Roundtable: Beyond access to care: How outreach workers can advance social justice and health equity

Wednesday, June 1, 2016: 2:30 PM-4:00 PM
Grand Ballroom (Hilton Portland)
The Affordable Care Act has highlighted the role that outreach workers (including Community Health Workers) can play in ensuring access to health care services, improving health outcomes, and lowering costs. But even before the recent national focus, outreach workers historically have been powerful forces in bringing attention to and advocating on behalf of marginalized communities. The health center movement sprang from civil rights activists in the 1960s who were moved by the need for access to healthcare for millions of urban and rural poor. What started as two trial centers in Boston and rural Mississippi has grown into over 1,300 CHCs across the country. Due to years of advocacy efforts, the community health model was ultimately integrated into the U.S. healthcare delivery system and outreach workers have played a crucial part in these efforts. Today, the outreach workforce is becoming increasingly professionalized through certification programs, integration into clinical care teams, and reimbursement by some payers for preventative care services. Given these changes, how can outreach workers continue to play a vital role in advancing social justice and health equity both within the populations and communities they serve as well as within their own organizations?
Megan OBrien, MA (Client Services and Marketing Manager, Health Outreach Partners)
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