Message from Our CEO

AACHC Statement about the death of George Floyd

John C. McDonald

Chief Executive Officer
Today we reflect on the events of the past week following the tragic death of George Floyd.  Americans and the world are reminded of the reality of systemic inequity and injustice. We mourn the needless death of Mr. Floyd and find hope in the peaceful protests of thousands of Americans who are calling for an end to racial injustice. The history of the Community Health Center movement is rooted in the principle of treating ALL people with respect and integrity. The founders of the health center movement saw health disparities amongst poor, marginalized Americans, and committed themselves to righting the health inequities by providing access to quality primary healthcare. Two years ago, AACHC staff formed an Equity and Inclusion Committee to provide a safe space to discuss issues of racial diversity and justice. We would like to share their thoughts as well:

We in the health space have a responsibility to promote and protect the health of people. We recognize that our community health is now more than ever impacted by systemic inequalities, and people are dying. Racism is an imminent factor in health equity and a social determining factor impacting health of any community.  Structural racism causes harm to the mental, spiritual and physical well-being in adults and children now and in future generations.  In addition we know that historic trauma and sustained exposure to racism has impacted many populations and is a contributing factor to the health and wellness of people of color.  COVID-19 has exacerbated the racial and economic disparities in our communities, which most likely will have long term repercussions on the physical and mental health of many populations. Historically Community Health Centers have stood up to support all community members so that they have equal access to health and wellness, no matter where they live, with or without insurance or how much they make.  For this reason, we stand up to condemn the injustices that have happened recently (George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others) as well as the historic institutionalized forms of racism that exist in our society.  Oppression in all its forms is intolerable. As a state and national organization, we also have the responsibility to start with looking inward, asking ourselves the hard questions, and making real change.

We must elevate the conversation to improve patient care and inform policy makers to make bigger changes.

The following resources are recommendations to use in helping with those hard conversations and actions to achieve racial justice in the healthcare setting:

In solidarity, The Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers

Chief Executive Officer

Arizona’s Community Health Centers (CHCs) serve as medical homes assuring access to primary care services for Arizonans throughout diverse communities in the state of Arizona. Through high-quality primary care and complementary healthcare services such as dental, ophthalmology, behavioral health, social services, immunizations, and other invaluable initiatives, Community Health Centers work to improve the health of individuals and communities in Arizona. Community Health Centers provide patient-centered, comprehensive, coordinated, and ongoing care to assure the health care needs of patients are met. In providing care coordination, CHCs can provide a continuum of care, assuring that patient primary health care needs are met in the most efficient and effective manner, thus reducing patient reliance on more expensive care options such as emergency rooms and hospitalization. CHCs help to keep individuals healthier, therefore, they are better able to work, and enjoy life. CHCs also are local healthcare businesses that serve as economic engines in their communities by employing local residents, purchasing local goods, and engaging in capital development that contributes to local economies. This website is intended to be a resource for AACHC members; local, state, regional, and federal agencies; policy and advocacy organizations and foundations supporting access to healthcare; and Arizona residents seeking healthcare and other social support services in their communities. I invite you to take the time to learn about the exciting work of AACHC and its member Community Health Centers to improve the health of individuals and communities and ensure access to high-quality primary healthcare.