Dear Advocate,

Yesterday saw the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which included the largest single infusion of funding for the National Health Service Corps in history. The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved was proud to lead a coalition of stakeholders in advocating for emergency NHSC funding, and we are grateful for your advocacy to make this possible.

As we celebrate this achievement, we also are renewing our commitment to the ongoing work necessary to expand access to care, build vaccine equity and confidence, and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in underserved communities across the United States. This week we're highlighting our eye health and vision care start-up grants for health centers, COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence webinar, Building an Inclusive Organization Toolkit, and latest podcast and blog post on how health centers can confront the impact of the pandemic.
Historic Funding Increase for the NHSC: $800 Million Included in Stimulus Package
ACU is incredibly pleased to share that the now-passed American Rescue Plan includes $800 million in new funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). We were proud to lead a coalition of stakeholders in advocating for emergency NHSC funding in the legislation to help address the strains endured by the healthcare workforce and their communities throughout the pandemic. While work remains to be done, this achievement is a tribute to your incredible work, dedication, and advocacy: thank you.
Learn About the Crisis of Pharmacy Deserts in the Pandemic in an ABC News Video with Dr. Adrian Billings
ABC's Nightline recently highlighted the extreme barriers to access to care and COVID-19 vaccinations faced by patients in underserved communities living in "pharmacy deserts." Especially in communities of color and remote areas like Presidio, where ACU Board Member Dr. Adrian Billings serves as Chief Medical Officer at Preventative Care Health Services (PCHS), access to care and pharmacy services is exceptionally limited. View coverage of this issue and the excellent work of Dr. Billings and PCHS.
Vision Grant Applications Are Due Tomorrow!
The deadline to apply for our $5,000-$10,000 grants to help federally qualified health centers create new eye health and vision care programs is nearly here! ACU has partnered with the Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare and the American Optometric Association Foundation to provide these grants to help fund equipment and services to establish vision care programs at FQHCs. Apply by Mar. 12 or contact us to learn more.
Learn About COVID-19 Vaccine Development & Confidence in Our Webinar at 1 p.m. ET on Mar. 23
Join us for a discussion of vaccine development during the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency use authorizations, and how our community can build vaccine confidence. Presented in partnership with Pfizer, this webinar will feature Dr. Teresa Foo, Vaccines Medical Director at Pfizer Vaccines US Medical Affairs.
New Publication: Building an Inclusive Organization Toolkit
Our STAR² Center's latest resource features information and tools to support health centers in their journeys to achieving more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforces. Developed in partnership with the National Health Care for the Homeless Council and Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, the Building an Inclusive Organization Toolkit addresses common questions on workplace assessment, strategies, and accountability.
New Webinar Series Begins March 31: Mitigating Burnout & Maintaining Provider Satisfaction During Vaccination Rollouts
Join our STAR² Center in exploring strategies to mitigate burnout, engage staff, and improve provider satisfaction during mass vaccinations in our new webinar series. The COVID-19 pandemic forced health centers to rapidly adapt while coping with staffing changes, lack of PPE, and fear of infectiondramatically affecting provider burnout and satisfaction. Beginning March 31, this series will examine lessons learned and real strategies to help health centers minimize burnout and maintain provider satisfaction in the months to come.
Read Our New Blog Post: "Building a Public Health Forum for COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence in Your Clinic"
ACU is launching our new blog, Allying for Equity, with an interview on how health centers and other organizations can build informal public health forums for vaccine confidence. Featuring Dr. Kim Bullock, Medical Director at D.C.'s Providence Urgent Care Center, the article offers tips on how your organization can foster patient-to-patient conversations to overcome vaccine hesitancy. Want to share your own perspective with us in a future article? Contact us!
Learn What a Positive COVID Test Meant for One FQHC Employee in our Podcast
Our latest STAR² Center Talks Workforce Success podcast spotlights the personal impact of contracting COVID-19 in an interview with Jessica Cannon Wilson, Substance Abuse Program Director at Canyonlands Healthcare in Arizona. Part of our second season examining COVID's impact on FQHC workforces, this episode touches on stigma, best practices for staff, and self-care. Listen to the conversation or past episodes in our series.
Welcoming Our Newest Member: Raphael Health Center
We're proud to welcome the newest member of our ACU community. Incorporated in 1994, Raphael Health Center is a federally qualified health center working to provide community-based, compassionate, and quality health care to patients throughout their community in Indianapolis, IN. In addition to Raphael, ACU is excited to welcome the Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers, and New Mexico Primary Care Association. Are you or your organization committed to achieving health equity for the underserved? Learn about ACU membershipcontact us, or join us today.
Join HRSA's Bureau of Health Workforce for a Clinical Leaders Forum Webinar on Vaccine Trust
In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HRSA’s Bureau of Health Workforce invites clinicians, grantees, students and the public at large to the Clinical Leaders Forum webinar: Building COVID-19 Vaccine Trust for Community Health Center Patients. Join the event on April 7 at 1-2 p.m. ET.
What We're Reading: Vaccine Equity & Confidence in Focus
Vaccine equity and confidence have come into focus in recent resources and news. Learn about health centers' vital role in overcoming the inequities hindering America's vaccine rollout in these articles:
Whether you are working to improve health equity by building vaccine confidence, expanding access to care, or advocating for meaningful change, ACU is here to support you in our shared mission. Please contact our Executive Director Amanda Pears Kelly with any feedback to guide our efforts. Thank you for everything you do.
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