Health Centers Have a Secret Weapon for Addressing Minority Health: Consumer Boards

National Minority Health Month 2017  is behind us but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out one particularly unique way Community Health Centers address minority health — through consumer-driven boards.

By law, health center boards must be comprised of at least 51% consumers.  These are people who live in the community served by the health center, are patients, and represent the individuals who are served by the health center in terms of demographics such as race, ethnicity, and gender.

Board members keep health centers accountable to the patients they serve, and are uniquely positioned to address community needs. More than half – 62% — of Community Health Center patients identify as a racial/ethnic minority, so it makes sense that health centers and their boards do an excellent job addressing issues impacting these populations.

Why does this model work? Because it ensures that resources are efficiently directed to population health needs.  There is no one-size fits all approach in community health, and that’s why every health center looks different, depending on where one visits.  A case in point is the trailblazing efforts of the Northeast Valley Health Corporation’s new program.  The health center deploys Ambulatory Care Pharmacists to work directly with patients with acute hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol (minorities are more likely than whites to have most of the major chronic diseases).   The program is so successful the local news featured an article about it.

Do you have a story about your health center’s consumer board? Tell us and we’ll write about it on this blog.

 

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