New York State Department of Health Recognizes National Health Center Week

Department Celebrates the Many Contributions of Community Health Centers

ALBANY, N.Y. (August 9, 2023) - The New York State Department of Health recognizes National Health Center Week, observed August 6-12, by celebrating the commitment and dedication of Community Health Center staff, advocates, and supporters who make it possible to provide quality health care services to underserved communities. This year's theme is "The Roadmap to a Stronger America."

"Community Health Centers represent strength and hope in the public and health care sectors," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said."They play a critical role in improving access to high-quality primary and preventive care to the state's more vulnerable groups regardless of insurance coverage, ability to pay, or immigration status. They provide comprehensive and affordable health care services with compassion and without bias. Community Health Centers deserve recognition every day."

More than 70 Community Health Centers in New York State provide community-based care for almost 1-in-9 New Yorkers, helping to improve the overall health of New Yorkers across the state.

The Department works closely with the Community Health Care Association of New York State to help address issues of importance to Community Health Centers and the patients they serve, including improving the quality of care and outcomes for patients who receive services in Federally Qualified Health Centers.

The Family Planning Program provides funding to over 160 clinical sites for accessible, confidential reproductive health care services to people of reproductive age, especially low-income individuals, and those without health insurance. This program provides high-quality client-centered services, including contraceptive services (birth control), reproductive life planning and counseling, preconception health services, pregnancy testing, non-directive options counseling, testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and routine screening for breast and cervical cancer.

The Department operates School Based Health Centers in communities to improve access to primary care for underserved children and youth. School Based Health Centers provide comprehensive primary care services to schools where children and youth are during the day and address critical health problems that make learning difficult for students.

The program was established to improve primary and preventive health care for children in low-income, high-risk communities. Since 1981, state, federal, and private foundation funds have been used to develop and implement projects to provide these expanded school health services for preschool and school-age children through health teams composed of nurse practitioners, physician assistants, community health aides, collaborating physicians, social workers, psychologists, collaborating psychiatrists, health educators, nutritionists, dentists, and dental hygienists.

In the 2020-21 school year, more than 156,000 students were enrolled in a School Based Health Center and received over 250,000 medical or dental visits. The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound effect on School Based Health Centers when schools closed however clinical staff worked to prevent a disruption in the availability of these services during the health emergency, using telehealth and other means to continue to assist students. Since the end of the pandemic, School Based Health Centers are working hard to increase access and enrollment and support students in these health centers.

Information about the Department of Health's School Based Health Centers can be found here.

Information about The New York State Family Planning Program can be found here.