Policy & Advocacy
Harbor on the Hill
Advocacy and grassroots community organizing over 45 years ago lead to the start of the community health center movement in Dorchester’s Colombia Point Peninsula resulting in establishing the first community health center in the country, what is now called the Geiger Gibson Community Health Center. Today, there are 1,250 Community Health Centers that provide vital primary care to 20 million Americans. Community health centers provide primary, preventive and dental care, as well as mental health, substance abuse and other community-based services to anyone in need regardless of their ability to pay. In addition to providing comprehensive health services to the under served, health centers are at the leading edge of eliminating health disparities across racial and ethnic groups.
The community health center movement has been successful because of communities coming together, making their voices heard and advocating for the services they need.
The Harbor on the Hill Agenda
To ensure access to quality health care and improve the quality of life in our communities, we continually analyze state and federal policies effecting health centers, the services that we provide and our culturally diverse population. We then work on both Capitol Hill and Beacon Hill to advocate for the following:
- Equitable delivery of health, mental health and dental services for all people regardless of financial status, race, ethnicity, disability, religion, age, gender, or sexual orientation.
- Patient centered preventative care that promotes wellness, and maintains optimal health.
- Programs of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly such as our Elder Service Plan, which provides frail elders with the autonomy and support to age in place in the community.
- Workforce development in community health centers to recruit and maintain an adequate supply of qualified health professionals needed to carry out our mission.
- Integration of behavioral health and mental health services with primary care.
- Confidential, prevention, testing, and service delivery for people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS or at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
- Efforts to eliminate racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in health service access, utilization, delivery, and outcomes.
- Payment reform to help slow the rising cost of health care delivery in Massachusetts.
The Harbor on the Hill Strategy
Grassroots advocacy and civic engagement are the foundation of our strategy and include direct and consistent contact with elected and appointed officials at the city, state, and federal level. We strive to educate policy-makers about the issues that affect our community health centers and the services they provide, and our PACE program.
We also work closely with allied organizations such as the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, the National Association of Community Health Centers and the National PACE Association.
Become a Community Health Advocate
As you consider how advocacy has helped Harbor Health, your health center and your community, think about how much more still needs to be done.
You can act now to shape the future of health care in America.
You can start by going to the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) Grassroots Advocacy Center and signing up to be a health center advocate. You will receive important updates from NACHC about federal issues impacting community health centers across the country including yours.
Communicating with policy makers is only one part of advocacy. Educating your community, highlighting health centers in the media and registering people to vote are all essential elements of effective advocacy. Harbor Health is committed to providing community health advocates with the tools they need to make their voice heard. If you would like to stay directly connected to Harbor’s advocacy efforts, fill out the form below.
Harbor Health’s ability to initiate positive change within the communities we service depends on your voice. One way to make your voice heard is through registering to vote and being active in civic engagement.