Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center
When Gail Miller was asked to serve as advocacy coordinator for North Carolina's Roanoke Chowan Community Health Center, she challenged every employee and board member to become "members of our advocacy team." She used the team approach throughout her first advocacy recruitment process that resulted in registering 100 percent of her staff and Board.
Gail crafts Capitol Hill updates to motivate and inspire involvement among advocates at her center. She highlights information and links to interesting news releases to forward to the team from her office. As RCCHC's human resources director, she has the trust of her staff. Whenever an Action Alert is issued, she follows it up with her own encouraging message to make sure people know how important it is to respond.
Gail is also working to involve community volunteers and reach the public more. Her health center successfully launched an advocacy advisory committee that consists of business and community leaders. She is also beginning develop a group of volunteers she calls "cheerleaders," to serve as "eyes and ears" of the health center, write letters to newspaper editors and spread goodwill.
Other efforts underway to reach the public include a public access television program and RCCHC's newly designed website, which Gail refreshes frequently with news of interest.
"Our enthusiasm begins anew each day," Gail explains. "We live in a small community. Our patient numbers are growing; our funds are limited, our efforts are endless. We absolutely have to have the support of our leaders in Washington to continue providing quality care in health centers throughout the United States."
“Advocacy is all a process,” Gail says, “like putting building blocks and people together.” We recognize one of the true experts at that process, Gail Miller, as our April 2009 Community Health Adovcate of the Month.