Washington, D.C.__U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) has won the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) "2006 Community Health Defender Award” for his outstanding leadership in expanding health care access to millions of uninsured and medically underserved Americans.  The award is given each year to Members of Congress who have worked to successfully increase the number of Community, Migrant, Public Housing and Homeless Health Centers around the country that provide quality health care to medically uninsured and underserved people. 


            "Representative Lynch should be commended for his active support of America’s Community Health Centers,” said NACHC President and CEO Tom Van Coverden.  "His leadership and hard work on Capitol Hill have immeasurably helped the 15 million people who rely on health centers for their health care and the millions more who need them.” 


  The federally-funded Community Health Centers program was established more than 40 years ago to help low-income and medically underserved Americans gain access to quality health care. Today, health centers serve as the family doctor for 15 million low-income children and adults in over 3,600 communities across the country – including 423,596 people in the Bay State.


            The Community Health Defender Award is presented to select Members of Congress during NACHC’s annual Policy and Issues Conference in Washington, D.C., which is attended by thousands of local and national leaders, health care experts and policy-makers, doctors, nurses and patients.  


Established in 1971, NACHC is a non-profit organization whose mission is (1) to represent the interests of federally supported and other federally qualified health centers and (2) to serve as an information source concerning issues of health care for poor and medically underserved populations in the United States.