Community health centers have been a critical part of primary care in the United States since they began providing care to the underserved in the mid-1960s. They were part of the social justice movement of that time, providing some health equity to those who were struggling with economic hardship, poor housing and low wages.

Today, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in every 12 people living in the United States depends on community health center services. Community health centers offer high-quality, affordable care to everyone – regardless of their insurance status, their housing status, their immigration status. No one is turned away.

Inclusive, culturally sensitive and focused on the whole person, health centers are truly a health “home.” Community health centers are ranked among the highest-quality and most cost-effective care providers in the United States.

If you’re curious about how health centers look in our community, I invite you to attend one of the special events happening this week at Greater Portland Health in celebration of National Health Center Week.

On Wednesday from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Greater Portland Health will celebrate and honor Healthcare for the Homeless Day, in partnership with Preble Street and the Maine Medical Center Learning Collaborative, offering a Health Festival at the Preble Street soup kitchen, 252 Oxford St. The festival will provide free screenings for oral health, blood pressure and skin cancer, as well as foot soaks, information on primary care and help accessing Maine Medical Center Free Care.

On Friday from 8 to 10 a.m., all are invited to the Love Your Brain, Love Your Body event at Greater Portland Health’s 180 Park Ave. location to enjoy breakfast, an outdoor yoga class and free bike helmets provided by the Goulet Foundation. The YMCA will also be in attendance with resources and information.

Victoria Foley

board president, Greater Portland Health

Biddeford resident