CHCAA-LogoThe Community Health Center Alumni Association, an organization that marks the 50th anniversary of community health centers, has officially been launched.

The Community Health Center Alumni Association (CHCAA) is a nonprofit organization open to anyone who has had a relationship with community health centers – providers, staff, patients, donors, vendors and key supporters. The CHCAA is leading an effort to celebrate the contribution that community health centers have made to the nation’s health-care system, connect and re-connect alumni, inform and educate the public and mobilize supporters to ensure the centers’ future.

Eligible members are encouraged to visit the organization’s website (www.chcalumni.org), where you can find out more about the organization and can join. The goal is to have a 1,000,000 people to sign up as members – and there is no cost for membership. The benefits of being a member include:

• Be informed about alumni-related events around the country,
• Connect/reconnect with other alumni through the website and social media that are being developed,
• Share your experiences and be inspired by others’ stories and experiences,
• Be a part of a community that is working to strengthen community health centers and help ensure their future.

The website also has a wealth of information about community health centers. A key component of the nation’s health-care system, the centers officially began in 1965. They have succeeded more than organizers dared dream; from two locations back then, they have grown to more than 9,000 locations serving 23 million patients annually in all 50 states.

The CHCAA officially launched its website on March 19, 2015. Brian Toomey, CEO of Piedmont Health, is chairman of the CHCAA’s Board of Directors, and Ben Money, Executive Director of the NC Community Health Center Association, is treasurer. The board’s other members are from Mississippi, Massachusetts, Texas and the District of Columbia.

The website is for the national organization will have links to all 50 state miniwebsites. The state miniwebsite section will contain information specific to each state, its history and future.

Toomey, who was instrumental in bringing about the Community Health Center Alumni Association along with the Raleigh-based N.C. Community Health Center Association, said the group’s efforts will continue throughout 2015 and beyond.

“We saw that the 50th anniversary of community health centers offered an excellent opportunity to point out to the public the benefits of community health centers,” Toomey said, explaining his motivation for pushing for the initiative. “These centers lower overall health-care costs, improve the health of their patients and generate economic opportunities in the communities they serve by providing jobs and training.”

Please sign up for the membership today and ask all of your friends and family members who were part of community health centers to join in the organization and its celebrations.

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