A Passion for Advocacy

During this particular week, staff of the Community Health Center, Inc. has been working harder than the average skyrocketing level of productivity to celebrate and promote National Community Health Center’s Week. With this year’s theme being “Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Powering Healthier Communities”, I felt the underlying topic of this special week fits perfectly with recent Member Partnership Award recipient, CHC psychiatrist, Dr. Velandy Manohar and his overwhelming efforts supporting underserved populations. Not only is Dr. Manohar a huge advocate of high quality, accessible mental health care for all, he also uses his exceptional support skills to be a voice for mental health rights within the armed forces.

This specific award was presented by The Connecticut Multicultural Health Partnership (CMHP), which Dr. Manohar has been a charter member of since 2008. It was developed to recognize an outstanding member whose leadership and community works have helped to mobilize and unify community and peers to address Health and from the few times I have collaborated with Dr. Manohar, I have witnessed his outstanding efforts within his areas of expertise while continuing to serve veterans and active members of the armed forces.

We initially met a few months back when he was the first person to arrive for the CHC Memorial Day parade staff group of marchers. I sat and listened to him for about 20 minutes before the parade started about the ins and outs of the current military mental health care system. He recited the outcomes of court rulings, case studies, research findings and severe flaws in their system with such passion in his overall presence that I could feel it. He spoke of his son, a member of the Marines, and proudly wore his pin. In June, I had to write a blog in honor of National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Day (6/27) and immediately contacted Dr. Manohar.

I was able to steal 25 minutes of his time to get some information for the post and in exchange he provided me with article links, statistics, and tons of notes that came right off the top of his head. In that short window of time, he outlined an entire health care structure that might as well benefited me more than a semester long class. It’s impossible to lose focus on anything he says because his engaging passion grabs you with his ability to illustrate statistics, numerous circumstances, major system changes, and his active contribution of advocacy for suffering men and woman affected by continual mental health disorders affiliated with the armed forces. He advocates through endless research, personal publications and letters to various officials. Trying to grasp his tireless and unique approach with no end in sight is definitely inspirational and I say all of this based on minimal encounters with him. It is hard to truly articulate to someone Dr. Manohar’s astounding approach to maneuver through some of the most confusing and sensitive health disparities without actually witnessing it but it doesn’t seem like anything can slow him down.

Everyday provider’s that come close to his caliber of work are not entirely too common and that is what makes celebrating Community Health Center’s this week worth the extra effort and I am thrilled congratulate Dr. Manohar on his award.

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