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Unifying the Effects of the Affordable Care Act Across Communities

ACA "WIN" started as a grassroots program in Iowa, but with the help of Carmen Morales-Board and other nurses in the surrounding Bakersfield, California area, it has grown into a several county-wide initiative at the helm of the upcoming Public Health Nursing Conference.

The ACA "WIN" program was developed by Cathy Glasson of SEIU Local 1199 Iowa. The concept and program was introduced to us at a Nurse Alliance of California meeting in July 2011. I was so intrigued that I and another nurse, Olga Desai of Local 1000, decided right then and there that we should try this as a joint project between our two unions. It really just sort of dawned on us that if we did it together, we might pull it off! Olga did the turnout and got the word out at her worksite in Delano, a town north of Bakersfield. When I mentioned this to other nurses, my colleagues and Nurse Alliance participants, they just ran with it! It turned out we had wonderful cross section of nurses, from the Operating Room, Emergency Room, Mental Health, Advanced Practice and Rural Health.

Every one of those nurses embraced the ACA program because they saw how it could make a difference for the patient population they work with day in and day out. We completed the SEIU Nurse Alliance Webinar Training and scheduled our first class in Delano, California, which is at the very edge of a very large county.  It was a small class but we reached out to Mental Health workers and Corrections Nurses with great success.

We were so excited, we immediately began looking at where we could expand the program. We help several classes, and in November 2012, we held a class with more than 100 Public Health nurses being educated on the ACA. 

What's been exciting for us is that now we have two new PHN's on our team and through Nurse Alliance of California and because of our ACA connection with Public Health, we are hosting a Public Health Nursing Conference here in Bakersfield where the Affordable Care Act and its implications for Public Health will be one of the topics!

These hardworking nurses are:

  • Olga Desai, SEIU Local 1000
  • Jeff Rockholdt, KMC Operating Room
  • Sharon Ingram, KMC Emergency Room
  • Regina Kane, Kern Co. Mental Health Dept.
  • Abagail Romo, Kern Co. Public Health
  • Elaine Anthony, Kern Co. Public Health

Carmen Morales-Board is a Surgery Department Family Nurse Practitioner and Certified Diabetes Educator at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, CA.