At a time when the nation is coping with an acute shortage of primary care providers, community health centers provide a unique opportunity for comprehensive primary care. During the week of Aug. 8-14, we celebrate the important role that health centers like our Popoff Family Health Center, Anne Mare’ Ice Pediatric health Center, and Hope Family Health Center, federally qualified health centers, and other health centers that fill gaps in the safety net.
I had the opportunity to talk with Joslyn Pettway, one of the newest leaders among community health centers. Joslyn started her career at Authority Health as an administrative fellow and later as director of Primary Care Initiatives. She has achieved a career milestone of becoming CEO of Covenant Community Care, which is based in Detroit but serves patients in the metro area.
Community health centers provide prevention and primary care services for nearly 30 million people in the United States and continued to do so throughout the pandemic. While much attention has been appropriately given to health care workers in the hospital setting, community health center workers have played an important role in providing testing, and now vaccines for a community that has incurred extreme disparities in COVID infections. We did this while maintaining our primary contact with patients through telemedicine, a technique that has increased access to our physicians for many with mobility challenges.
Community health centers meet our community midstream with a range of medical, mental health, substance use disorder, and dental services for underserved communities.
While community health centers are helping ease the shortage of primary care services, there still is a primary care physician shortage. Authority Health, together with the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and our health center partners, established a teaching health center in Detroit to train the next generation of primary care physicians, knowledgeable in population health, trauma-informed care, and antiracism. We’re pleased that Covenant Community Care is one of our training partners.
For more about the role of Covenant in the community and Community Health Center Week, watch my interview with Joslyn Pettway below.
Loretta V. Bush, MSHA