Advocates for Community Health, the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved, and the American Association of Teaching Health Centers will host an urgent virtual press briefing next week as funding for key programs is set to expire on March 8, 2024.

WASHINGTON – Join Advocates for Community Health (ACH), the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU), and the American Association of Teaching Health Centers (AATHC) on Tuesday, February 20, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EST for a virtual briefing with community health center (CHC) leaders from across the country as they share the challenges their overstretched workforce is facing and urge leaders in Washington to take action to invest in immediate and long-term solutions as funding for the Community Health Center Program, National Health Service Corps (NHSC), and the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) Program expires on March 8, 2024.

Established in 1965, the Community Health Center Program provides comprehensive health care to more than 31 million patients in underserved communities nationwide each year, regardless of their ability to pay. As CHC patient populations continue to rise, funding levels remain the same. With 1 in 11 Americans getting their health care from CHCs, funding to support their workforce is more important now than ever before.

Health centers depend on the National Health Service Corps and Teaching Health Center Programs to help stem the workforce shortage crisis, which is exponentially more challenging in underserved and rural communities. The NHSC and THCGME programs serve as lifelines to the Community Health Center Program to support placement and vital pathways to ensure the healthcare workforce needed to serve these communities is intact. According to data from the Health Resources & Services Administration, the U.S. needs more than 13,000 additional primary care practitioners, 10,000 dental health practitioners and 6,100 mental health practitioners to create access to care in thousands of communities designated as health professional shortage areas across the nation. Rural and underserved communities are among the hardest hit by deepening clinician shortages.


  • Parinda Khatri, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Cherokee Health Systems, Knoxville, TN
  • Cristine Serrano, MBA, MPH, Executive Director, American Association of Teaching Health Centers
  • Adrian Billings, MD, PhD, FAAFP, Chief Medical Officer, Preventative Care Health Services (PCHS), Alpine, TX, NHSC Alumni and ACU Board Member
  • John B. Waits, MD, CEO, Cahaba Medical Care, Program Director and DIO, Cahaba-UAB Family Medicine Residency, Centreville, AL
  • Amanda Pears Kelly, CEO, Advocates for Community Health and Executive Director, Association of Clinicians for the Underserved

WHAT: This virtual briefing will include remarks from each community health leader, a moderated discussion, and live Q&A. Credentialed media can register to attend here. Members of the media interested in securing an interview with any of the panelists can reach Sandy Applebee at

WHEN: Tuesday, February 20 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. EST.

WHERE: This panel discussion will live stream on Zoom and ACH’s LinkedIn.

Additional information: A 2021 report from Capital Link predicted that, based on patient growth trends, federally qualified community health centers (FQHCs) are on track to serve up to 38.5 million patients in 2025. For these services to meet our quality standards, health centers would need to invest approximately $17.5 billion over the next five years to adequately serve patients and maintain system capacity.

A new study commissioned by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities estimates that the economic burden of health inequities in the U.S. has cost the nation billions of dollars.

In December, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act (H.R. 5378) which contains a 10% increase for the Community Health Center Trust Fund to $4.4 billion a year for a 2-year period, through the end of 2025. This bill is now in the Senate for consideration. The Senate has also addressed the Reauthorization of the Community Health Center Fund while passing the Bipartisan Primary Care and Health Workforce Act out of the HELP Committee. This legislation funds the CHC Fund at $5.8 billion a year for three years. The Senate’s version of the CHC Fund reauthorization bill includes almost $4 billion to address primary care physician and nurse shortages via educational programs and debt forgiveness.

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About Advocates for Community Health
Advocates for Community Health (ACH) is a membership organization for large, federally qualified health centers that strives to advance the delivery of health care to underserved populations and to achieve health equity for patients and communities in need. We are committed to working collaboratively to advance well-defined and forward-thinking policies at the national level. By leveraging the wisdom, agility, and innovation of our members, ACH brings bold leadership to drive change in the American healthcare system.

About the Association of Clinicians for the Underserved
The Association of Clinicians for the Underserved (ACU) is a uniquely transdisciplinary membership association uniting clinicians, advocates, and organizations in the commitment to establishing a robust and diverse workforce to help transform communities to achieve health equity for all. Founded in 1996 by participants in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), ACU is the foremost advocate for the NHSC and leads advocacy, clinical, operational, and equity excellence and supports the health care workforce caring for America’s under-resourced populations. Learn more at

About the American Association of Teaching Health Centers
Founded in 2013, the American Association of Teaching Health Centers (AATHC) is a non-profit organization that serves as the nationwide coordinating hub of Teaching Health Center (THC) programs located across the United States. In addition to educating the medical community and general public about THC programs, the AATHC supports and advances THC interests through networking, political advocacy and communications strategies.  Our primary goal is to extend current THC federal funding and establish a dedicated source for community-based primary care graduate medical education (GME) funding. Learn more at


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