Community Health Center representatives from Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers (SJFMC) and CompleteCare Health Network (CCHN) have been 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.
“We are so pleased that two of New Jersey’s Community Health Center leaders have been recognized nationally for their outstanding advocacy efforts. 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. Meghan Spinelli has played an invaluable role at CompleteCare Health Network. By establishing strong community partnerships, she persistently advocates for underserved patients and helps remove barriers to care.” said Selina Haq, Ph.D., New Jersey Primary Care Association President and CEO. “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. Congratulations to Linda and Meghan on this well-deserved honor!”
“NJPCA commends Linda Flake and Meghan Spinelli for their recognition at the National Association of Community Health Centers conference. In addition to leading the expansion of Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers, Linda has served as an active member of the NJPCA Executive Committee in many roles including President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary and currently as the Chair of the Legislative Committee,” said Joan Dublin, RN, MPA, ACHE, NJPCA Board Chair, and Metropolitan Family Health Network President and CEO. “For the past thirteen years, Meghan has collaborated with dozens of community agencies, school administrators, faith-based entities, affordable housing managers, and businesses to ensure all community members have access to CompleteCare’s services. As a result of their advocacy, both Linda and Meghan have maintained relationships with local, county, and state government officials, which has helped NJPCA’s policy priorities move forward.”
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 an FQHC was. 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!” said Linda Y. Flake, MBA, Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers President/CEO.
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. 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.” said Meghan Spinelli, CompleteCare Health Network Vice President of Community Relations.
About Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers
Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers (SJFMC), a federally qualified community health center, has provided primary healthcare services to local South Jersey communities for over 40 years. With eight healthcare centers in Burlington, Salem, and Atlantic Counties, SJFMC is the region’s premier source for high-quality healthcare that reduces the financial and cultural barriers to meet the needs of the community. SJFMC serves more than 53,000 patients, generating approximately 160,000 patient visits annually.
SJFMC’s mission is to provide and promote effective, culturally proficient, high-quality primary, secondary, specialty, preventive, behavioral health, and dental care services for residents and migrant seasonal farmworkers in Southern Jersey regardless of their ability to pay and to eliminate barriers to care based upon race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender, national origin, and residential status. SJFMC provides this care in a competent, compassionate, and empathetic manner. For more information, please visit www.sjfmc.org.
About CompleteCare Health Network
CompleteCare Health Network is a nationally accredited health system that provides primary medical, dental, and counseling services to over 60,000 people annually. Now operating 20 locations throughout Cumberland, Gloucester, and Cape May Counties, CompleteCare is dedicated to serving its patients with friendly, convenient, and affordable care. For more information about CompleteCare, visit www.CompleteCareNJ.org.
About the New Jersey Primary Care Association
The New Jersey Primary Care Association (NJPCA) is an advocate for Community Health Centers as well as a provider of comprehensive education, training, and technical assistance to Health Centers in New Jersey. There are 23 Federally Qualified Health Centers in New Jersey and 135 satellite sites providing healthcare services to over 584,000 people. For more information about the NJPCA, please visit njpca.org.
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), also known as Community Health Centers, are in every state across the nation. FQHCs are authorized under Section 330(A) of the Public Health Services Act to provide healthcare to the medically underserved. Many Community Health Centers and their sites are specially designated to serve the needs of special populations including homeless populations, public housing residents, migrant and seasonal farm workers, veterans, and school-aged children. For more information about the HRSA Health Center Program, please visit bphc.hrsa.gov/about/index.html.