Art of Community | Creative vision, partnerships elevating CVCH role in NCW

David Olson Columbia Valley Community Health CEO

“With compassion and respect for all” is a critical component of our Mission Statement at Columbia Valley Community Health. It’s how we believe our patients, our local communities, and everyone should be treated.

As a Community Health Center, we are here to serve all members of our community, but we have an unwavering commitment to those who are marginalized and struggle in their daily lives. Our goal is to remove barriers, and systemic racism and discrimination are two of the greatest barriers, not just to healthcare but to living freely as an equal to everyone in these United States. Discrimination against any group is abhorrent to the board, leadership, and employees of CVCH.

We are committed to helping eradicate it from the communities we serve. Columbia Valley Community Health stands with Community Health Centers across our nation in support and endorsement of the following statement from the National Association of Community Health Centers’ response to recent, senseless tragedies in our country:

A call for change for all Americans

Community Health Centers stand with all Americans condemning the horrific killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. We are distressed, angry and afraid — especially for the men and women of color in the nation who face harm and discrimination simply by going about their daily lives. Because a 17-year-old girl bravely recorded this brutal murder at the hands of the police — no one — not even the most callous or indifferent — can now ignore what has been neglected and shunned aside in America for far too long. Mr. Floyd’s death, and the scores of those who have suffered similar fates, sadly, are a part of a historical legacy of injustice and racism that pervades and is ingrained in our society.

Born out of the civil rights and social justice movement of the 1960s, the nation’s Community Health Centers serve to this day as advocates for quality care and health equity for all. As community-based health care providers to 30 million people in over 14,000 medically underserved communities across America, we are first-hand witnesses to the direct effect of violence, stress, physical and mental abuse on the health and well-being of our patients — people on the receiving end of racism and discrimination because of the color of their skin, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, income level or insurance status.

We as a nation must do more if we are to believe and hold true to the principles of our democracy. And we must do it together. We must usher in real change to protect and improve the lives of all people — from our local policing practices to our judicial and legal systems, to our educational institutions, to our health care systems. Most importantly, we must move forward public policies at local, state and national levels that reflect the true needs and priorities of a country in crisis.

Community Health Centers were created for and by the communities they serve. We are ready to work for real change. We are the catalyst for real change in this country; if not us, then who?

David Olson is the CEO of Columbia Valley Community Health.

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