MCHC Gets Voter Engagement Grant
MCHC News Release
Molokai Community Health Center (MCHC) has received Hawaii’s first $4,500 Community Civic Engagement Program (CCEP) award from Vot-ER and its partners, the National Association of Community Health Centers and AltaMed, to support nonpartisan voter education, engagement, and mobilization efforts across the country. The award comes on the heels of the American Medical Association’s acknowledgement of voting as a social determinant of health at its annual meeting held earlier this month.
As a trusted resource to help the Native Hawaiian patient population overcome historically low voter turnout and voting barriers, MCHC is the first health center in the state to access the funds that will provide voter education resources and training for its patients. Increasing access to voting by Molokai’s marginalized community is a nonpartisan voter engagement effort by MCHC intended to promote voting and civil rights secured by law.
“Alongside an equitable economy and resilient environment, a just democracy is a central pillar to creating a healthy and vibrant community. Supporting equitable representation should be an imperative for us all in order to ensure those who are most marginalized have a voice and say in how they engage in our democracy. We are proud to team up with Vot-ER to expand access to and educate on voter registration and nonpartisan election information to patients in this critical election year,” said Helen Kekalia, CEO of Molokai Community Health Center. “The Native Hawaiian population we serve are the same residents underrepresented in our elections. We look forward to helping the people of Molokai access and exercise their right to vote and appreciate Vot-ER and AltaMed’s partnership to ensure fair representation in our community.”
Over the past couple of years, MCHC has become a community hub by augmenting its health care services with resources and support including advanced dental care and a food pantry distribution, uniquely positioning it to educate Native Hawaiian residents about their rights and access to voting.
Providing care to medically underserved populations, federally qualified health centers such as MCHC, are able to build a more inclusive democracy that reflects the diverse needs and interests of the communities they serve. Integrating voter education in the health care delivery system encourages equitable representation and active participation in democracy through voting.
“Deeply rooted health centers like the Molokai Community Health Center are vital partners in our work to build a more inclusive democracy,” said Aliya Bhatia, executive director of Vot-ER. “We hope that MCHC is just the first of many health centers in Hawaii to join our nonpartisan voter engagement efforts.”
Vot-ER has more than 500 participating hospitals, health centers and clinics across the country.