Community Health Center representatives from Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers (SJFMC) and CompleteCare Health Network (CCHN) were honored by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) for their leadership in advocacy. The award ceremony took place during the 2021 NACHC Policy and Issues Forum. During the virtual program, SJFMC President and CEO, Linda Y. Flake, MBA, was inducted into the NACHC Grassroots Advocacy Hall of Fame. CCHN Vice President of Community Relations Meghan Spinelli received the Elizabeth K. Cooke Most Valuable Player Award.
“For almost three decades, Linda Flake has led Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers. During this time, Linda has remained a consistent voice to ensure Health Centers throughout the State receive essential funding and resources,” said Selina Haq, Ph.D., NJPCA president and CEO. “Meghan Spinelli has played an invaluable role at CCHN. By establishing strong community partnerships, she persistently advocates for underserved patients and helps remove barriers to care. During the pandemic, Linda and Meghan have played a critical role in advocating for their patients and ensuring that medically vulnerable New Jerseyans, including farm workers, receive COVID-19 testing and treatment.”
Grassroots Hall of Fame Members have all made lasting contributions to ensuring the creation, survival, and strength of Community Health Centers and the Health Center movement through their dedicated and tireless advocacy efforts over many years.
“I have worked very closely with NJPCA in promoting the work of health centers and was recently reminded by one of the state legislators that many years ago, we had to inform officials of what a Federally Approved Health Center (FQHC) was,” said Flake. “No one knew! Most important to me is the mission of health centers, we serve many of the most vulnerable populations that would not have access but for us! When I am advocating for the support of our programs, I am advocating for our patients! Knowing that my work has helped to make a difference in the lives of many is of such intrinsic value to me! It keeps me going!”
The NACHC Grassroots MVP Award is named in honor of the late Elizabeth K. (Betsey) Cooke, whose constant efforts and unwavering persistence as an advocate for Community Health Centers and Health Center patients set an example for all Health Center advocates to follow.
“I was both thrilled and honored to hear that I had been awarded the NACHC Grassroots MVP Award,” said Spinelli. “I am thankful for CompleteCare and NACHC’s confidence in my abilities. I am humbled by the nomination and I truly love the work I do each day. I am proud to be recognized for the part I play in making my community healthier.”
CompleteCare Health Network is a system of health centers in southern New Jersey that provide an array of health services from a team of board certified providers. It has 15 locations in three counties.