Building a Lifelong Career in Community Health

October is Corps Community Month, celebrated annually by the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) to highlight the tremendous role NHSC-approved sites—including Community Health Centers (CHCs) and other safety-net clinics—have in bringing high quality primary health care services to communities that need them the most. Now in its fifth year, Corps Community Month will raise awareness for safety-net primary care clinics across the country, as well as highlight the numerous, rewarding career opportunities available to providers and health care industry workers interested in serving the underserved. NHSC sites, partners, and health professions’ schools nationwide will be hosting grassroots events throughout October to celebrate this year’s theme: “Training. Access. Delivery. Health.” To read more about Corps Community Month and find local events near you, visit the NHSC website

Here in Colorado, CCHN, ClinicNET, the Colorado Rural Health Center, NHSC, Colorado Health Service Corps (CHSC), Community Association of Mountain/Plains States, and the Central Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC) will be sponsoring our very own Corps Community Connection and Awards Ceremony on October 9th in Denver, CO. The event will highlight primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care for the underserved in Colorado. It is an opportunity for students, residents, providers, and Colorado’s safety-net health care facilities to network, learn about loan repayment opportunities, and celebrate the many career accomplishments of NHSC and CHSC providers. Safety-net clinics in attendance will include CHCs, rural health clinics, community-funded safety-net clinics, and other sites meeting the primary care needs of Colorado’s underserved.

This year’s keynote speakers and primary care advocates for Corps Community Month will be Dr. Larry Wolk, MD, MSPH, and Dr. Justin Wheeler, MD.

Dr. Larry Wolk is the Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. In 1996, Wolk founded the Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics, one of Colorado’s largest safety-net clinics and a national model for providing care to the uninsured. He continues to practice medicine there. Dr. Wolk has received many honors, including Colorado Pediatrician of the Year, Denver Business Journal Healthcare Executive of the Year and the 7News Denver Everyday Hero award.

Dr. Justin Wheeler is the Vice President of Clinical Services at Clinica Family Health Services, a federally-qualified health center with a $41 million operating budget and more than 420 employees.  Clinica has grown into five medical offices, two dental clinics and an administration building spread out across Boulder, Broomfield and Adams counties. Prior to joining Clinica, Dr. Wheeler worked at Valley-Wide Health Systems in the San Luis Valley, another federally-qualified health center, and championed the implementation of an electronic health record and supervised Valley-Wide’s Rural Family Medicine Resident Rotation.

Dr. Wolk and Dr. Wheeler are both icons in the field of primary care, and have built inspiring careers out of their desire to provide exceptional health care services to underserved communities and uninsured or underinsured patients. Their paths to success show how two people can have very different careers in primary care while still serving—and caring deeply about—the same mission. It is the goal of Corps Community Month to share these incredible career stories with as many people as possible, spreading the word about health care access for the underserved, and inspiring a new wave of primary care providers to build lifelong careers at Community Health Centers. To find out more details about Corps Community Connection and Awards Ceremony and to RSVP, click here.

Are you interested in a mission driven career that helps make a difference in patients’ lives? Check out the Mission Driven Careers Job Board or the CHAMPS Job Opportunity Bank for more information about rewarding careers with a Colorado CHC. To learn more about Colorado’s CHCs and other great work they are doing, visit CCHN’s website.   

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