
Learn About the Role of Providers in Promoting Voting and Census Participation Among the Underserved in our Next Policy & Practice Series Webinar at 12 p.m. ET on August 27

Join us for the next entry in our Policy & Practice webinar series as Civic Health Month continues! The medically underserved are among the least likely to vote or respond to the Census. With both the national election and decennial census taking place this year, clinicians have a unique opportunity to promoting civic participation by their patients, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies show that a prime motivator for nonvoters is education and encouragement by trusted contacts and among the most trusted are health care providers. Sign up now to learn ways that clinicians and their organizations can be catalysts for a dramatic increase in voter participation through legal, permissible, nonpartisan civic engagement activities: voter education, get-out-the-vote (GOTV), and census participation.
Archived Webinar Now Available: Using the Healthy Democracy Kit to Empower Your Patients, Colleagues, and Staff

Did you miss the ACU's recent Civic Health Month webinar with VotER? You can now view the archived discussion and slides on our website.
Latest from the STAR² Center: Upcoming Webinar and New Wokforce Leaders Podcast!

Upcoming Webinar: Addressing Stigma, Health Disparities, and COVID-19’s Role in Affecting Workforce Retention: August 26 at 2-3 p.m. ET: we invite health center staff to participate in this STAR2 Center webinar focused on the intersection of health disparities, COVID-19, and stigma. Stigma plays a pivotal role in the health disparities and inequities faced by the patients and communities that health centers serve. In fact, stigma is not just proximal to negative health outcomes, but one of its root causes. Adding to this is COVID-19’s role in amplifying the problem. Proper support, training, and resources are necessary tools to help the health center workforce navigate this complex landscape, support retention, and avoid disengagement.
STAR2 Center Chats with Workforce Leaders Podcast: In today’s rapidly changing workplace environment, health centers need to be at the forefront of developing solutions that meet the ever-evolving needs of their workforce. The STAR2 Center is excited to announce a new podcast series to bring you engaging and informative chats with health center leaders and experts. The first three episodes of the new podcast, STAR² Center Chats with Workforce Leaders, are now available on our website and through major podcatchers.
What We're Reading: Articles on the Intersection of Access to Care, Race, and Civic Engagement in the Underserved

Now as ever, we are dedicated to supporting your work to improve health equity and reduce barriers to care in underserved communities. The success of our work depends on your feedback: please email our Executive Director Amanda Pears Kelly with any suggestions or concerns to inform our ongoing work. Thank you again for all that you do to support patients and providers on the frontlines of COVID-19.

Thank you,
The ACU Team