Member Spotlight: Consumer Health Coalition

Unifying the voice of nonprofits to leverage their power

Consumer Health Coalition

Consumer Health Coalition (CHC) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization that was founded in 1996.  Our mission is to inspire a consumer movement to enhance access to quality, affordable, accessible healthcare in Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

CHC is dedicated to the eradication of disparities in health access and outcomes. We understand that people experience unequal starting points or access to resources that are unfortunately correlated with socioeconomic status, racial or ethnic backgrounds, and disability status.

Health and wellness is obtained through access to quality, affordable healthcare that is patient-centered and focuses not only on the health care needs of the patient, but also the social and economic barriers that often are experienced by those in low-income neighborhoods.  CHC staff are familiar faces in the refugee, veteran, homeless, incarcerated, and disabled communities.

To accomplish its mission, CHC reaches out to and enrolls at-risk consumers in public health insurance programs; educates the community about the availability of public health insurance programs and pertinent health policy issues; and both serves and organizes at-risk, marginalized people and the organizations that serve them to influence system reform. Consumer Health has a strong commitment from partnerships in Allegheny County and continues to expand our reach in the surrounding counties.

One of CHC’s most successful initiatives is our Health Committee for People with Disabilities (HCPD). This advocacy model is consumer-led using a “nothing about us, without us” approach. The group is cross-disability (physical, mental, sensory, and developmental, cross) in make-up and advocacy efforts centered around resources, respect and room for persons with disabilities and our shared community.

Through our advocacy work, consumers have written and had published letters to the editor, developed education tools/resources, visited numerous county, state, and federal legislators, offered testimony at public hearings, structured and conducted community forums, and created issue-based advocacy campaigns.

Our advocacy efforts are both self and systemic. We educate and activate consumers to be activated and engaged in their health care and prepared and participating in every aspect of each health encounter. A major hurdle confronting many persons living with and in recovery from mental illness and persons with disabilities is stigma. We seek to change the narrative and impact the stories told about us and the stories we tell about ourselves.  CHC has developed and promoted a successful best-practice Photo Voice project in three counties of Southwestern PA as part of our on-going efforts to reduce stigmas and help the consumers we serve succeed in life.

At CHC, we strive to educate and activate consumers to be in charge of their own health care.