Believe it or not, community healthcare is a relatively new concept. It was not until about 50 years ago that community health and civil rights activists got together to reform health care. Many were in need of health care, but due to poverty or location, were unable to receive it. Several people were determined to make a change.
While visiting a small community in South Africa in the 1960’s, a young doctor and activist, Jack Geiger observed a community based health care system. He was amazed as even the poorest in that community received excellent care. Dr. Geiger and other healthcare professionals created a proposal which was submitted to the Federal Office of Economic Opportunity. With approval, funding was given to open some of the first community-based health centers in Boston and Mississippi. Local and federal funds were combined to establish clinics in communities throughout the country. The idea was that you do not just care for individual patients, but entire populations. Community has just as much of an effect on health as illness does. The implementation of this type of health system made health care more accessible and affordable than ever before!
Over the years, this system has continued to develop into the community health care we know today. We still know the importance of community care and strive to meet the needs of an ever-changing world. This week, we celebrate the creation of Community Health Centers nationwide. For more information visit the National Association of Community Health Center’s Website.