6 Community Health Centers Providing Care For All

Healthcare plays a large part in ensuring that people have a high quality of life, however, due to a variety of reasons, not all Americans have access to it. Luckily, there are several organizations throughout the country that are dedicated to helping those in need. Listed in no particular order, here are some groups in the United States that offer medical services regardless of financial, geographic, or social barriers.

Beginning the list at #1, Heartland Community Health Center serves Lawrence, Kansas and the surrounding areas. This facility offers patients primary, dental, mental and behavioral health care. The group takes a holistic, integrated approach to medicine that takes physical, emotional, and social factors into account.

Heartland provides affordable services to all community members, regardless of income or insurance status. A sliding fee scale for low-income patients is available, making high-quality care accessible to the entire region. The medical clinic is similar to a family practice doctor's office, but with the addition of a dental clinic and other wellness specialists. This organization's goal is to show love and compassion to all of its patients, and to help build a healthier community.

At #2 on the list, we have White Bird Clinic. This grassroots initiative started in the summer of 1969 as a crisis hotline and medical care center in Eugene, Oregon. Since then, it has grown to become a collective community environment aiming to help enable people to gain control of the social, emotional, and physical factors that may affect one's well-being. White Bird's core values are compassion, community focus, individual empowerment, and service accessibility.

This organization follows a client-centered model and believes that every person deserves respect. The group provides deescalation and intervention training so that members of the community can maintain personal safety and recognize when someone might need help. White Bird's CAHOOTS program is an innovative model for mobile crisis intervention that would otherwise be handled by public safety or emergency medical response personnel.

Up next, at #3, Lynn Community Health Center is a non-profit, multicultural healthcare provider that is located in Lynn, Massachusetts. This organization strives to be a leader in developing new initiatives that result in high-impact, low-cost health care. People from all walks of life come through its doors, but its target populations are those who experience the greatest barriers to care. Over 90% of the center's patients are reportedly at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, and over 50% require service in a language other than English.

At the LCHC, board-certified physicians lead a group of professionals that address most ambulatory needs or chronic conditions. The team is made up of mental health therapists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, optometrists, and pharmacists. Care is coordinated among these providers, with special attention paid to medical and behavioral health clinicians, who practice together in the same location. Patients, and when appropriate, their families, are considered a central part of the care team and actively participate in decision making.

Moving on to #4, Goodwin Community Health, located in New Hampshire's Strafford County area, provides access to primary, dental, prenatal, and behavioral wellness services. It was founded in 1969 by Avis Goodwin, who set out to solve the problem of women having no access to prenatal care in the area. The professionals at this organization believe that everyone should be empowered to maximize the services that are offered to them, which is why the group's array of programs are designed to be integrative, convenient, affordable, and easily accessible.

Women are invited to take part in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which serves uninsured people ages 21 and over who reside in New Hampshire or York County, Maine. Eligible clients will receive access to free breast exams, pap smears, mammograms, ultrasounds, and other preventative measures. Similarly, mobile services are available to those who may be living outdoors or without shelter.

Up next, #5 on the list is La Clinica del Pueblo. It was founded in 1983 in response to the emergent needs of the growing refugee and immigrant communities in the District of Columbia. For many of these newcomers, accessing healthcare services in the United States was nearly impossible due to various cultural, linguistic, and economic barriers. It has since grown from an all-volunteer, free weekly clinic, to a multi-site organization working in D.C. and Maryland.

The institution offers comprehensive primary medical care as well as wrap-around services that address the diverse spectrum of life. This includes mental health and substance abuse treatment, community wellness education, and more. In order to ensure equal access to healthcare for limited English proficient individuals, La Clinica provides medical interpretation in over eight languages, as well as sign language on-site and at community health organizations and local hospitals.

Finally, at #6, Open Door Community Health Centers has provided California's North Coast with medical, dental, and behavioral health care and education for over forty years. This institution was founded with the goal of serving Californians at a time when the region suffered from a shortage of healthcare access.

Starting as a single clinic in 1971, it now has several community health centers across Humboldt and Del Norte counties. The association assists more than 55,000 patients a year, providing an array of family and primary medicine, diagnosis, treatment, and referral services. The team of social workers, psychologists, and therapists work to help people overcome non-emergency issues, cope with life's stresses, and connect with other professionals for acute needs.