Record Breaking Symposium a Huge Success

The NAFC 2019 Charitable Health Care Symposium was held on October 27-29 in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia at the Loews Atlanta. The Symposium is an annual conference specifically designed to address the issues and topics that safety-net clinics, charitable pharmacies, organizations, staff and volunteers face on a daily basis to address the needs of the nation’s medically underserved.

This year was a record-breaking meeting! The 2019 Symposium was the highest attended meeting in NAFC history with 480 registrations from 45 different states. Registration for the meeting sold out six weeks in advance, exhibit space sold out five weeks in advance, and the hotel room block sold out eight weeks in advance.

The theme of the 2019 Symposium was “Connect the Dots: Inspiration, Innovation and Implementation.”  55 Free and Charitable Clinic and Charitable Pharmacy speakers shared practical experiences and lessons learned, and “connected the dots” of how to provide high quality care locally using nationally recognized best practices.


Our Keynote Speaker Michelle Poler kicked off the Symposium with her energetic and inspiring talk “Fear Less, Do More.”  This general session encouraged attendees to change their perception of fear and inspire them to take action.  With authentic storytelling, engaging visuals and her 100 Days Without Fear experience, Michelle showed attendees how to challenge their comfort zone to tap into their full potential.


In addition to providing access to affordable health care and medications, Free and Charitable Clinics and Charitable Pharmacies have been addressing social determinants of health for their patients because they understand that addressing these items is critical to improving health and reducing health disparities.  Monday’s closing general session highlighted several successfully funded clinic social determinants of health programs with a focus on food insecurity, transportation, and health literacy.  This session provided ideas on how attendees can replicate similar programs in their communities.

The session moderated by Ariana Gordillo, NAFC Director of Strategic Initiatives included panelists Jemea Dorsey, CEO of the Center for Black Women’s Wellness; Mike Romagnoli, Executive Director of Community Health Care Clinic; and Valerie Almeida-Monroe, Nurse Director of Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic.


NAFC President and CEO Nicole Lamoureux provided attendees with an update on health care policy.  With so many moving pieces, threats of government shutdowns becoming more prevalent, and an upcoming Presidential Election, Nicole stressed that now more than ever we must remain connected and active in a world that seems out of touch with the needs of our patients. Attendees were updated on the past and future policy issues that will impact the important work that we do, reviewed what 501c3 organizations can do when it comes to advocacy, and reviewed what the presidential candidates are saying about health care and the medically underserved.


Throughout the Symposium there were a wide variety of educational sessions and interactive discussion sessions to encourage learning, sharing and networking among attendees.  These sessions covered a wide variety of topics including: Fundraising, Emergency Preparedness, Screening Social Determinants of Health, Health Equity, Dental Care, Affordable Medication Access, Domestic Violence, Non-Opioid Pain Management, University-Community Partnerships and more.

The closing session provided the membership with an update on the 2019 accomplishments of the NAFC, provided an outlook of priorities for the NAFC in 2020, including standards implementation, and of course the session ended with a bit of fun between a few prizes and the announcement of which state won the “Most Attendees” Competition!  The finalist were North Carolina and Texas; it was a close race but Texas came out on top for the win!


A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this event a reality.  The NAFC Symposium Working Group dedicated their time and efforts developing a strong agenda.  To the 2019 sponsors and exhibitors – especially our lead sponsor Direct Relief – an enormous “thank you” for your generosity which made this important conference possible!  Thank you to all of the speakers who shared their knowledge, best practices and lessons learned, and to all the attendees for making this year’s symposium one of the best yet.

Check out the pictures from the 2019 Symposium below or by visiting: