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Celebrating the Important Role Health Centers Play in Providing Care to Vulnerable Populations

Health centers have been delivering comprehensive, high-quality preventive and primary healthcare to the country’s most vulnerable populations for more than 50 years. August 12-18 celebrates the accomplishments of health centers during National Health Center Week.
Health centers have been delivering comprehensive, high-quality preventive and primary healthcare to patients for more than 50 years. There are currently close to 1400 health centers, serving more than 27 million people across the country, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Health centers are delivering care to the country’s most vulnerable populations: 1 in 9 children, 1 in 3 people living in poverty, and 1 in 5 people in rural communities all rely on government-funded health centers in order to access affordable primary care.

While health centers started out as a primary care safety net, they are increasingly taking a holistic approach. Kristina Wharton, of the Department of Global Health Management and Policy at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, explained that these centers quickly branched out into mental health services and dentistry.

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